So I broke the streak last week and if there's one thing I've learned about myself it's that given the slightest excuse not to run, I will take it. Since breaking the streak I think I've run once. Maybe twice. Either way, it's been to a bunch of Christmas songs because Christmas songs are awesome and because not everything about running should have to suck balls. Here's the Spotify playlist.
"Last Christmas," Wham
You bet your ass I am starting off with this song. Why? Because if you don't like Christmas songs you can go straight to hell. Straight. To. Hell. That's why. I'm sorry, you don't like a little joy in your life for one lousy month? You have to be cynical about every last thing on earth so instead of just bopping your head along to some festive tunes you have to complain about how Christmas has been commercialized or Song X was just a cash grab by Band Y? Please get royally fucked.
"Sleigh Ride," Johnny Mathis
What about music the rest of the year? That's all on the up and up? Fucking Lady GaGa isn't some charlatan harlequin dressing up like an asshole for money? She's an artist? Again, get fucked. Get fucked, then listen to Johnny Mathis sing about a birthday party at the home of Farmer Gray. That'll get your juices flowing in ways Terry Richardson and Miley Cyrus wish they could.
"Baby It's Cold Outside," Leon Redbone and Zooey Deschanel
I don't remember hearing this song before I saw Elf so it's a relatively new addition to the mix, but it seems that movie has spawned all sorts of different versions. So much so that I'm pretty sure there have been Think Pieces written on it. Which, fine, it's real creepy when you think about it. But the worst, the worst version of this song is by Jessica Simpson and then-hubby Nick Lachey. They made a Christmas album and my wife owns it and it is somehow creepier than Dean Martin getting a woman all sauced and keeping her from going home. Jessica Simpson sings songs like "Silent Night" and "Away In A Manger" like she's trying to seduce the infant Christ. It's really weird. But it's Christmas, to each her own.
"I Yust Go Nuts At Christmas," Stan Boreson
Like, this is my weirdo track. It's just some goofy-ass song set to "Twas The Night Before Christmas." It's OK to just like things sometimes, even if they're sappy. And you are allowed to be sappy for Christmas, it's the whole point of the season. That's why people have Ugly Sweater parties and watch A Christmas Story 73 times in one day. These things are not objectively good or fun; they are objectively hokey. But it's OK, because it's all nostalgia. The bad sweaters weren't Bad Sweaters back when you were a kid, they were just sweaters you wore when you were a kid. Jean Shepherd is just some dead guy I never met, but I watched that movie every year at least a dozen times, so I'll keep it on in the background this year, look over at the TV every now and then and remember how I used to watched it as a kid.
"Happy Xmas (War Is Over)," John Lennon
As a kid, all that shit was just sort of hanging around the fringes, setting the scene. But the main Christmas course was obviously the presents. There was just this random day where you were getting a whole shitload of awesome presents like a Castle Grayskull or a Jets Freeman McNeil set with a football, jersey, helmet and shoulder pads, for basically doing nothing. It was magical. Now, as adults, we get practical shit like gift certificates as gifts. Which is still pretty awesome, it's still free stuff that you will enjoy for having done nothing, but it doesn't have the same pizazz as a Lion-O action figure with the light-up eyes.
"Frosty The Snowman," Jimmy Durante
Since we can't get sweet presents like that anymore without being diagnosed with something, we've turned the things we still can enjoy into the things that make Christmas Christmas. So we listen to Christmas songs and watch Christmas movies and drink mulled cider with Maker's Mark. It hearkens back to all those old, magical feelings, which is the next best thing to actually feeling those feelings. It's all that's left.
And since New Year's is a bullshit holiday, feel free to revert to the cynical grump that you are on December 26th.
With this fresh outlook, we turn to running.
It is unhelpful.
"Christmas Is The Time To Say I Love You," Billy Squire
It dumped snow in the northeast this week and the temperatures dropped so when I have been running, it's at the gym on the treadmill. I've convinced myself that if I run faster, it's OK that I don't run as long as I usually do. I don't particularly care about the accuracy of this rationalization because it's a rationalization. It doesn't have to be accurate, it just has to look accurate. Like those houses on a studio set. We all know it's not a real house, but it looks close enough, allowing us to credibly pretend it is.
"Santa Claus Is Comin' To Town," Bruce Springsteen
Once the streak ended, I told myself I was going to get wild for Christmas and then come December 26—like being cynical—get back on the horse. This is a classic Me move, too. Never do today what you can put off 'til whenever is more convenient, I always say with my actions. In the middle of this bacchanalia of food and Maker's Mark spiked cider—seriously it is a game changer—my wife sort of chided me into getting to the gym.
"Do They Know It's Christmas," Band Aid
If you can, I highly recommend getting a person who cares for you to guilt you into doing the shit you are supposed to do yourself. If left to my own poor decisions, I would be...I would probably be dead, really. That's why I could never make it as a real Hollywood celeb. Oh money and access is not a problem for anything? Why, yes, I think I will have the champagne-marinated steak, with a side of heroin, please. It's OK, I'm famous. This is allowed. And then I would just be dead.
But I'm not famous and crazy rich and still have to function as a real adult, so all I can overdose on is Christmas-themed Hershey Kisses. And when I do, I have a support system that gently nudges me back on the path of at least moving just a little bit to at the very least avoid atrophy or DVT. It's nice.
"Blue Christmas," Elvis Presley
If you don't have a loved one to yell at you and are also not filthy rich then...I uh...I dunno, I wouldn't worry about it too much. There are probably people on the internet that care about what happens to you. I'm sure of it.
"Rockin' Around The Christmas Tree," Brenda Lee
Earlier in the week it was freezing cold. Now it's like 60 degrees. We have all this snow that has nowhere to go but into the ground. So now we just have, like, floating mud colonies. Tiny chipmunks are fighting over solid-ish portions of dirt as the flow along to the storm grates and sewers. You can't step anywhere without needing to put on new socks. The first day the weather switched so suddenly that when I went to the gym, I went out in these new pants and a sweatshirt I got and I was sweating before I got to the car. You still can't really run outside because it's Waterworld out there, so I just went to the gym already sweating.
"Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)," Darlene Love
The good news was, I was able to pretend like I ran to the gym to get my workout started. My psychotic wife does this sometimes, so I know it's a thing people do. She'll run to the gym to get herself started and then do the elliptical when she gets there, or work on the machines or whatever.
So my theory was, I'll play up the sweat and even pant a little as I check in so it looks like I ran to the gym. This is also genius for those times when you run for like one mile or something and leave.
"White Christmas," Bing Crosby
Me: [stepping off the treadmill after weak-ass workout, to no one in particular] Woo! What a workout.
Me: [fanning self off] That run here really got me going. [panting] Hoo! Nice to take it easy here for the last bit of my workout.
Me: [still to no one] What? No, my wife's picking me up so I don't have to run back.
I'm sure that even if a single person gave one shit about what everyone else was doing at the gym they would never for one second believe any of that.
"Carol Of The Bells," St. Olaf Choir
Hey, have a merry Christmas.