Our amigos across the pond have their traditions too. Instead of the mall, they go to the Corte Inglés, and instead of sitting on Santa’s lap, they sit on the lap of some kid in a bathrobe and black-face, which is not meant to offend any of the real-live Africans also walking around the Corte Inglés. Really. After a coupla copas, a Spaniard will tell you that, deep down and way back, he actually is a Moor. Or a Jew. Before 1492, that is, when all the other Spaniards kicked the Moors and Jews out (it was a busy year).
But if history and tradition are too much for your p. c. self, hie up north to Cataluña, where a lot of Christmas has to do with … poo. There are gift-figurines of little people pooing, and cakes baked just for you by Uncle Poo, and frustrated fathers threatening to poo on someone if they don’t find a parking space soon.
Back home at BFB, however, the Interwebs settle down for a long winter’s nap. Your blogger-elves scatter hither and yon. Starved for your soccer fix, you are reduced to ghosts of Clásicos past on GolTV in Auntie Edith’s basement. But what’s that screech? Auntie beckons you to unwrap tacky sweaters and ceramic ornaments with your second cousins in the den! But it could worse. You could be a soccer star. Then you’d be writing thank-you cards for crappe like this:
1. Dude, where’s my Corolla? Leonel Messi dazzles in the Mundialito de Clubes, leaving even jaded Barça fans slack-jawed and reducing Neymar (nee-mahr!) to sniffles. In gratitude, his hosts award him the “Bestest Player Ever For Real This Time” prize, a giant uncut key. Whatever can it unlock? Yokohama City? The Ten Shrines of Tokyo? No … a car! Oh, that’s wonderful! Messi loves cars! What will it be? An MR-2? A Lexus? No, it’s a … Prius. Wow! Just the place for his bumper sticker: “My other car is a Ferrari Spyder”. And his other bumper sticker: “Driven by my white-hot bikini-babe girlfriend”. Arigatou!
2. I know just the place for it! Iker Casillas. World-championship captain. Captain of the prestigious Royal Whites of Madrid. Keeper of the Golden Glove. Canonized by Old Castile, kissed by la Carbonero. What becomes a Legend most? How about the restos of another Legend? On the team’s return from Seville, star striker Cristiano Ronaldo gifted his goalie the game ball, replete with autographs from Iker’s underlings. “I don’t have any more room in my flat for game balls anyway,” Cristiano shrugged humbly. “I mean, what’s it to me? But to Iker! After all, it’s the thought that counts.”
3. Get away from it all. Sometimes it’s too much. The fans. The press. The players. The goals against. The more goals against. A míster just needs a break. “Señores Gregorio Manzano, Juan Carlos Garrido,” the lovely Iberia attendant announces. “Please come to the podium for your seat assignment.” It’s a bummer, but I’d rather ride coach with J. C. and Greg-O than take an extended vacation with José María del Nido in the Seville slammer. Chema, we were kidding about the Godfather fedora. It’s a prop, not a whole act.
Pass the eggnog, Blitz, and get me that carton of Marlboro’s out of my stocking, wouldja?