Once again we find ourselves in the throes of the horrordays, that time from Thanksgiving through January 2 when we try so desperately to be happy that we depress ourselves and heap upon our own heads levels of stress likened to that experienced only by the male black widow spider right after mating.
We'll stress about whose Thanksgiving dinner and whose Christmas dinner we'll attend.
We'll have to get up too early on days when we shouldn't have to.
We'll eat too much and wonder how we let ourselves get so out of control.
We'll spend far too much time worrying about spending enough on people so as not to appear cheap while trying to be mindful of the need to be able to pay our bills.
We'll struggle through all too large crowds at malls and stores in an attempt to satisfy everyone in our life.
We'll fight maddening crowds and traffic and will, as a result, experience the true holiday spirit (including that curious middle-fingered gesture which must surely be American for good tidings of comfort and joy).
We'll not have enough time to finish everything we need to do for everyone.
We'll have to deal with that one alcoholic uncle that no one can stand and, sadly, no one can stand up to.
We'll spend too much time running to and fro and not enough time enjoying ourselves.
We'll get up early to cook meals and stay up late to entertain and wonder why we're so tired later and not very well rested after a long weekend.
We'll play nice with everyone around us so as not to hurt feelings even when we hate that stupid plaid sweater the ditsy aunt bought for us…again.
We'll sit politely in mixed company and not show affection for our significant other because too many heterosexuals don't think it's OK for gay people to display their affection publicly like the rest of the world.
We'll graciously say thank you to all those who gave us a gift even when we hate most of them (the gifts and the givers).
We'll fight off nausea when we have to sit next to our grandmother who literally bathes in that perfume that finally clears up the question about that funny smell in assisted-living facilities.
We'll drink too much and suffer through too many hangovers because chemical alteration is the only way to safely survive the time of year.
We'll worry about what we gave everyone and whether they'll like it or not despite the fact that we abhor most of those people anyway.
We'll feel terribly uncomfortable around our Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Taoist, Hindu, atheist, agnostic, and all other non-Christians because our exclusive club is having a party and they're not.
We'll spend more money than we should because it's not the thought that counts as much as the price.
We'll be inundated with commercial concerns: how much did you spend overall? what did that gift cost? how much do you think they spent on this? did you keep all the receipts so most of them can surreptitiously be returned later by the recipients?
We'll fight and argue with those we love because we'll have long ago passed the level of stress our bodies and minds are capable of withstanding.
We'll be upset when the boss doesn't let us leave work early on December 24, even though it's not an official holiday, since Christmas falls on a Saturday this year.
We'll awake on January 1 feeling as though bombs have gone off in our heads and biological warfare agents were dumped in our bellies.
We'll return to work on January 3 of 2005 feeling as though we've been on the losing side of combat for the last few months.
So, again, I say happy horrordays. I'll stick with the simple approach — spending quality time with friends and family.