An Editor Contemplates Holiday Overindulgences

by Chris Cameron

Published at 2016-01-06

The holiday season is like a mercifully distant relative who visits only once a year; I am always glad to see her arrive and always gladder to see her go. Now she is indeed gone, leaving behind bloated waistlines, glassy eyes, and pounding heads. And about time, I say. Good riddance to archaic holiday language until next year. How do you troll a Yuletide carol anyway? Precisely what body part is involved in wassailing? What is a sugar plum, and why do I feel like I have consumed a wagonload of them?

Never Mix – Drinks or Metaphors

It was a holiday steeped in overindulgence. We drank life to the lees, enjoyed greatly, and are now suffering even more greatly. Some of us mixed our drinks the way sports writers mix metaphors, with equally unpleasant, stomach-churning results. But after the holidays end, even the hair of the dog is not enough to get some cats back into the bag.


I love being an editor, although some days are better than others. Today is one of the others. The business report in front of me reads like a passage from Finnegan’s Wake. Each time I turn the page it sounds as if a hot wax strip is being removed from somewhere on my body.


I know it’s time to get back to work, even though my head feels like it is under construction – the road kind where there is a man operating a jackhammer that never seems to wear ear protection. Egad, now I am misplacing my own modifiers.


My head is splitting like an infinitive. Each one of my eyelashes feels like a misused apostrophe. I scan the page for typos, but the text swims at me, the words fuzzy like my Uncle Carl’s Christmas sweater – the one with the drunken reindeer sliding down a candy cane. Or something.

Resolved: No More Unresolved Plotlines

The days following New Year’s Eve are a time of ruefulness and resolutions to do better. Of setting unreasonable expectations and dreaming impossible dreams. Of regaining paradise lost. Of overusing clichés. Within a month, I plan to be slim, muscular, and brilliant. I have to be, for there is nowhere to go but up.


And that’s it, isn’t it? The best thing about having a New Year’s hangover is that you know that every single day in the coming year is going to be better than this one. Now that’s something to look forward to! New challenges and adventures lie ahead: new books to read and new authors requiring my attention and expertise; subject-verb agreements to mediate; participles to undangle and commas to unsplice; texts lacking context and citations needing re-citation.


It is going to be a great 2016. I am feeling better already.