Festivus: Gunaxin Airs its Grievances
‘Round these parts, we believe in a little thing called tradition. We are damn proud of ours too, and we’re not afraid to show it. We wear the super-gay Christmas sweaters, eat the infinitely dense fruitcake, and kidnap the baby Jesus so the wise men have to pursue us and reclaim their Lord and Savior.
So when December 23rd rolls around every year, we bear down and dig into some serious Traditioning. Spell-check says that’s not a word, but you know what? If we repeat it again next year, it’s a god-damn tradition, and there’s nothing anyone can say about it.
Wait a second, we’re getting off-track here. One possible reason for this is that the holidays are a mad, confusing time full of spite and tinsel. Another reason is probably all the pot in the fruitcake (thanks, Grandma!). But what we’re trying to say is: It’s Festivus time!
Festivus, in case you weren’t aware, is one of the few holiday traditions we can conclusively trace back to television that have their basis specifically within the medium. We won’t belabor the point, since we’ve already covered that territory. (See? Tradition, bitches.) Instead, we’re going to celebrate the wonderful Festivus rite known as The Airing of the Grievances right here for all our loyal Gunaxin readers.
Enjoy all the petty, mean-spirited bitching that oils the gears of the Gunaxin machine.
December 22, 10:30 PM Central. Gunaxin research and development facility #09.
Each of the writers sits hunched in his or her high-backed leather executive chair, looking furtively around the massive, burled maple conference table we stole from the bank next door. We are at an impasse; no one wants to take the first shot.
The clink of ice swirling in glasses filled to the brim with bourbon, the occasional dry leather frrrt, the hiss and crackle of expensive cigars smoldering down to rancid stubs, the suppressed sighs of men and women ready to let their cannonballs fly…the editing room is as quiet as a Paul Reiser stand-up set.
Finally, a soft voice flutters down the length of the room like an arrow wrapped in silk.
Rory: Man, snow sucks.
A murmur of agreement stirs the still air.
Rory: In Britain, if there’s even the barest centimeter of snow on the ground, the whole country screeches to a halt.You can’t drive down to the shop, or take a walk, or even look outside without being in danger of falling and breaking something. If that happens, they take you out back and shoot you like a horse.
The Americans smile to themselves. The other foreigners look on, transfixed.
Ben: I’m sorry…centimeter?
Fred: That’s some British thing. I think it means “gallon”.
Julian: I really dislike hobos. I mean, if they didn’t like snow, they shouldn’t sleep outside, am I right?
Robin, who is from Australia, pitches in with what might be something about having never seen snow. It’s hard to tell. Everyone nods in feigned agreement because they don’t want to be stabbed.
Rory: Look, if you Aussies hadn’t been so prone to raping everything you came across, you’d be right here, enjoying snow like civilized folk.
With that, knives are brandished and Robin flies over the table to tackle Rory to the ground. This is a pretty common occurrence with those two. Over the din of Aussie gibberish and girlish slapping noises, three words ring out: “Dan eats balls!”
Dan: Hey, that’s not-
Jeff: Oh, I can totally back that up. That asshole called the cops on me at 3am just for being outside his house and minding my own business.
Dan: Look, I’ve told you hundred times how I feel about you wearing high heels during Winter. It’s dangerous!
Jeff: Hey, what me and my Mexican gardener do in the middle of the night is our business and no one else’s.
Bjorn: You know, here in Finland, we don’t allow Mexicans to do the job that any other hard-working Finn can do.
Son: I would call you racist, but I don’t even see how that’s possible in the first place.
Dan: Jeff, when it happens on my front lawn and involves firearms or lubricants in any way, it’s my goddamned business.
Nick: Tell me about it. My lawn is infested with piranhas. Again.
Silence falls over the room like a wet woolen blanket. Nick’s non-sequiturs are usually pretty odd, but this…this is different.The silence after the raucous noise is deafening, and our esteemed editor wakes up from his whiskey-and-opium-induced coma.
Phil: What… Didn’t I fire every single one of you assholes for the holidays? What the hell are you all doing in my conference room?
Ken: But it’s Festivus, Phil! We’re doing the Airing of the Grievances again.
Phil: Grievances? Grievances? What do any of you know about grievances?
Ken: Well, Rory doesn’t like snow, and Jeff said-
Phil: Quiet, dipshit. Let me tell you a little something about grievances. My grievance is when I have to spend thirty straight hours editing your articles because you have the grammar skills of a particularly stupid pile of lumber.
Phil: And you fling commas and periods at your sentences like a monkey chucking shit at the wall!
With the speed of a black-belt mongoose, Phil strikes Ken in the forehead with two outstretched fingers. Before Ken’s head hits the table, an ugly purple bruise has formed on his forehead. It is in the shape of a perfect semicolon.
Son: Hey, that’s not fair. I know for a fact my grammar and punctuation are impeccable.
Nick: Seriously, piranhas! I mean what the hell, man?
Bjorn: You know, here in Finland-
Everyone: SHUT THE FUCK UP, BJORN!
Phil: Fair enough. Look guys, you’re all on staff because you produce material. But the reason I keep you on staff is because you all live hundreds or even thousands of miles away from me. I hate you guys with the heat of a thousand suns. The only one I even kind of like is Zach, and he’s not even here right now.
Jeff sheepishly raises his hand.
Phil: You may speak, minion.
Jeff: And t-the special whiskey you like, too.
Son: We all pitched in to buy you gifts this year since we, well, you know.
Phil: What? Oh, you mean when you managed to burn down my condo when all you were supposed to be doing was moving some copiers around?
Everyone lowers their heads in shame. Rory and Robin, bloodied and beaten and yet somehow now close friends, take their seats. Phil takes a deep breath, and lets loose with everything he’s been holding in all year long. The list is impressive in its specificity, even going so far as to insult the way we gesture with our hands. “Like a bunch of French women wrist-fighting,” Phil says.
On and on into the night, Phil tears into everyone with an inspired hatred normally reserved for people who’ve run over your dog or punched your mother. Then we find out that happened, too. Makes sense.
Happy Festivus, everyone!