FOR THE REST OF US!!!!
It’s December 23rd today and I know what that means. No, it does not simply mean that tomorrow is Christmas Eve or that the next day is Christmas. No, to me and mine, today is something different, quite unlike Christmas and not nearly as significant. Yet it still has meaning and I could not escape it if I wanted to.
I’ve been awake for only a few hours and I have already been wished a “Happy Festivus” by text, Facebook message, or in person six times. Many others are waiting for me to wish it to them. This happens every single year. Every year a made up holiday that was a plot point of a singular Seinfeld episode 18 years ago, invented by a loose cannon secondary character, interrupts the Christmas songs, cuts through the peaceful Christmas vacation time with family and causes dozens of people in my life to ‘celebrate’ with odd things like unadorned poles, wrestling and telling each other bluntly exactly what you find wrong with them. (For the record, nearly all of this is done in jest. Nearly all.)
IF IT WERE ONLY DECEMBER 23rd THAT I EXPERIENCED THIS…
What is even crazier is that the other 364 days of the year are similar in bringing Seinfeld references into the excruciating minutia of every single daily event. Every time my friend Josh Crowe and I have a silly disagreement, one of us quotes Frank Costanza: “You sayin’, you want a piece of me?” When my brother Ashley and I text, things like “Eric the Clown” come up constantly. Every time I have to stop suddenly at a traffic light I hold up my arm to brace my wife’s sudden jerk forward, I say “Everybody knows….” and then she adds “I stop short.”
Every year a made up holiday that was a plot point of a singular Seinfeld episode 18 years ago, invented by a loose cannon secondary character, interrupts the Christmas songs, cuts through the peaceful Christmas vacation time with family and causes dozens of people in my life to ‘celebrate’ with odd things like unadorned poles, wrestling and telling each other bluntly exactly what you find wrong with them.
[Kayla is a fairly new fan. She actually watched all 180 episodes of Seinfeld twice, just so she could understand my random comments in everyday life. I don’t quote Seinfeld on purpose most of the time; it just comes out because its vernacular is so ingrained in me lo these many years later. I can go months without seeing an episode and it will still be at the forefront of my brain. She got this early on. And being the excellent wife she is, she allowed Seinfeld references all over our wedding day festivities in both subtle and overt ways, from the best men being “pretty good men” to marching out to a string quartet version of Good Riddance to having “WORLDS COLLIDE” in big letters behind us as we sat at our reception. To pay her back, I am also a recent and big Harry Potter fan, and quoted it in my vows.]
I’M PRETTY SURE EVERYONE WATCHED SEINFELD
The Seinfeld references don’t stop with quotes either. Plot points make their way into our daily actions and norms. My church is a clear example. My pastor bought me 3 feet of Twix bars this year for Christmas, just so he could say, “They were all Twix!” when he gave it to me. My church gives out a “Cosmo Kramer” urban scholarship to summer interns most years and part of their contract states they must be willing to go by the name ‘Darin’ all summer and they have to watch the episode that explains why. In 2007 my brother Ashley told me that someone should preach a sermon on “Dealing with the Ramon’s in your life” – a direct reference to an episode where Jerry finds a guy so annoying, he tells him they can’t be friends or hang out any more. Ashley told me that he has those people in his life and used a Seinfeld episode to communicate that clearly and succinctly.
This kind of long term influence is everywhere in society today. You can find it in multiple places in the mainstream. When longtime Yankee owner George Steinbrenner died a few years ago, the Chicago Tribune did a full page article on his life…and a half page on his presence in Seinfeld even though he himself never appeared on the show but was instead portrayed by co-creator Larry David. A few years ago my brother Tracy sent me an article over email about a prisoner in California who requested a specialized diet and lost. In his appeal to a court, he cited “Festivus” as the holiday he celebrates. The judge acquiesced, awarding him the necessary “Festivus” diet. Every month–and sometimes every week–I see something on ESPN, the local news, or even religious blogs that references the show.
It goes on and on. And while there is no doubt that Seinfeld is my favorite show, there is also no doubt that its influence is far bigger than my small little world. But for those of you blessed enough to be in mine, I say, “Happy Festivus!” And if you have any grievances to air about this article–or me in general, today is the the day. And Festivus is never over until Tracy pins me. But seriously (although this is all serious), enjoy today whether you celebrate this inane holiday or not. Merry Christmas! Enjoy the site!