Okay, I’ll admit, I’ve been pretty busy, and it has taken its toll here @ T.S.O.T S.B. in many ways. But that hasn’t stopped y’all from visiting and following this blog. I might seem ungrateful because I’m not posting much but I’m really not, in fact I wanted to do a special post to let y’all know how much each one of you is absolutely appreciated. With that being said, I will also apologize for my lack if presence here, life moves fast and I’m still trying to get mine under control. Anyway, I hope y’all had a great Christmas and New Year, if that is what you celebrate, if not hopefully the past couple of weeks have been good to you. Thanks to everyone for following and your continued support. There’s still room for new followers, just saying.
It becomes evident fast on the day after Christmas that this year, like every year before her, is indeed going to be ending very soon. Many if y’all will spend the next week trying to figure out what wasn’t done this year, what gets carried over to next year, and what will changes y’all want to make. I don’t fucking do it. What is or isn’t done is done, its too late now, its time to focus on the present. Unfortunately, I watch those around me who make excuses to why they didn’t accomplish a goal the set for themself. Want to know why the goal wasn’t reached? There was never intent, words sound good in the mirror and in front of company but often its just vibrations moving through the air, its just words. Promises are the biggest invented problems that man has created, we cheat ourselves for no purpose, and we hurt those we love because we are selfish.
As we, my wife and I, were playing our fifth game of spades, I listened to a compelling story told by my sister in law, who explained that she will be getting back into church because her youngest daughter (3) has been very fascinated with baby Jesus lately. Therefore, in order to broaden her horizons, she will depend on teaching from a stranger instead of taking responsibility. In the end, we walked away with 5 clean wins at spades. As well, I kept my mouth shut to keep the family peace. There are three things I don’t talk about with friends and family, religion, politics, and football. Because of this I live a peaceful life, because of this I still like my in-laws. I avoid conflicts on purpose because they are battle engagements that I do not deem having a purpose personally.
Before cards began, before we ate, and before opening presents over there I was approached by my niece (13 1/2 y/o) about helping her create a blog. Her mother chimed in and told me if I was going to help her get started please don’t make it suck like mine does. Can y’all tell, her mother is not a fan yet she tells her daughter to ask me because she doesn’t have a clue. Hell, I don’t have a clue yet and I’ve been up to no good blogging for some time now. In reality, my blog is not a good example, so we explored some of my friend’s blogs which are very impressive. She had a favorite, the blog of a poet, one I share allot of her content here, because that is what my niece is interested in, art and poetry. Fantastic, two things I know very little about. So, we spent time exploring, reading, and having ideas, but no blog was spawned. I was asked, by her mother, not to have a link to her daughters blog on mine as she will not host a link to mine either. Fair enough.
In the end, yesterday reminded me why I don’t dwell in the past or make resolutions for the future, it let’s me live today without being bothered by things I cannot change. What is done is done, it is what it is, the milk has already been spilled so to say. I lead a quiet boring life on purpose, I don’t like other people’s drama, and I refuse to get sucked into someone else’s little slice of hell. Oh, that reminds me, I need to put out an email I got this week from a friend I used to work with, because it shows how one person who is determined to change her life made it happen.
I will leave y’all with a final thought today. If you let people drag you down you can only blame yourself. It is your own responsibility to live your life. Only you have control over your happiness. Only you can be in charge of your life. And only you can be responsible for you.
Over the years we, meaning my wife and I, have found that Christmas shopping, as we know it, is usually done well before black Friday ever arrives. This year, being no different, we (she) was done, but then again, we don’t buy much for too many people, usually just the kids and my granddaughter. So, for fun, keeping with our little “family tradition”, we always go to the Katie Mills Outlet Mall the last weekend before Christmas. Why? If we have no need to go why go, is that what y’all are asking? Its easy, since we don’t have a “need” to be there or go there it makes it “fun” for a people watcher like me. My wife, on the other hand, likes to go be amongst her people, shoppers in a frantic, and just see if there are any five for one specials at Bath & Bodyworks. It also gives us a chance to go into Fredrick’s of Hollywood, since Victoria’s Secret has been sucking hind tit for the last ten years or so, because she loves to buy lingerie even though it ends up on the floor in a heap after five minutes, but it does keep things interesting wondering what she is wearing under her hoodie footies this time of year. Have I ever mentioned we don’t buy each other presents, we never have. But, she always buys some very interesting lingerie and then gives me a fashion show of sorts. Its all good clean fun. Every year, since the beginning, we go out, I give her my ideas, say ten to a dozen, then she buys what she wants, then I’m surprised. The cool thing about the Fredrick’s of Hollywood out there is that it does not make them (employees) uncomfortable when I’m in the changing room, try that at a Victoria’s Secret, it isn’t going to happen.
So, we unleash our kids on the mall, giving them a rally time, and my wife and I go to all her favorite stores, this is the perfect time to try on clothes, especially because we both know we’re just “window shopping”. We hit about fifteen of the big brand name places, you know the ones, they are jam packed with crazies that are only at number two on their list of many. Its fun to watch the feeding frenzy knowing that we are only really there to run interference and give grief to those ladies trying to just get through one more day. You would think at our age we could find better ways to spend our time or have better things to do, but we don’t, this is what we do for fun, free entertainment is always a great deal in my book. Hell, we even wait in line to see Santa Claus, kidless of course, where we both sit on Santa’s lap at the same time. And, no, we don’t spend the $39.89 for the cheesy picture either. This year I think ol’ Santa was trying to cop a feel on my wife, his hands weren’t always in view, and my wife isn’t talking. Anyway, this year’s wait was only 38 minutes. Again, its just something we do, and we have never been told NO by Santa either. We cannot say the same about the Easter Bunny, this year she was a bitch and told us she didn’t take pictures with adults. She wouldn’t even just let my wife, all 109 lbs of her, sit on her precious lap. Hey, we take it when we can get it. I have always wondered what kind of person wants, therefore makes a choice to do so, to dress up as a seasonal character for the sole purpose of have kids ride your lap. Seems kinda creepy to me, but I’m just saying.
Eventually we wound up at Fredrick’s of Hollywood. I determined this year that their goal was to make slutty lingerie available to everyone, I don’t remember seeing any 5X sizes last year. Which was a bitch this year because we were having a difficult time finding anything in a small/medium. My wife has an issue you see, petite 5’2″ body but 34DDD chest. Yes, I’m lucky, I get that, but it is a pain in the ass as well because sizes which should fit her don’t without blowing the buttons off. Anyway, the shame of what I’m trying to say is it would appear the market for lingerie has changed. No, I don’t have a problem with that fact, but places should remember that there are still some petite women out there in the real world who need to buy clothes for work and play. And no, so just keep your comments to yourself, I don’t have an issue with plus size women, that wasn’t the point I was making, I was merely mentioning that in this store particularly, I have never seen anything above the XL size. So, to sum up, its the same small ass store, but their inventory for people my wife’s size has dropped considerably. Yes, everyone should have the same shopping opportunities when shopping for slutty lingerie, but it shouldn’t be at the expense of reducing the quantity of smaller sizes in all their options. Anyway, I could go on and on and on but there are other things to talk about. I will say one thing about women knowing what size they wear, most of them don’t. How can that be? Why does a person who wears 3X clothing normally think that because its lingerie she could maybe make a medium fit? Yes, I did witness this first hand, because she stepped out of the changing room in the medium to ask her significant other if he thought she needed a large. Guess what his answer was. I don’t know personally, because we were gone shortly afterwards.
We had some jean shopping to go do, yes to actually buy if they had her style and size, again, we have found many places don’t carry size “0” anymore unless you order it online. However, lucky for us we did get instant purchase gratification at her two favorite stores. My wife is simple when it comes to jeans, she wears two brands, one being Guess and the other being Rockies. The hard part for her is picking what color and/or shade that tickles her fancy this year. Lucky for me, she doesn’t mind wearing the tight jeans, nothing against baggie jeans, but her preference is wearing them tight. I tell her either way is fine, I have for years, but in the end she always goes for the tight look because she likes it and she knows I like it as well. The western store has an interesting flow of customers, it goes in every direction. This is where our afternoon got interesting. We had made our way through the herds of people, we made our way through the racks, and we waited in line for her to get a changing room. Fucking place has 25 changing rooms for the women, 8 for the men, out of the 25 changing rooms they were only using 11 for the women and 2 for the men. When her turn came after 28 minutes she begins her ritual, try on a pair, step out to look in the octagonal surround mirrors, come give me a good look, and slink away back into the changing room for the next round, each round takes 7 to 8 minutes for her. On her second trip out she caught this kid, I say kid, early twenties, checking her out, game on, now she turned up the heat, now its time to fuck with the punk. Although she will never admit to doing it, I can see it, I’ve been checking out my wife’s ass for 16 plus years, I know when she is strutting a little harder than normal. About the time he had his tongue down on the carpet I watched his wife/girlfriend/significant other (so hard to tell these days, nobody wears wedding rings anymore) slap him across the face and asked what in the holy fuck did he think he was doing checking someone else out. Ok, sure, there’s some insecurities in that relationship, that’s obvious as hell, but she wants to make a scene.
My wife is cruel to other women, and men alike, she just turned 40 (now I’m probably dead) and works hard to keep her body the way it looks. She made a choice long ago that she wasn’t going to be one of those wives that just say fuck it and not care how she looks. And no, I honestly don’t think its for me, she has been like this before I met her, I do benefit of course, but in my opinion it is her pride that keeps her motivated. She sees people (especially family) and does not want to be those women. I stay out of it, I have no room to say anything, I’m in my mid-40s and haven’t exactly taken the best care of myself. I could do better, but I’ll admit I’m lazy. But, we do walk every night, we do our five miles, of course I do five and hers ends up being like 8 because she laps me so many times. She is one of those women who is proud of the curves she does have and proud as well for the curves she does not. Her downfall, really, if y’all asked me, is the fact that she work in a doctor’s office, she sees so many people with weight related health issues and she has commented to me that she plans on never being one of them. Perhaps she self aware, perhaps its vanity, perhaps its pride driven by the fact that she is a very strong willed/minded individual, perhaps its her stubbornness that drives her not to just age and settle, who knows.
Anyway, back to the mall. When the shopping was done and we continued to meander around, I discovered she had these two, lets call them high school age teenagers, following us around everywhere we went. I would look over and catch them, make eye contact, and they would act like I didn’t know what I was seeing. After confirming this is what was going on I whispered to my wife what I thought was going on. I was not prepared for all hell to break loose, but it did. We were in some store looking at purses for my wife, who wants (not need) a new purse. I find it strange that she wants a new purse every year when the current one is still going strong. I often point out I have been using the same wallet since 1989. Is it beat up? Yes. Is it wore out? Yes. Do I think I need a new one? Hell no. Funny part about that is she bought me one last year, put it in my Christmas stocking, its still in the box in my top dresser drawer. Anyway, she noticed one of these boys with his phone out pretty regularly and always being held in a somewhat discrete fashion. She put two and two together and had an OMGWTF moment, her gut instinct kicked in and she wanted to know why they were taking pictures of her, if that was what she was doing. She quick formulated a plan, we moved on to the shoe store, and she made herself “available” for unobstructed view. While they were distracted I went and stood behind them, and sure enough, they were taking pictures, mostly when she was bending down/over trying to get a tittie shot I guess. I text her to quickly walk towards them so they would be forced to turn around right into me. When the jig was up and they had been cornered my wife layed into them (verbally) in that harsh “motherly quiet tone” of fury women use. I didn’t get to hear all of it, but I know they erased the pictures off their phones with her watching. Sad thing is that the blonde haired boy was so scared of her he pissed his pants a little, his friend was nice enough to point it out as they walked away. When I asked what she said I was told to not worry about it.
That ends up being our holiday story. As uneventful as it was, it is what we do. We like to get out with all the freaks, frantics, and royal fucktards on the final weekend of shopping before Christmas only because we know we don’t “need” to be there, but we like to go out too, why let everyone else have all the shopping nightmare fun.
I’m reminded by a regular reader and contributor to The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog that it seems that many Christmas stories we know today had a much different start so many years ago. Writers wrote stories differently way back in the early years. Many times stories were written down so they could be shared with many generations to come, most of which had always been word of mouth stories. This reader has taken a “look” into some of the roots for the rhyme or reason behind the scary season and why we love to see, read, and hear all of those great scary Christmas stories.
I know what you’re thinking. What possesses someone to write scary Christmas stories? What is there about Christmas that could possibly be considered scary, creepy, ghoulish, demented, or hair-raising?
Oh, where to start.
At their heart, scary Christmas stories are about subverting innocent childhood memories, adding eerie and unimagined dimensions to them. For regular people, Christmas is about celebration and wonder—or that mad dash to the mall. They aren’t like those strange, twisted individuals who imagine burning red eyes flaring alongside the other lights in a Christmas tree, or hear soot-caked claws scraping inside the brick belly of the chimney.
A Background on Scary Christmas Stories
I blame the Victorians. They loved their ghost stories, and Christmastime was when they gathered around the fire and did their best to scare each other. Charles Dickens almost single-handedly rescued Christmas—at least as a secular, feel-good holiday—through his famous ghost story, A Christmas Carol.
The practice has its roots in primitive Yuletide rituals, before the Christians came along and roped it all together into Christmas. Before anyone celebrated the birth of Christ, winter was a frightening time. The nights stretched on forever, the cold swept in, and nothing grew. Primitive people celebrated surviving to the halfway point—the winter solstice, or Yule—which represented the death and (hopeful) rebirth of the sun.
Christmas Eve back then was perhaps the darkest part of the year. With the sun gone and the light extinguished, the membrane between the worlds of the living and the dead grew thin. Ghost were allowed to escape, to wreak havoc or make amends.
So it’s plain to see that Christmas has always been scary. The light and innocence of the time was a direct response to the pervasive darkness and fear that came with winter. Like fairy tales, Christmas traditions often have grisly, Old-World origins that have been forgotten.
Even Santa had a dark side. Whatever his incarnation—Santa, Saint Nick, Father Christmas—he tended to have a shadow partner, a silent, hooded fellow named Black Pete or Knecht Ruprecht who doled out justice to those who had been naughty, usually beating them with a stick from the bundle he hauled around on his back.
And we won’t even start with Krampus (at least for now).
Suffice it to say, scary Christmas stories have very deep roots in our current culture, even though we aren’t really aware of them these days. A select few souls try to keep this tradition alive, usually by enjoying the scary Christmas tales told by others, or by penning a few ourselves.
5 Elements of Scary Christmas Stories
Scary Christmas stories come in all shapes and sizes and wrapping paper. But if you’re of a mind to scribble down a few scary holiday tales of your own, here are a few common elements to bear in mind.
1). Subversion, or do the Twist
This is the fun part. Find an aspect about the holiday and twist it around, or find a scary explanation for it. Tim Allen did this with his series The Santa Clause. Before it became a movie, it started out as a dark short story about a man who shoots Santa and then is doomed to take his place.
This is where the Doctor Who specials really shine. They take a beloved aspect of Christmas (e.g., glass globes, Christmas trees, Santas, stars, snow, snowmen, etc.) and twist it into something frightening (and fascinating).
So when you write your scary Christmas story, don’t forget to do the twist!
2). Yuletide Justice
Christmas is about justice. Children in particular understand this. Good kids get their reward, bad kids get their comeuppance, and all is well with the world. In a true Christmas story of the darker persuasion, don’t forget that in the end, Christmas Eve is one of those few times of the year when the scales of justice are in balance.
Christmas is about coming together with family and friends—sometimes even from beyond the grave. The clarion call to return home for Christmas can easily be connected to the draw of nostalgia, the longing for times long past, for the innocence of childhood and the wonder of growing up.
That nostalgia draws loved ones together (even if the relationship has soured some) across miles, and sometimes worlds. Ghosts often find their way home for Christmas, but the return of a beloved family member from beyond the grave isn’t always what we imagine it will be.
And sometimes it isn’t love that draws the dearly departed back home. Sometimes, it’s revenge.
4). Powers Dark and Powers Bright
Because it’s considered a holiday for children, we usually play up the lighter, more whimsical aspects of Christmas. But a scary Christmas story should serve as a reminder that everything has its opposite. Good and evil, night and day, winter and spring, Santa and Ruprecht, Rudolph and Frosty. Just as the scales of justice must be balanced, make sure you balance the light with the dark.
5). Toys (and Other Bright Shiny Things)
Like it or not, Christmas is about toys these days. Most people love toys, especially writers. Like Anton Chekov, for instance. He reminds writers to: “Remove everything that has no relevance to the story. If you say in the first chapter that these is a rifle hanging on the wall, in the second or third chapter, it absolutely must go off. If it’s not going to be fired, it shouldn’t be hanging there.”
There is also writers’ favorite Christmas gift to their readers: the MacGuffin.
The “MacGuffin” was made famous by Alfred Hitchcock. It is a plot device that can take on many shapes and forms, but primarily serves as the motivation for the characters in a story. In many cases, it doesn’t matter what the MacGuffin is; what matter is that so many people in the story want it. A MacGuffin can be an object, a person, a place—a bag of cash, a suitcase bomb, a Maltese falcon, a jewel, etc.
So be sure to break out the best, shiniest MacGuffin for your story. Fire off that Chekov’s gun! Make sure your story makes good use of its toys. As I close, I remind everyone to look at their Christmas books, Christmas movies, and the sorted Christmas tales you tell, you might be surprised at it’s origin or true meaning. Tis the season to have a very Merry Scary Christmas!
I really like it when readers email me their stories to post here on The Sting Of The Scorpion Blog, I like reading them all. I especially like the stories that I can relate well to, such as the following story, because I was an 80’s kid. Being born in 1968 I can remember most of the 70’s, how things really started improving in the 80’s, and as a young adult when the 90’s started. But, I remember being the kid who “caught” my parents pretending to be Santa Claus red handed. I had always wondered how an old fat bastard got around down here in southeast Texas, the humidity had to make him sweat something fierce. Plus, having a fireplace was more like a decoration, it wasn’t meant to be functional, it was meant to be the eyesore in the corner where all the junk collected. As a kid I grew up and lived in the same house for 16 years, never once was the fire place used. My mother installed lights in it to accent the seasonal array of plants she would put in it to fill the void. Our winters are mild here to say the very least. But, this isn’t my story to tell, I turn y’all over to read the story of another disappointed 80’s kid.
Fortunately, I’m guessing, I don’t have a horrific Christmas tale of woe to share really, Scorpion Sting. Let’s just call it the “God-awful, just heinously suck-fucking-tastic family Christmas story”, okay? What I do have, however, is a tale of complete parental letdown, a tale of epic Santa denied disaster, and ostensibly the end to ever seeing the world of gift giving the same forever.
Do you see this here? That Tabletop Pac-Man circa 1983? Yeah, well, that’s all a young Spirit Fingers wanted for Christmas. And how could anyone not want this wonderrific arcade game styled in true arcade fashion making for the unique opportunity to eat ghosts, cherries, and power pellets right at their frigging fingertips? This was THE quintessential gift item. Yah, Cabbage Patch dolls were for over exuberant baby-lovers, Freezy Freakies gloves were for nerd-junkies and future Fox 5 weathermen, naw, the Tabletop Pac-Man, that, my friends was for cool kids with skillz, the ones who wore Jordache not Wrangler, had crimped hair not crispy bangs, who prided themselves on acquiring over 50 Garbage Pail Kids, not those who played Uno with their cousins on Friday nights. Yah, knowledge of the T.T.P.M meant you’d actually been in the mall arcade with real high-school kids, if only for a few seconds before your mother grabbed you and said you’re too young and they probably smoke “reefer” in there.
So, I’d dropped hints about this thing. Showed everybody the picture in the Toys R. US (parental nightmare) catalog. Put it as the NUMBER ONE gift on my Santa letter, which was stamped, mailed, and shipped directly to the North Pole of course. I even confirmed this fact during my phone call to the man himself. (In the 80’s parents calling taped phone recordings of “Santa” so their kids could “talk” to him were popular) and felt I had done all I could to secure the gift. I stopped smacking the ever-living dog shit out of my brother for breathing. I washed dishes for two weeks straight without an increase in allowance, AND smiled graciously when my Nana mentioned some lameitude about pink and blue Barbie themed legwarmers. (which I actually received to my shame)
Everything was all set. Cookies were set out. PJs were on, off to bed I went, secure that Santa would bring me the toy that I could play, but was also excitingly portable so you could bring it to taunt all your friends who just got LEGOs or some other “thinking child’s” toy. Now, every parent knows no kid goes directly to sleep on Christmas eve. They all just lay wiggling in their beds in a ball of hope and Santa magic straining to hear reindeer or the jingle of bells until sleep forcibly takes them. So instead of bells or a distant “Ho, Ho, Ho.” I hear a battery operated whirring, and a chorus of whines and staccato electronic bleats and bleeps…very odd for a house built in the 1950’s to make. I creep downstairs to the kitchen to find my father and mother bending over a TABLETOP PAC-MAN game blustering and cursing AND fucking playing the shit out of my Christmas gift like they’ve been doing so for frigging weeks! I’m appalled, I’m mesmerized, I’m thrilled…I’m really fucking angry. Their excuse, “Well uh, we had to know if what Santa brought you…um, earlier, actually worked, because how could Santa really check everything that leaves the shop, right?” Bullshit, fuckers.
In twenty seconds I’ve learned there’s no Santa Claus (assholes), parents lie (assholes), and videogames are way cooler than anything ever if one can lead you to being an asshole in front of your child, and then of course, send them to bed and expect unadulterated joy when they open their NUMBER ONE Christmas gift in six hours that has already been sullied by the hands of Santa Claus thiever of Jesus Christ day veritable joy hijackers…i.e. the people who created and birthed you.
— Just Another 80’s Kid