December 26, 2006

A James Taylor Kind of Christmas

*snicker* *guffaw* *snort*

CHRISTMAS EVE, as Mom put it, was not a good night for football fans throughout Keppledom. The Steelers lost and the Browns lost and the Colts lost and the Bengals lost -- and boy, did the Bengals lose. That snap went back and Mom shouted from the kitchen and Dad started from the sofa and I shouted in glee as the players scrambled and the Bengals' hopes were dashed. The announcers called that blown extra point at Denver, which would have tied the game with just 41 seconds left in the game, a football tragedy. They were absolutely right.

Yet that's the way things go in football. Still, even in tragedy good things may result. For instance, now that the Cincinnati Bengals blew it, the upcoming Sunday game will carry a lot of weight -- and that's nice, considering a Cincinnati win would have rendered the game essentially meaningless.

Arguably, it still is essentially meaningless for the Pittsburgh Steelers, Cincinnati's opponents, who will spend the playoffs in front of their television sets. However, that doesn't take into account how much Pittsburgh would enjoy knocking the Bengals -- with their wide receiver's crazy antics and their whiny quarterback and their felony-prone player contingent -- out of the post-season entirely. Yes. Now this essentially meaningless game has suddenly become ... important. Crucial, even.

Heh heh heh.

It's time to show the Bengals how we do things downtown.

Pittsburgh 35 - Cincinnati 31.

DESPITE THE KEPPLE CLAN's football woes, however, I certainly had a good Christmas and I'm very thankful I was able to spend it Back Home with my family. As I live several hundred miles from both my parents and my brother, I'm not able to see them all that much in person. That's also unfortunately the case with my extended family. Still, the Internet helps a lot in that regard and I'm thankful I'm able to keep in touch with folks.

This year, the unseasonable weather -- no snow here, no snow back home -- made it feel a little different. As a Northerner, I always associated Christmas with snow and cold weather in general. There has been precious little of that this year, and as much as I hate to say it, I'm missing it a wee bit. That's not to say Christmas felt less like the holiday, because it very much felt like Christmas. It just felt a little different: call it a James Taylor type of Christmas, as opposed to a Sarah McLachlan singing traditional holiday favorites type of Christmas. Yeah. That'll sum it up.

One of the things I like about going back home for the holidays is that there's absolutely no stress at all. Not only that, I generally get to sleep in as much as I want, eat far better than I do back home, and do little in the way of actual work. So for those few days it is somewhat like a spa vacation, particularly when I return to Manchester and realize that not only will dinner not cook itself, dinner requires more than the few meagre ingredients I have in the refrigerator.

The best thing I like, though, is the time I get to spend with family. This year was an excellent Christmas in that regard: it was just fun and nice and pleasant and reminded me how lucky I am in life. We all went out to see a comedy show on Saturday night; spent Christmas Eve watching football and having a great dinner and, at the end of it, unwrapping gifts, viz.:

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

READER: Uh, do you always wear collared shirts?
ME: Yeah, most of the time, unless I'm doing chores, in which case I have a few T-shirts.
READER: God, you are SO LAME.

Anyway, what can I say? I'm practical. I'm also mindful of sales, which explains the work shirts. Some of those were just $8 each. I offer this as prima facie evidence that I rule. (Seriously, though, Mom, Dad and Jesse, thank you very very much for the Christmas gifts.)

BUT MOVING ON. I must apologize for not posting lately but things here have been hectic to say the least. The Christmas holiday tends to do that, but it's amazing how things can suddenly fall out of the blue.

For instance, on Wednesday the Venerable Ford Taurus -- I guess I can call it venerable, given that it's 9 years old and has 130,000 miles on it -- decided that its ignition switch would go out of joint. Oddly, it decided to do this right after I did all my errands and had a nice breakfast, but before I needed to go to work. While I got to work on time anyway, the repair has been a pain and as such I am now driving a rental car. It is a Chevy Cobalt coupe. It drives well and handles nice, but God knows I feel (and look) ridiculous driving it. Especially given that I'm six-foot-four.

Anyway, as I'm a sedan person by trade, I have decided that I will soon purchase a New Slightly Used Ford Taurus to replace the Family Truckster, Third of its Line. Yes, yes, I know readers are saying things to the effect of, "God, you are SO LAME." But I like the cars and they do what I need of them. Plus they're really inexpensive, because the rental fleets eventually have to get rid of the things. This is good for drivers like me, who for a variety of reasons would feel a bit guilty about buying foreign-branded automobiles, even though I live in foreign-car-friendly New England.

I've also been suffering from a long-lasting cold/sinus issue that has made my life icky over the past several weeks. Such conditions are hell for anyone who suffers through them, but this one was made really nasty due to the presence of a hideously bad sore throat -- so bad that I even lost my voice for a few days this month. (This was particularly unfortunate for a variety of reasons, such as the minor fact my job requires me to talk to people all the day long). All in all, I was feeling poorly enough so that blogging wasn't exactly the closest thing to mind; but now that I've recovered, my blogging should resume accordingly.

Anyway, that's it for now, but I do hope everyone out there was able to have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah or Enjoyable Non-Traditional Holiday of One's Choice, such as the Festival of Navigating Municipal Winter Parking Bans. Although that would require snow, which we haven't had yet here. But winter has plenty of time to go.

Posted by Benjamin Kepple at December 26, 2006 11:59 PM | TrackBack
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