The Yearbook Office
Writings on staying alive

Earlier this week, The Yearbook Office contributors talked about their Christmas wishes. There was a lot of thoughtful ruminating about the nature of the season, and I made an Arby’s joke.

Between that and Alice’s subtle reminder to John Roderick that some of his fans, did, in fact, buy his Christmas album, it seemed like we were done with talking about the holidays. And not a moment too soon.

After all, we’re jaded bohemian types, with our turtlenecks, our berets, and our televisions that we don’t own. There’s only so much holiday cheer this website can take before one of us cracks a smile. Before you know it, we’d all start enjoying ourselves, and then we wouldn’t have anything to write about.

I was fully prepared to write yet another essay about dead relatives, because I live to make my mother cry. I was pouring myself a tall glass of her tears, in fact, when my dog, Banjo, dropped an envelope at my feet. Then he stared at me for about two minutes, after which he curled up and went so sleep.

I picked up the envelope. It was heavy paper, good stationary, with an embossed gold “B” on the back.

My curiosity was piqued. I took a break from preparing to think about writing, so I could read the note my dog had given me. As I carefully opened the envelope, I thought, “This is kind of weird.” And indeed it was. Usually, Banjo and I instant message each other.

On top of the good, heavy paper was another embossed gold “B,” and underneath in smaller gold letters it read, “From The Desk Of Banjo L. Cagan.”

His penmanship was absolutely terrible, but because it was the holidays, I decided to let it slide. I took a salty sip of my drink, and read.

My Man,

Hoping the holiday season finds you well! In the hustle and bustle of this busy time, I know you and I haven’t had an opportunity to just sit down and chat. Also, I sleep 20 hours a day.

Where does the time go? Ah, youth!

I digress.

As previously mentioned, this is the holiday season. A time of giving, good cheer, food falling on the floor, fine spirits, me eating the food on the floor, and giving. Naturally, I am giving you the gift of owning me, and naturally, you are welcome. Please. It’s the least I can do.

But what to give me? I’m sure it’s foremost in your thoughts at all times. I’m sure it plagues you from morning to night, and though one would think sleep would offer you some release, one would be wrong. Your beleaguered brain forces you to experience endless nightmares of tumbling through a German Expressionist Petco, trying to find the perfect gift(s) for me, but failing. Failing miserably.

You wake up in a pool of sweat, shouting, “BUT WHAT WILL WE GIVE THE DOG FOR CHRISTMAS!”

Thank God this note found its way to you in time. For the sake of your sanity, the sake of the My Lady’s sanity, and the good of us all. Thank God.

This then, is just the merest smattering of gift suggestions. Now, OBVIOUSLY, you are under no obligation to give me any of these things. My needs in life are simple, and the affection, love, and poop-pick-upping you provide for me are gift enough.

At the same time, and it’s hardy worth mentioning, I have been an exceptional dog this year. And I don’t want to sound cocky, but I’m pretty confident that trend will continue through 2014. I’ll give you a minute to look in your heart, and know this to be true, truer than anything you’ve ever known in your life.

And we’re back! I knew we’d see things the same way. We’re a pair, you and I! Ah, friendship!

Now, as the metallurgist carpenter once said, “Let’s get down to brass tacks.”

If you MUST get me something(s) for Christmas, I would accept the following.

  • A fair amount of chicken.

  • A golden pillow to be carried around upon.

  • Backup singers.

  • An apartment in Vegas (As you’re probably aware, I’ve been promising Tony Hsieh I’d check out The Downtown Project FOREVER. He keeps DM-ing me, and I’m running out of excuses. But you see the bind I’m in. I have appearances to keep up, and I can’t operate out of a hotel room, like I’m some kind of hedge fund miscreant on a bachelor party bender. I’ve done a little poking around on, and I’m rather fond of this quaint little domicile.)

  • Still more chicken.

  • Backup dancers.

  • A Container Store gift certificate.

  • One of those sticks. One of those sticks that you chew and chew and chew and then you forget what you’re doing and you walk away from it. And maybe somebody holds it up and asks you if still want your stick, do you still want your stick, boy? And you look at it and think, “I have never seen this thing, I don’t even know what to call it, before in my life.” And then you ignore it for a week, and then you find it again, and you chew it and chew it and chew it. And then you forget what you’re doing. And then you walk away from it. One of those sticks.

  • A Showtime Rotisserie and thousands upon thousands of chickens.

  • A nice bottle of Fernet (For when I see Tony, he LOVES that stuff. Drinks it out of Dixie Cups, the old so-and-so! What a character!)

  • Spoons. Plastic spoons. What I do with them is none of your concern.

  • A nice scratch behind the ears, now and again. I really do like that.

  • A giant pile of diamonds.

  • A chat show called “BANJO!,” where I would sing, dance, tell stories, and interview guests on the pressing issues of the day. Naturally, I’d like it to be on one of the major networks, but in a pinch, I will accept FX or Esquire. Under no circumstances will I appear on Animal Planet. Fuck those guys. They know what they did. They know what they did and I will see them all burn in hell before I set one goddamn foot in there.

  • What was that chew mouth thing? It goes in chew mouth? I forget. It will come to me.

Like I said, these are merely suggestions, but give all of them to me right now, or I will do that thing where I make my eyes real big and whimper like I’m being very slowly driven away to work at a coal mine as a tasteful Jerry Goldsmith score rises in the background.

I’m kidding with you, of course, because I’m hysterical. Seriously, just some chicken and we’re all good. And that scratch behind the ears. And that golden pillow. And that Container Store gift certificate. I have, as they say, mad storage issues. Ah, modern life!

The happiest of holidays,

Banjo L. Cagan

I finished reading. Banjo woke up from his nap, and stared at me, wagging his tail. I told him that, with regards to the list, I’d see what I could do. He sniffed, and left the room.

A few minutes later, an IM popped up on my computer. It was from Banjo. It was an emoji of a chicken leg, and a winking face.

I sighed, cracked the tiniest hint of a smile, adjusted my beret, and walked to the supermarket.