The Reluctant Artiste: Christmas Heebie Jeebies (Schadenfreude reverie)

I read somewhere that the reason you sweat, clench and throw up in your mouth a little when you see someone’s FANTASTIC NEWS on Facebook is that you are living your life in Real Time and experiencing theirs as a Sizzle Reel. 

Or maybe you don’t do that. Maybe it’s only me. Maybe I have issues. 


Okay. I have issues. 


However. I don’t care how well balanced you are, you are still gonna run for the Gravol when the Family Christmas Letters/Sizzle Reels start to arrive. 


The quintessential one that made the rounds on social media this holiday season was called Christmas Jammies, in which a tall (Dad), gorgeous (everyone), thin (but well-endowed—Christmas jammies are great for clinging to endowments), white (but you know the kids take hip hop classes), affluent (look at their great huge house! Look at their new car!) broadcaster/actor couple with adorable children make a playful music video family sizzle reel, all in support of the couple’s brand new exciting start up—making playful sizzle reels for other people and their achievements. In a dazzling display of consumer-based meta, it is an ad for a family that is an ad for the family’s ad-making. I assume the making-of documentary is forth-coming.


I shudder to think what copy cat videos by less tall gorgeous white thin adorable families were being rushed into production as it began to make the FB/Twitter rounds (Christmas jammies are great for clinging to things other than endowments…words like “crack”, “toe” and “pup tent” spring to mind). Still it was out there. And my acid reflux was riding high.  


Cause I’m jealous right? Must be that, right? If I was dancing on camera in stretchy red and green jammies, I’d looked like cherry-lime jello having a grand mal seizure. Seizure Reels just don’t have the same cachet as Sizzle Reels. Except perhaps in very very specialized fetish communities, and frankly I don’t want them looking at my Christmas Jammies.


 My life isn’t new hybrids and adorable moppets breakin’ it down. It’s interesting, and rich, and occasionally unbearably sad, and often hilarious, and full of stuff that does not so much sizzle as plop. And as I am not going to share the plopping with the social universe (‘cause even if I were willing, who would want to read that? Except for the aforementioned fetishists?), as a habitual truth-teller, and regular wanderer on the downright gloomy side of the street, I can’t share the good stuff, can I? Not and continue to feel morally superior to the Christmas Jammie-sons, who I imagine completing their adorable recording and then promptly stripping off their Spanx, flopping down,  lighting crack pipes and firing up some nice porn.  I think of their (completely undocumented, fired only by my raging jealousy) hypocrisy, and turn rosy with the warmth that comes from my sense of moral snooty-ness. If I made my own holiday sizzle reel, I’d have to give that up. And my imagined higher ground is all I have to cling to some days. 


So all I can do is sit here, sizzle-less, and try to think of what to say in my inevitably written after the fact Christmas letter. 


It was a year. Things happened. Since everyone in the family is basically a decent if flawed human being, everyone tried their best, even and possibly especially when making mistakes. Things changed, ‘cause that’s what they do, and we made the best of it. There was a day where everyone was okay and safe and happy all at once, and we had a cake, ‘cause we know better than to take that for granted. There was a day when things were very bad indeed, and we didn’t freak out, because they’d been like that before and we’d gotten through it, so we knew we could again. We had a cake for that too. 


There were days. Which completely and utterly beats the alternative. 



Peace, joy and light in the new year from Eric, Jessie, Sam, Finn, KJB the Reluctant Artiste, and the dreadful dogs. 




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Reader Comments (2)

Happy New Year to you and yours, KJ!

I just spent several days in your fair city and fell in love with it all over again. It's been some 35 years since I lived there and little remains the same, but I still like the feel of the place.

Dec 31, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKate

I hide these people on Facebook. I can only look at engaged pics so many times before I want to push the monitor off my desk.

Jan 9, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Minotaur

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