Celebrating the Beetles

2 December 2018 Lorin Clarke

Celebrating the Beetles

Public Service Announcement

Ho ho ho hooookay that’s enough now. We get it. It’s Christmas. Maybe you’re Christian. Maybe you’re not. Maybe you do Christmas. Maybe you don’t. Either way: there’s no avoiding it, and sometimes it can be, let’s face it, full on. Compulsory cheer in the face of considerable evidence to the contrary. Capitalism disguised as goodwill. Forced office Kris Kringles. Newsreaders in jovial ties listing untold horrors on the evening news. Not to mention the dead Christmas trees discarded on the side of the road for months to come…

But, lo! What is this?
Everything is going to be okay.
Seriously. Everything. Is going to be. Okay.

Do you know how the sea celebrates Christmas? So great. Go and have a look. The tide goes in, right? And then it goes out again! The waves – they crash against the sand! When you walk on a Christmas beach, the sea flattens the sand after you leave and it looks like you weren’t even there. If you want to go somewhere where Christmas isn’t, go to the seaside and breathe the mist off the top of it into your chest. Look at the sky while your feet sink into the sand. What Christmas?
Cherries are nice. Have some cherries.

Remember, even if Christmas is hard or stressful or sad or confusing, you can have a mince pie and a cup of tea at any time of night or day because you are a human adult! Congrats! Feelings of all sorts are better endured with a mince pie and a cup of hot tea, as all the best scientists will tell you.
Church bells sound lovely.

Jars of marmalade with red and white cotton stretched over the top with a rubber band made by women who grew the fruit in their gardens: one of life’s quiet triumphs. That we live in a world where cotton-covered homemade marmalade exists is a fact that we should celebrate whenever possible. Getting an unexpected message from someone is a lovely thing. Send a message. Change someone’s face for a moment.

There’s something about any event marking the passage of time that can be both lonely and a teensy bit exciting. How did so much happen since this time last year? And yet how does that feel like only yesterday? Who are the people you’re going to have met by this time next year? What are the adventures you’re yet to have? Here’s an idea though: why not stand, hanging off the edge of the earth, just you, a miraculous collection of living cells moving through the universe, having whatever experience this might end up being right now

What a ludicrous and amazing thing. Existing. What even is that?
Hey, so cheese is nice.
Showers are lovely.
Clean sheets are so good they’re almost their own category. Part religious experience, part metaphor for renewal, part sensual journey into another realm. Vote 1 clean sheets. Anybody not on that team is a monster.

Dogs so overtaken by their own enthusiasm that their bodies can barely contain them: yes.

Sometimes, at Christmas, you can hear people in the distance having a cracking good time and sometimes that sound is even better than the sound of you have a cracking good time. Humans, from a distance, can be quite sweet sometimes. The roar of a backyard-cricket six from two streets away: dare you not to smile. 

Christmas even has its own beetle in Australia. The two things Christmas beetles are known for are having a really pretty exoskeleton that makes them look a bit like a Christmas ornament, and being super clumsy and a bit drunk-looking when they fly. Even if Christmas isn’t your favourite thing, you have to admit the Christmas beetle is really nailing the metaphor.

Feeling overwhelmed this Christmas? Here’s an idea. Walk into a room with a book in it. Any room. Any book. Read the book for 11 minutes. Apparently human attention is focused 11 minutes into a film. Interrupt someone six minutes into a film, they’ll answer your question. Interrupt them 12 minutes in, they’ll shoosh you. Lose yourself in something for 11 minutes. You can afford to lose 11 minutes. Whether you lose more is up to you.

Christmas is a lot of things to a lot of people. Glorious, reflective, fun, stressful, a tiny bit sad or downright distressing. This Christmas, have a mince pie and a cup of tea and remember: everything is going to be okay. This has been a Public Service Announcement.

Lorin Clarke (@lorinimus) is a Melbourne-based writer. Her new radio serial, The Fitzroy Diaries, is on the ABC’s Radio National. You can also find it wherever you get your podcasts, or on the ABC Listen app.

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