I would like to hear the story of how you slept under the christmas tree
so i immigrated to the US at age 9, right, and one of the first things my family did was join the local Chinese church. as far as the whole “figuring out how to do things so we no longer have to live in the back shed of Uncle Joe’s* Magic Emporium” thing goes, it’s a pretty sound strategy! now we had people to teach my dad how to drive and give us old furniture and say “hey, Seattle is pretty rainy maybe you should rent an apartment-like space before either a) the shed roof caves in b) your daughter with the famously delicate constitution falls dramatically ill from a strain of black mold or possibly herpes”
*is not my uncle, that’s what his store was called. he sold magic gadgets and my dad knew him because???? possibly in a past life they ran a meth empire in Albuquerque, who knows
ANYWAY. thanks to the church i did not fall dramatically ill from black mold or possibly herpes, but there was an unforeseen factor in joining a Christian church, which was that they? were pretty hardcore? about Jesus?**
**in a nice “we build houses for the homeless” way, not in…the other way
given that we’d just immigrated and that China’s religious policy is
worshiping Mao’s preserved corpse ehhhhh…let’s call it “freedom of atheism,” my family was decidedly not hardcore about Jesus. my parents mostly took the bemused “i guess Jesus is okay since he indirectly led to us living in a place suited for human habitation” route, but i
i was the first kid in my class to get her red scarf, okay, and when we sang the national anthem and saluted the flag every morning i fucking meant what i was singing. we almost didn’t come to America; my dad had more lucrative job offers in Germany and Belgium, but i put my foot down because everyone knows Europe is full of gross imperialists Dad, GOSH, and the Americans helped us fight off the Japanese.
so seeing all these fellow Chinese believing in THE CAPITALIST GOD was basically the worst thing to ever happen to my delicate psyche. my parents’ tacit approval was even worse: DID PATRIOTISM AND COMMUNISM MEAN NOTHING TO THEM? DIDN’T THEY KNOW THAT DOING NOTHING AGAINST OPPRESSION MADE THEM OPPRESSORS THEMSELVES??
clearly something needed to be done.
so because the church was pretty hardcore about Jesus, it was understandably also hardcore about Christmas. big party, massive intricately decorated REAL TREE, sleepover for the kids with presents in the morning—you name it. everyone was going to be there.
WHAT A GREAT OPPORTUNITY TO PROVE TO EVERYONE HOW WRONG THEY ARE ABOUT JESUS.
- sleep UNDER the giant real Christmas tree: y’know, the one with real pointy needles reaching all the way down to the base? that sheds? with lots of pokey tinsel?
- catch Jesus in the act of depositing presents***: look. i’d seen like, ALL of Scooby Doo by this point. i knew Jesus was probably a real person, just not the Son of God.
- subdue Jesus so he’s still around when everyone else wakes up: CLEARLY VERY FEASIBLE, given that Jesus was a heavyset white dude who used superhuman agility and strength to deliver presents around the world overnight and possibly had reindeer minions and i weighed 70 pounds at most while sopping wet.
- (who is Santa Claus?? who cares)
- EVERYONE MAGICALLY BECOMES AN ATHEIST AGAIN, AMERICA BECOMES A COMMUNIST STATE
***even if i didn’t believe in him, why was i slavishly devoted stopping a highly altruistic man who gave? people? presents? did i hate joy????
sure enough, at around 3 in the morning i heard soft boots approaching the tree. i reached out and snatched one of the Ankles of Jesus
—whereupon Youth Pastor Liao screamed “OH MY LORD” and kicked me in the face.
and THAT, dear friends, is how i spent my first Christmas in America with a concussion.