At the very warmest and most satisfying moment in Thanksgiving Day dinner yesterday, when all was right with the world and I felt truly thankful for my good fortune, a thought struck my skull like a hammer against a church bell.
"What about the commenters?"
On Thanksgiving Day, Hanukkah, Christmas, the end of Ramadan, we abandon our blogs without a thought and gather happily at the hearth with loved ones, but where do the commenters go? Who tells their old stories and sings their old songs with them? Mavdog, RTGolden1, The Credible Hulk, Myrna, ThePosterFormerlyKnownasPaul: Does anyone prepare a feast for them?
I shook it off and enjoyed the rest of a long afternoon in the comfort of family, but when I lay my head on the pillow and prepared to fall asleep last night the thought revisited me like a vengeful spirit: "How can you slumber," the spirit asked, "not knowing where the commenters spent this chilly day and what they did without the blog?"
I tried to quiet myself by imagining what it might be like to host a wonderful holiday feast for the commenters. I pictured myself as a kindly, somewhat tipsy English country squire in a red velvet vest with an even redder nose, standing out in front of a stately pillared mansion at the top of a frost-bitten hill, greeting my guests as they showed up in response to my disinvitations.
Well, I would have to disinvite them to get them to show up. The card would say something like, "Major Feast Friday at the Schutze Mansion. RSVPs requested from libtards only. Commenters need not even reply." That would bring them in by the droves.
I would be so excited to see them show up, because I would be so curious to see what they looked like. I imagine a good number of them would be in the company of their over-protective mothers. Some of the older ones, of course, would be drunk. Possibly some of the younger children as well. I imagine many of them would be carrying axes, which I would ask them to check with the valet at the door. But I also think that most of them would look like perfectly normal people. In other words, they would come wearing clever disguises.
The real fun would be the electrifying banter around the table. "OK, you got us with the joke turkey, now when do we get the real one?" "Why doesn't anyone ever talk about Scandinavian-American on Scandinavian-American crime?" "Do you mind if I put my cats on the table?" "Where were you at Benghazi?" "I'm eating so much I'm going to need Obamacare."
In fantasizing about it, I even allowed myself to get a little sentimental. It seemed to me that at the end of the evening, a few tears might be shared and even a big group hug. We would say all the same things to each other that regular families say.
"Let's not let it be this long again next time."
"We need to realize what we've got together and be nicer to each other."
"It's as if we'd never grown up."
"Remember to send me the recipe for that cranberry mac and cheese. So good!"
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I have to assume that as everyone drives off, they will talk about what a dump my house was, how stupid I looked in the red vest and what was with the terrible English accent? Lying in bed thinking about it, I chuckled to myself imagining the retching sounds as they recall the meal and groans of agony for the saccharine good-byes.
By the next day after my holiday feast, we will do as all good families, forget the whole thing and go back to square one. And here they will come the instant the blog doors open for business again, dressed up as medieval warriors and Oxford dons, gangsters and saints, boulevardiers and virgins, all of them spewing bile and swinging papier mache clubs.
At least I will have the satisfaction of knowing that they weren't abandoned in this season, a time so happy for some, so cruel for others. We stumble and hobble along together in the three-legged race of life during the rest of the year. The least we can do is offer a moment of mutual solace somewhere in the long night of winter.