But It Is Not This Day

A day may come when the courage of LDBCers fails, when we forsake our struggle, and allow The Boy to roam unfettered, spraying the landscape far and wide with Bieber-esque treacle. But it is not this day. This day—well, the 26 days of the 2014 LDBC—we fight. Fought.

It’s done!

You see, fellow LDBCers, while some of you are doing happy dances ’til your shoes turn red and others of us are rubbing vitamin E on our scars in the hopes that they’ll soon fade, we’re all victorious when the shadow of The Boy has faded. I mean, don’t get me wrong. This isn’t one of those mushy-spined things where everyone gets a trophy. Many of us have fallen, while only some (about a quarter, on average) get to drink from the cup. We salute the winners. The winners mourn the losers. And we all make fun of each other without mercy because we all have that edge.

What the hell am I talking about? I don’t know. I’m all hopped up on the itchiness of a fresh haircut and the clippings that have worked their way down my shirt plus the caffeine buzz from my second cup of Numi Breakfast Blend.

I guess what I’m trying to say, really, is Happy Holidays to all! Relax! Play some LDB all you want! He’s like the Bumble after he’s been relieved of his choppers. (Mrs. LDBC and I recommend this and this.)

And as a reminder, if you haven’t posted or sent in your LDBC-elfie of victory, please post to the Facebook wall or email them to the address you’ll see by passing the humanity test on our contact page. (We do want some happy ones in the mix, after all, but check out the new, wondrous shots o’ tragedy—with a few wins sprinkled in—in the gallery below).

As yet another reminder, if you haven’t filled out the official reporting form, please report in so that your loss or victory is included in the official stats and your name goes up on the yearly Wall. (Last year, a little more than 700 reported in; I’m betting we can beat that number handily this year since we added more than 800 of you.)

Once I’ve posted a few rounds of nagging and have gotten everything I think I’m going to get, I’ll post the year-end wrap-up and put this thing to bed for another season. (The tradition has been that it posts about a week or so into the New Year, and knowing my sloth-like ways, that’ll be a tradition I honor.)

But again, all: Happy Holidays. We laugh. We cry. We mock. But you guys really do make the season a hell of a lot more special for us.

For Susan!

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Day 24: Does Anybody Remember Laughter?

Christine Moers takes the cake

Christine Moers takes the cake

Eleven days without an update, LDBCers, and so much has happened, both joyous and heartbreaking. (Heartbreaking, mostly—’tis the season and all.)

An interview on Time‘s website (seriously…an actual interview). Another appearance with the good folks of Good Day Sacramento, where the dim lighting of our first-floor apartment on a cloudy day and the Mac camera’s attempt to make up for it once again leaves me glowing like Obi-Wan when he comes back from the dead.

But enough about me. For now. The story here is the continuing tragedy and poetry of you lot, as the English say (and I love that expression). Last year, when the first downfall snapshots began appearing and I made up the term LDBC-elfie (awkward, but I’m sticking with it), only a few trickled in here and there. Now it’s a thing. And it’s beautiful. From the above shot of Christine Moers and her nod to religious iconography in the baking-supplies aisle (her 11-year-old suggested they might as well make a cake since she died in front of them) to Joey X’s one-finger salute, our faithful community has responded with such enthusiasm that I’m not sure I can even put them all in one gallery lest the page take a few weeks to load. (We’ll see. It’s a nice problem to have.)

But before we dive into all the grief and misery, let us first bask in the holiday miracle that is Christine Jolley Hill’s baby boy, who, in true Harry Potter fashion, survived the dastardly Boy attack that slew his parents in their automobile while he napped in the back seat. A little hero, that kid. So charge your shields up with the cuteness of wee and scrappy slumber before the wave of sadness that’s about to wash over you.

Sleepy survivor: Christine Jolley Hill's lucky little guy

Sleepy survivor: Christine Jolley Hill’s lucky little guy

And just in case you’re not sufficiently fortified, there’s also the following (albeit edited for brevity) exchange between LDBCers Mike Barish and the prophetic Joe Hobaica, who’s earned himself a double-mention in this post, both by his real name and his Echo moniker:

MB: Joe Hobaica says I’ve jinxed myself, but this is the deepest into the season I’ve ever made it (I’ve obviously never won). Having a newborn has kept me out of stores and limited my media consumption in general. Unless his mobile somehow learns LDB, I’m feeling confident!

JH: Way to go, Icarus! You’re invincible!

MB: And I’m out. Joe was right. I got cocky. WHO THE HELL BLASTS LDB ON THEIR CAR RADIO WITH THE WINDOWS DOWN?! I’m minding my own business on December fuckin’ 21, walking my dogs half-a-block from my house and hear the death rattle of my LDBC 2014 season from about a mile away. Bah humbug!

Submitted the form. Time to drink.

So there you have it. Careful with that cockiness, friends.

And with that, we watch the skies start to dim here on Day 24, secure in the knowledge that while this is the shortest and cruelest day of the year, tomorrow we’re over the hump and slowly heading for more daylight. Just two more days, those of you who are still hanging in there. (Remember that the cutoff is 12 am the morning of Christmas Eve day, your local time.)

Here’s your big ol’ honking helping of the latest LDBC-elfies, and we mourn every one of them.

For Susan!

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Day 13: Puh-Rum-Pum-Pum-Puppy!

Little Drummer Boy Doggie

Little Drummer Boy Doggie

Sometimes these things write themselves. His name’s Little Drummer Boy, so he’s balancing out the evil-incarnate nature of The Boy with some good old-fashioned cuteness. Even better, if you’re in the Chicago area, you can adopt him.

Faithful LDBCer Sammi Esterman, who brought this to my attention and who is unsurpassed in her love of all-things-puppy, informs me that should doggie LDB be lucky enough to be adopted, that linked-to page will disappear. However, you’re free to click on the image and get a gigantic version as much as you like.

And should you be so inclined, you can always make a donation to PAWS Chicago in the little fella’s name.

For Susan!

Day 10: Ac-Cent-Tchu-Ate the Positive

James Barnett‘s take on Children of the Corn

The cavalcade of tragic LDBC-elfies. The downfall of your loquacious leaders. It weighs on you.

Thus, it’s time to take a break from the constant carnage and focus on some sunnier topics, LDBCers. Like our final offering from admirably artistic James Barnett, whose Fright Club series of LDBC spins on famous horror-movie posters has been such a bright spot in a dark season. Above, he brings us his version of Children of the Corn.

First up, a tale of quick thinking, altruism, and a spirit of surfing to rival that of Bodhi himself as LDBCer Tracy Scarlato shares her tale of tasty waves and survival skills:

Fellow LDBC’ers, an amazing stroke of luck and good fortune came my way today. While looking for a sweatshirt in a surf shop just now, a surfer dude working the cash register nearly jumped out of his seat to complement me on my high top vans, and offered to pay me cold hard cash for them because they were so “rad.” (I declined.) I struck up a conversation with my new friend Josh, and since he was playing holiday music in the shop, I told him about LDBC. He looked at his computer and said, “Holy shit, it’s the next song on the playlist, we have literally 22 seconds to abort!” He immediately deleted the song for me so I could stay in the game (and invited me and Dave to a party down the street even though Dave isn’t here*). So here’s to all the Josh’s out there who are our guardian angels during this trying time. To Josh!

[*Editor’s note: Dave is Tracy’s husband. And that’s not a Cheech and Chong reference; Dave really wasn’t there.]

Also, while I’ve studiously avoided any hint of trying to monetize the LDBC over the years—my dream is to make it big enough that I can work in some sort of charitable component one day—I’m not averse to dropping in the occasional plug for LDBCers and their undertakings, particularly those who contribute their talents for free, help us out in some other way, or happen to strike me as just-plain good people. (I’ll include myself in that group, even though I’m not notably good because, hey—why not?) So without further ado:

  • I wrote a contemporary fantasy, The Commons: Book 1: The Journeyman (the cover’s up there in the right rail). It’s ebook-only for now, but a print edition is due in the next week or two. It’s been described as a magical-realism/metaphysical-fiction mix of Neil Gaiman, Stephen King, and Ray Bradbury, with a bit of Vonnegut and William Gibson thrown in. More here.
  • The aforementioned Mr. Barnett is your man in Phoenix, Tempe, or Scottsdale for wedding photos and portraits.
  • Your Name Gear is, as the name suggests, your place for personalized apparel. Hats, shirts, sweatshirts, and more—and they make perfect gifts!
  • For other nifty gifts this season, check out some of the designs on offer from LDBCer Claire E. Skinner’s Rocklawn Arts, including some truly neat phone cases, wrapping paper, mugs, and address labels.

That’s about all the can-do vibes I’ve got in me for this gray Sunday, people. But you’re always welcome to contribute more for consideration. I can’t and won’t include anything and everything, but if you’d like to have your business/hobby links or your kids’ holiday art looked at for potential future posts, make your way to the official LDBC contact page. (Please don’t post promo links on the Facebook page or in the comments here. Both places have been wondrously free of such stuff thus far, and I don’t want to have to get all censor-y and delete anything.)

That said, don’t you fret none about all this smile-slinging. The tragic LDBC-elfies continue to roll in, so we’ll return to the grim tidings soon enough.

For Susan!

Day 9: Some Gave All

Julie Robichaux’s doomed wee one

We fired our guns, and the British kept a comin’
There wasn’t nigh as many as there was a while ago

Like Johnny Horton’s British, dear LDBCers, there aren’t as many of our compadres as there were a little over a week ago. It’s getting right nasty out there. (I myself dodged two bullets yesterday—once when a hunt for some half-and-half led me into shooting distance of a combo playing holiday music at work and then in our neighborhood Jewel. (I took extraordinary measures and donned earbuds in a long express-checkout line. Whatever gets you through the night, it’s all right.)

Another passel of LDBC-elfies to share, alas, with 160-plus reported passings on the official reporting form. A few highlights from those turning in snapshots:

Kate Curran Hagel:

Why do my kids have to love polka so much?!

Deanne Stone-Juilfs:

Having a nice family dinner and my daughter thought she should play Christmas music on the iPad.

Julie Robichaux:

My son and I were just mown down at his dental appointment. Had I only known what lay ahead, I’d have let his teeth rot right out of his head instead of leading him into this bloodbath.

And then there’s Kristin Fletcher’s creation of a new tradition: LDBC Shaming, in which one posts punishment pix of the person responsible for their downfall. (It’s not petty or vindictive. It’s justice!)

Let’s be careful out there.

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Day 5: Is It Just Me, or Is It Getting Bloody In Here?

Laura Scandura Rea and Mr. Laura Scandura Rea

The good news, friends, is that we’re coming up on nearly 2,300 brave souls on the Facebook page. The other good news is that LDBCers Laura Scandura Rea and Anne Sussman have both survived frighteningly close retail calls.

Here’s Laura (also pictured above):

An emergency run to IKEA for drapery rods (don’t ask—he’s the one needing the hardware). We heard the now dreaded Christmas playlist as we hit the escalator! “Oh shit! We’re going to have to run the gauntlet! No meatballs at the finish line! Mooooooove!” And we did…. With each new track, a moment of relief as we knew we had 3-4 minutes more of safety. Would our luck hold? He snagged his hardware (not a euphemism) and we sprinted through the furniture self-help warehouse to the registers just as a medley began on the playlist…. “Jingle Bells,” “Winter Wonderland”….. And we were out! We survived another day… Stay strong and shop fast, friends!

And here’s Anne:

I danced with the devil tonight.

After reading of our comrade Susan [that would be official First Fallen Susan Campbell Beachy—Ed.], who was taken from us far too soon at a Michaels with no apostrophe, I was the poster girl for hubris as I strolled into a Harmon Face Values—which shares a foyer with the Michaels on 6th Ave., and very likely a demon sound system. “Do You Hear What I Hear?” was the first hint. Then “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer.” Holy hell. I just needed some generic brand apricot scrub. But where was it? “Holly Jolly Christmas” was up next. I felt weak. My palms were sweaty. Jesus Christ, is this what’s going to take me out? Some cut-rate blemish control?

And then, sweet Jesus, I found it. I grabbed two. Hurry, hurry, hurry, I muttered as I waited in what seemed like an interminable line. “White [Fucking] Christmas.” I had to get out. Finally, it was my turn at the register. I thrust the Bed Bath & Beyond gift card at the cashier and nervously tapped my fingers. Hurry.

And then I was out. I had made it. I was lucky. But how long will my luck last? There was a time, before the war, that I would have described Susan as lucky.
Stay alert, soldiers.

Of course, I led with the good news because I’m a hopelessly sunny fellow, as you’ve surely realized by now. But the bad news is that nearly 90 of us are down. (At least, nearly 90 have been dutiful despite their tragedy and reported in via the official form.)

And many have joined Sarah Jenkins, the first to send in an LDBC-elfie this year, in documenting their downfalls. Now, I sincerely hope there are no more photos to be posted because I sincerely hope the rest of us all make it. But I know that cannot happen so long as The Boy hunts. So if and when you take a fall, feel free to share it on the Facebook wall or email it via our contact page.

For Susan! (Remember the recently invented rule: each year, the First Fallen is honored by having his or her name inserted into our war cry. Until we get tired of it or forget that’s what we’re supposed to do, that is. Those things happen a lot.)

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