For those of you who are new to spending the Christmas holiday alone, I thought I would use my vast experience in this area to give you some tips on how to be a totally pathetic loser.

Sleep late Christmas morning. What’s the hurry anyway? There are no gifts to open and no one to give any to. It’s better if you’ve spent a sleepless night tossing and turning, wracked with guilt over your past life. If that happens, get up, pee, wash down a couple of sedatives with some orange juice, notice the bright moonlight at 3:30 am, then crawl back into bed. Try not to wake up the dog. He’ll only worry.

Once you are awake, check your email in case anyone managed to find you and send you a Christmas greeting. If no one has, consider yourself lucky. At least you don’t have to send an insincere greeting back. Plus, it would take you most of the day just trying to come up with something that sounds remotely insincere. Instead of writing Christmas greetings that no one will really read, you have something far more important to do.

Caulk the tub-surround in your bathroom. It’s a fitting Christmas “gift” to yourself. For two weeks you have been taking showers in the upstairs bathroom, freezing your ass off as you run downstairs again to find a towel. The wall above the downstairs tub was rotting away — you’ve spent two years thinking about fixing it. Finally, you saw a movie in which a bath tub crashed through the floor and landed in the house basement. You live alone. That could result in a rotting body in the basement, at least until your dog ate you or the neighbors picked up the scent. So, fixing the tub was your Christmas present to yourself. Your’re a day late but what the hell — no wife here anymore to complain about what a lazy slacker you are. Five minutes later, the caulking is done. It needs 24 hours to cure, then you can shower downstairs again. Merry Christmas!

Be sure to alienate every relative who still knows your phone number or address. Change your email so they cannot send you those intrusive “are you OK?” holiday messages. Don’t answer the telephone. Don’t reply to phone messages. If they write, return the mail unopened. That way, they can’t ask you embarrassing questions about what your plans are for the holidays. You also can avoid worrying them with your suicidal thoughts, your total disdain for pathetically quaint American traditions like goodwill to men and other bullshit, and you don’t have to pretend that they really give a shit about you and your pathetic loser life. Besides, most of them lack the rhetorical skills to truly sound sympathetic. In a way, your AWOL behavior is doing THEM a favor. They don’t have to put up with any of your sullen crap anymore.

If you have any friends left, and you probably don’t, be sure to turn them off, too. Most of the detailed instructions in STEP FOUR apply here. The only difference is that you might have screwed or wanted to screw one or two of them. Clearly, that complicates things. But instead of reverting to your antiquated romantic idealism about women and sex, think like a young person. You were just “hooking up,” or “jumping on someone’s bones.” Yeah, what’s love got to do with it? Deep inside, you know those relationships, if they had progressed, would have ended up on the trash heap with the other two great betrayals in your life. Which brings us to. . . .

Blame your ex-wives for being alone on Christmas. Matter of fact, blame them for EVERYTHING! Your obesity, flatulence, neuroses, etc. Try to remember those Hallmark Christmas moments with the ex-Mrs. Claus — the raging tirades, the broken dishes, the endless tears, the drunken stupors (hers, not mine!) the sulking withdrawals. Gee, those were the days! Now, you get to spend Christmas alone, loser, fighting with no one. Sad, but that’s just another reason you are a holiday loser — you only have yourself to torture.

Make an exquisite five course Christmas dinner and eat it by yourself. Remind yourself what those ungrategul ex-wives of yours are missing and pretend that they are even thinking of you. This is also a good time to remember your father, caught on videotape, reaming your existence while he opined at the Christmas table about what a total pathetic loser you were. He thought you would never hear what he had to say. But your brother, always eager to share your parents’ distorted feelings about you, taped it all and gave it to you as a present. What swell gents! Father and brother. One curses your existence, the other delivers your psychic carcass in a video. I guess that was HIS Christmas present. And the odd thing is: they were both right!

Watch TV on Christmas Day. Make it a two-star loser movie about a family that reunites for the holidays. To be a total loser, you must become maudlin and sad. While you do so, keep in mind that no one else in the universe is watching a crummy TV movie on Christmas Day — they are all into their wanton togetherness, which will be a long lost memory by Monday morning. Nevertheless, you can still enjoy your melancholy. It’s all you have.

Drink. Drink lots of fluids. Start with Bloody Marys. Finish a cheap bottle of Chianti with dinner. For desert, eat a piece of that ice cream pie no one else will share and wash it down with some tasty Belvedere vodka on ice. After you’ve washed that small pile of dishes — another advantage of being a total holiday loser — almost no dishes to clean! — have a glass or two of B & B and pretend for a moment you are a sophisticated social drinker. The fact is, there is no one to socialize with, and after the B & B, you will go back to vodka straight up. The real cheap stuff you hide in the back of the closet. Make yourself comfortable on the sofa. Pull over that rancid black throw that you haven’t washed in two years. Fall asleep there with the TV on, sound off, the pulsing TV light fading slowly in your holiday consciousness.

Write about your cherished Christmas memories in a blog that no one will read. And if anyone does read it, you can be confident that they will only conclude what you already know — that you are a totally pathetic Christmas holiday loser!

(And don’t for a moment fantasize that New Years will be any better!)

— Rake    

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