postcard-from-l-a: The holidays make idiots of us all. I’m so glad they’re over.

Little Bo Peep uses her restorative back massager. Like a shepherd's staff, it locates the soul.

Little Bo Peep uses her restorative back massager. Like a shepherd’s staff, it locates the soul.

(Chris Erskine / Los Angeles Times)

Little Bo Peep has lost her sheep, but she’s replaced them with a popular new back-rub device, which she hooks over her shoulder like a shepherd’s staff.

In a lingering Christmas miracle, our older daughter simply yanks down on the big plastic pretzel, and it locates her soul.

Turns out the human soul, for years thought to reside in a pocket near the heart or gland at the base of the bladder, resides on the inside cusp of your shoulder blades.

I’ve tried this massage device myself, and I’m here to attest that if you position it just right, it will indeed prod your soul.


Like sunlight on a soggy leaf, this device is simple and restorative. For a moment, you will forget that you’ve been locked inside with lunatics for two weeks, breathing stale furnace air.

“I don’t feel stressed out at all now,” Little Bo Peep coos while using her beloved hook.

Christmas accomplished. Let’s move on.

What a great time to be alive. I’ll be the first to admit that 2016 has been a bit of a disappointment so far, but way better than the waning days of 2015.

Two days before Christmas, the minivan died in the Trader Joe’s parking lot, stranding the younger daughter while she was running errands for her mother.

“You have no idea what that was like,” she grumbled.

I can’t even imagine.

Fortunately, our younger daughter was wearing yoga pants. Word got around, and two dozen mechanics raced to her aid. By the next day, the ignition was fixed. “Could’ve been worse,” Dave, the shop manager, said of the $300 bill.


Yeah, she could’ve been wearing sweats.

The younger daughter is at that age — roughly 16-60 — when women receive superior service just for wearing yoga pants. I call it the “yoga pants discount.”

When she went to order the Christmas tamales, for instance, she said that the young clerk seemed especially attentive. Later, on Christmas Eve, we sent her back to pick up the tamales since — this is an L.A. tradition — tamale orders are always screwed up.

How was Christmas? How is it ever? Bloated. Flippy. Fiscally devastating.


Sure enough, when they didn’t have any record of our order, the young male clerk came to her rescue.

Far as I can tell, this is the only advantage to having daughters. But it’s a worthy one, and certainly better than no advantage at all.

How was Christmas? How is it ever? Bloated. Flippy. Fiscally devastating.

“YOU’RE ALL IDIOTS!” one family member stood up and shouted at one point.


You just realized?

“Did you see my Christmas pimple?” another asked quietly.

No. But thanks.

My favorite holiday story: One daughter is on the phone with her boyfriend back in Chicago when she hears commotion in the background.


Turns out, complete strangers had walked into the boyfriend’s house, shouted “Merry Christmas!!!” then realized they had wandered into the wrong place. They apologized and scurried out, though it being the Midwest, the strangers might’ve been invited to stay for dessert.

By tradition, the holidays make idiots of us all. I’m so glad they’re over.

I think Posh might be dead. She conked out on the couch at 11 a.m. Christmas Day, and no one has the nerve to roust her, since she always wakes up punching.

To be sure, it was a challenging season. The kids were all home — again — and the dog always needed to go out, after drinking all the Christmas tree water. The 300-pound beagle has reached the age where he needs a personal butler, or maybe a full-time urinary specialist.


I’m willing to spring for that because there is no love like the love we feel for our ditzy 300-pound beagle, as lovable a creature as God ever flubbed.

Then there were the kids — four in all, maybe five or six. (Honestly, I’ve lost count.)

They were sensational.

Over the decades, we have had many exhausting holidays — mosh pits of rum, wrapping paper, toy boxes, stray socks, cookie crumbs, plumbing fiascoes, more rum, and stubs from those cheap cigars that Posh prefers. But as the kids slip into young adulthood, I find Christmases getting even better.


As they get older, they take their time unwrapping gifts, and are ever gracious and appreciative. The boys clear the table and do the dishes. They pull a blanket over their tired mother during her annual post-Christmas coma. They let the dog out.

I mean, who are these people?

And where do I find more of them — maddening yet wonderful. The kind who help you find your soul.



Celebrating the new Christmas classics of tuba concerts and high-production-value cards

I believe the spirit of Christmas lives in long lines, traffic, razor wire ... and family

At 13, he’s an expert on the infield fly rule but still trying to figure out seventh-grade girls