A twisted Christmas

Sometimes, you just can’t duck the Ghost of Spinach Dip Past

Tammy Duncan is a Sacramento writer and occasional SN&R contributor.

Some things never change: death, taxes and dysfunctional family holidays. The year my aunt showed up in her painted-on Latex pants and usual pissed-off expression, bearing her one and only holiday contribution of half-eaten spinach dip she’d picked up at a previous party—well, that was the day I said, “That’s it. I’m not celebrating Christmas anymore!”

In my Grinch-ly attempt to defy tradition, last year I found myself sitting in a nightclub on Christmas Eve with the music from a band blaring loud enough to wake the dead, as 50 or so sweaty bodies jammed around the bar and along the walls. The band was drinking more than the patrons, which meant the music became steadily louder and more off key.

I never expected to say this, but it was serious fun.

What better way to spend the holidays than dancing to deafening rock ’n’ roll with a long line of fellow basket cases?

As the band launched into “Baby, It’s Cold Outside,” the dance floor began to fill. Heaven help me, but was that 50-year-old hippie really thrusting his hips in my direction?

“Hi. My name is Virgil,” he yelled over the music as he leaned waaaay too far into my personal space. It was obvious that this man had been libating and lubricating himself for quite some time. Every consonant was accompanied by a not-so-fresh shower of spittle.

“D’ya wanna dirty dance?”

He may have been insulted when I declined, but he was also undaunted. He undulated across the dance floor, grabbed the nearest post, wrapped his legs around it and began to swing. Clearly, the pole was his most willing partner—certainly more willing than I’d been.

I turned away, laughing with disbelief. Is this how “the other half” celebrates?

Then, a thundering crash at the door. Careening through the opening, a very large, hairy, red-headed man—he looked remarkably like the Muppet “Animal,” but wearing a Santa hat—bumped into the “Please Wait to be Seated” sign, grabbed it furiously, and shook it like a maraca. Then he turned his wild eyes on me and yelled, “Aurgg ooo Fabglaag!” Since I’m not up to speed on ancient Neanderthal dialects, I managed to merely shrug in bewilderment. “Animal”—or “Critter,” or whatever his name was—then launched himself across the room in a frenzied attempt to slam dance with everyone, or thing, in his path.

I value the use of my limbs as much as anyone—and I’m not always up on my calcium supplements—so to avoid breakage of, well, me, I decided it was time to exit—stage right, stage left or even into the orchestra pit.

But my getaway was interrupted as the undulating Virgil returned for one last attempt at “dirty dancing.” Or just “dirt.” He was bearing a plated peace offering from the buffet table, no doubt in hopes of lubricating my joints. It was—you guessed it—a heaping glob of elderly spinach dip.

So much for trying fend off the Ghost of Twisted Christmas Past. I’d be better off with my aunt. At least she’s into “clean dancing.”