This, I kid thee not, is a matched pair. For the second holiday season running (that I've noticed, at least), you can buy a bottle of Johnnie Red and get a miniature Canadian spruce in a pot for free.
The little piece of glossy cardboard sticking out of the dirt holds care instructions, suggesting that the tree be repotted in a bigger receptacle soon, and in the spring, as soon as the winter chills have passed, it be planted outside. Eventually it is to grow into a lovely, cone-shaped, classical fairy-tale Christmas tree up to seven feet tall.
Which is, of course, just some conscionable copywriter attempting to cut down on alcohol-related suicide spike around the end of December.
The weekend bookstore run landed me with Nick Hornby's "Long Way Down", which is a book about a quarter of sad lonely people failing to kill themselves on New Year's Eve. It's this sort of little coincidence that you notice. The night before I got on an airplane for the first time, or rather three airplanes in succession for a 20-hour trip to San Diego, I watched Pushing Tin, a movie with John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton about psycho air traffic controllers.
Nick Hornby is best-known for High Fidelity. I read the book once, and saw the movie countless times. It has John Cusack in it, and Jack Black. Cusack is a very Christmasy actor, overall. He did that film with Kate Beckinsale.
If I was an existing movie star, I'd be Jack Black.
There's a girl some hundred-odd miles north of where I'm sitting, who would be Kate Beckinsale. Even though she says she'd be Mila Yovovich.
Years ago, around this time of the year, a girl said she'd started to worry about me killing myself. (Months earlier I had told her I loved her; did it in the most cowardly way imaginable, seconds before getting on a bus to another country. I expected her to tell me to sod off, but she didn't. She waited a couple months for that. A few weeks after that, I couldn't talk to her.) I thought to myself that the girl had a bit of an opinion of herself; I'd had much better reasons to kill myself, and didn't. She'd hurt me deeply, but in the grand scheme of my life, she didn't rank.
So no, I'm not going to wash down a tin of painkillers with that bottle of Johnnie Red while looking at my little Christmas tree.
(The Kate/Mila girl and the suicide girl are two entirely different girls, you understand. Polar opposites in most ways, though I met them under similar circumstances.)
I don't really think I've done badly in my life so far. Not objectively. And I'm used to being alone. Spent the first eighteen years of my life around people I never specifically liked, on a personal level, and put a fair bit of effort into being able to live alone for the last four. I've got a job, and I've got friends who like me. Saw six of them after the bookstore run on the weekend. (Well, OK, some were spouses.)
Still, I can't help feeling miserable when I'm alone on Christmas and New Year's Eve.