tagg3112805-11Tagg wooed Lisa by singing “Breakup on the Phone,” a ballad he’d written chronicling the 4 times he has (you guessed it) broken up on the phone. Lisa thought it was hilarious and said, “If we date, can we please end it on the phone?” A year and a half later, everything came full circle. 


This week I got an e-mail from Ex-Girlfriend.  It said, “I might have written a post about Christmas Explosion vs. Choreographed Christmas. People want to hear your side of the story.”  

I’ll do my best.

There are endless reasons to favor order, structure, and manners at Christmas.  For example:

  • Accountability.  Everyone knows who gave socks. 
  • Anticipation.  Minutes become hours.
  • Improved Acting Ability.  “Yellow-and-blue-striped tube socks….”  Recover.  “I love them.” Eventually you’re convincing.
  • Simplified Gratitude.  If you actually needed socks, you don’t fight for the giver’s attention.
  • Reduced Injury:  No one slips and falls on castaway hosiery. (Yes, people actually toppled over at the Piorczynski Christmas.) 

The list could go for miles (and in very neat rows).  But I’ll focus on one critical virtue of holiday order:  With structure, men survive.

The modern joust is man against the holiday. Order is the lance of victory. Consider this handy formula:  Dinner, flowers, and a card. With slight variations, its success is endless:

  • Valentine’s Day.  Perfect.
  • Anniversaries.  Two in a row.
  • Birthdays.  From Per Se to Chuck E. Cheese–plastic flowers at the latter.
  • Thanksgiving.  Substitute flowers with autumnal leaves. 
  • Hospitalizations.  Amazingly flexible, isn’t it? 
  • Mother’s Day.  Give the flowers in church.
  • Funerals.  Yes, even funerals, noting, however, that dinner must be accompanied by the appropriate potatoes. 

Turns. Manners. Reason. Formulas. Yes. 

Mine is a holiday of order, not of confusion.

On the flip side, consider two exploding holiday experiences I had with Lisa.

One of Lisa’s birthdays did explode. We went to a shooting range near LAX. A gym membership, a gift certificate for plastic surgery, and “motivational” clothes one size too small would have been better received.

For further proof: the Tool concert Lisa and I attended. While not a holiday for us, it was a holiday for the guy with the Cheech-and-Chong-sized joint. The joint’s smoke approximated many explosions. Nevertheless, like the 9mm birthday, this event should be classified as “not a success”.

Explosions aren’t everything.

Now, I must acknowledge some drawbacks of Christmas choreography. For example, your Ukrainian Aunt will still give you a sexy Calvin Klein ensemble: black tank top with matching black briefs. And it doesn’t prevent your cousins, and uncles, and parents, and grandparents (yes, even my dear grandmother) from prodding you to model for the family. Why? Because we’re all just waiting to open gifts. 

Also, there is a certain amount of joy that spreads in the chaos. But it doesn’t trump the benefits of order. Next year will your acting be up to par when you get the homemade foot massager? Not if you don’t practice. 

Now, as I’m ready to say case closed, I remember a few other events. A Glock-free birthday. A Thanksgiving. A Christmas Eve. A Valentine’s.

That Valentine’s Day exploded with chocolate and cards and gifts and praise and flowers. The flowers were so explosive that women walking down the street could not contain their observations, which included, and I quote, “Ooooh, ooh, ooh.  Girl, do you see that?  That boy is going to get some.”  Without admitting or denying specifics, it was a wonderful Valentine’s. 

Piorczynski Christmas Eve Dinner is also wonderful. Very orderly, all 12 courses of it, but, each one pretty much explodes on its own.

So perhaps this is it: Even the formula knows how to explode.  And even explosions need to happen on time. Perhaps somewhere in a mixture, things are right. In the mix, we are who we are, and we get what we want, and we stay together for another Christmas.

At least that’s what I’ll say this turn. And I’ll probably say it because, it’s the polite and reasonable and orderly thing to do.