Saturday, November 22, 2014

A Pat Boone style Christmas...

Pat Boone is sounding a little haggard here...  You should watch this commercial and hear Pat Boone fat shame Santa Claus.  That may be the closest he comes to showing what family holiday celebrations can be like for some folks...

As Christmas is just around the corner, I started watching old Christmas specials on YouTube.  I happened to run across a clip from a Pat Boone Christmas special.  Unfortunately, I can't embed that particular video in this post, but I can link to it...

I guess this was done in the early 80s, based on the way the family looks.  Pat's daughters are still young and beautiful and harmonize perfectly.  But who's that I spy in the video?  Norman Fell of Three's Company?  Really?  I can't imagine Pat Boone inviting Norman Fell over for dinner, though...  

I watch that video and see the perfect family scene, but those of us who have followed Pat Boone and read books by his daughters know that there were some significant family issues underneath that perfect holiday facade.  Cherry Boone O'Neill suffered from anorexia nervosa and is obviously still very gaunt in that video.  Debby Boone famously wrote about her many squabbles with her father and how he didn't hesitate to spank her even after she became an adult.  To watch this video, though, you'd think they were a perfectly harmonious family with no problems.

When I was coming along in the 70s and 80s, televised Christmas specials were very common.  The Osmonds did one every year.  The Carpenters did them a couple of times.  

These specials make Christmas seem so perfect and magical...

And yet, who really has such perfect holidays?  I know I don't.  I doubt Karen Carpenter did, either.  She had anorexia nervosa too, and holidays were probably hellish for her, since there is such a focus on food.

Bill and I were talking about our upcoming trip because I am very apprehensive about it.  I anticipate drama, even as I promise myself to avoid it.  We were discussing where all this stuff comes from and why I never seem to get much resolution.  I think it's because going home for the holidays can be a little like visiting a poorly cleaned latrine.

Have you ever been to a restroom where someone has fouled the air with gaseous emissions or perhaps forgotten to flush a big turd down the commode?  Or maybe the commode is overflowing, but no one has tried to fix it?  And then, instead of cleaning up the mess, someone comes in and sprays Lysol or some other cloying air freshener that does a poor job of covering up the stench?  That's kind of what going home feels like to me sometimes.

There's a lot of people hanging out, trying to have a good time.  But underneath all the forced cheer and laughter, there's a big pile of "shit" that never got cleaned up-- alcoholism, depression, cliquishness, eating disorders, hurtful gossip, mean-spirited comments...  And instead of cleaning up the mess or flushing the toilet, someone sprays a metaphorical sickly sweet "air freshener" and barely covers up the "stench" of bad memories.  So the air never gets cleared and instead of just smelling shit, we smell shit covered up with the suffocating fake aroma of sweet smelling chemicals.

Here's Pat Boone on a David Letterman Christmas special back in 1984...  Check out his boots.  You'd need 'em for holiday bullshit.

A friend of mine posted this article on Facebook.  I suspect it'll be timely reading for many people.  It offers good advice for getting through the holidays.  I really only have to worry about Thanksgiving.  A week from today, I will hopefully be visiting my friends and preparing for a long ass flight back to Europe.  Time to take a chill pill... it'll be over soon.  Then I'll be enjoying my beer advent calendar.


  1. one thing I remember from reading cherry's book was that Pat's family had communion at home on Christmas. cherry was so very anorexic at the time that she palmed the bread to avoid ingesting calories. I don't know what she did about the grape juice - maybe spilled it on the front of her shirt? I'm all for communion at church, but what a total buzzkill to have it at hiome on Christmas morning.

    My mom speaks findly of Andy Williams family Christmas programs.

    1. Some of those specials were fun to watch. I have to admit, I get a kick out of cheesy Osmond Christmas specials. But the point I was trying to make is that these specials sort of contribute to the fantasy that the holidays are somehow "magic". Now, if you happen to have a magical Christmas, good on you, but the idea that the holidays have to be magic can lead to a lot of depression and angst.

      I am feeling a lot of angst in the advance of going to Virginia tomorrow, but thanks to Bill and my trusty red wine, I'll make it somehow, right? And with no help from Ms. OH.


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