I have endeavoured in this Ghostly little post, to raise the Ghost of an Idea, which shall not put my readers out of humour with themselves, with each other, with the season, or with me. May it haunt their newsfeeds pleasantly, and no one wish to unfriend them.–Their friend and faithful servant, JV
It happened some time between the Airing of Grievances and the Feats of Strength. Ryan had just finished explaining to the rest of The Wheelhouse Review writers why the Oxford comma was preferable and also why semicolon use in future pieces would be excised forthwith (his words). As he set down his beer in order to prepare for taking on Stephanie’s Baby during the Feats, I noticed that the Festivus pole was broken.
Some background: each year, The Wheelhouse Review throws a Festivus party. Known as The Great Compromise of 2012, the decision to commemorate Festivus rather than Hanukkah, Christmas, or Kwanzaa came about because we didn’t have a budget for more festive decorations–but we did have a sturdy aluminum pole with a very high strength to weight ratio. The evening also functions as a staff retreat of sorts, because the Airing of Grievances and Feats of Strength work well as team building exercises, and because Ryan kept yelling “psych” and stepping backwards when we’d do trust falls (which was addressed during the first Airing by an irate and very sore Stephanie).
I discreetly mentioned the broken pole to the group by screaming “oh my God who the BLEEP broke the bleeping Festivus pole?” Sure, it was an overreaction, but how could someone break an aluminum pole with such a very high strength to weight ratio?
That was when I realized that there was tinsel all over the ground–tinsel which, like Frank Costanza, is highly distracting. It dawned on me that this might not have been an accident.
Having survived an earthquake, and therefore extremely cool under pressure, Alison quickly took charge. “You guys, someone broke the Festivus pole and used tinsel to distract us. We need to get to the bottom of this.”
Looking up from their wrestling match (in which a scrappy Baby, though small in stature, was about to pin Ryan), a tinsel-covered Ryan sprang into action and offered his solution for most difficult situations: make yourself as big as possible (or maybe that’s just what he does with bears). Alison, giving Ryan the side-eye, instead suggested we retrace the events of the night so far.
There had been the traditional Festivus dinner of meatloaf and spaghetti and a karaoke version of the “Twelve Days of Festivus,” led by Sarah, Alison, and Faith. Ryan took up a donation for The Human Fund. Then two of our newer writers, Liz and JoJo, reenacted the scene of the very first Festivus before Stephanie kicked off our Airing of Grievances by providing some unsolicited advice.
Upon recounting the events of the night, Baby said “This is lame. Someone just duct-tape the pole back together or something.” The lights began to flicker. Thinking it was the strobe light he had bought for our dance party, Jojo went to investigate. He never came back (until much later). When the lights came back on to their proper settings, the pole was once again unbroken–without the aid of duct tape– and standing in it’s rightful, yet unadorned place. “It’s a Festivus Miracle we exclaimed!” For what other explanation could there be?
We returned to the Feats of Strength, and upon pinning Ryan to the ground, Baby offered a jubilant prayer: “God bless us, Every One.” While we may never know exactly what happened to the Festivus pole, we all were content in the knowledge that what mattered was that we were together. Happy Festivus to one and all.