Every month, we regale our loyal readers with two anecdotes, each written in under an hour and limited to 300 words. This month, wheeeeeeee gets into the yuletide spirit with holiday tales of yore:
This year my brother’s wife invited me to a tree lighting festival in their Long Island town. Apparently, this event has been going on for ages, but I never noticed, even though I grew up about 15 minutes away. That’s not surprising, since my holiday merriment rarely extends beyond repositioning my neighbor’s wicker reindeer to look like they’re giving each other rim jobs.
Nevertheless, this is one tradition that the town gets all dewy over. They close off the streets and bring in hose drawn carriages for romantic rides through town that last roughly 85 seconds. Restaurants open up street tables to sell cold, inferior versions of the same food that can be had inside. The tree stands right in the middle of the town square, and everyone jams up against a hastily built stage for the occasion. For some reason, a priest is there giving a benediction for the tree while a little girl softly sings about an octave or two out of her range. The horse-drawn carriages envelop the scene in a ring of stank.
Anyway, one of the horses must have had the double Beeforino, because it left a huge crap resembling a pile of boiled potatoes right by the edge of the stage in an area that wasn’t particularly well lit. After my brother and I watched several people step full stride into the steaming pile, we decided to take out the camera his wife had given him specifically to document their newborn son’s first tree lighting, and use it instead to shoot almost 10 uninterrupted minutes of people stepping in shit and cursing while a priest blessed a tree and a little girl sang Silent Night ever so softly the distance.
When I was 9 years old, I went-a-caroling around my house in rural Pennsylvania. Rounding up the uncorrupted youth and performing for our neighbors was the brainchild of my best friend’s mother, a jovial woman whose own vision of Christmas was more like what Norman Rockwell envisioned when masturbating with his eyes closed inside the back room of a quaint post office over a pile of dead letters to Santa. The night was a cold, the sky dark, and we were all pretty embarrassed by the whole thing. I will admit that people did respond well to our murmured renditions of the classics. Older couples beamed from door frames, arm-in-arm. Young families scrambled for the camera. Typically singing excerpts from at least three carols, our vocal chops even began to improve a little once we got into the swing of things.
After 40 minutes of easy accolades it was time to push the limits and really put our half-frozen hairless nuts on the line. In front of us loomed the “crazy guy house,” long-embedded in childhood lore as the house that no one dare approach though in reality probably bore more of a resemblance to the opening sequence of Sanford and Son. Rusted farm equipment littered the yard. Chickens roamed freely on the property. A “Forget the Dog, Beware of Owner” sign adorned the crumbling woodshed. Against our judgment, Ron’s mom forged ahead and confidently knocked 4 times. As the door opened, a stench like Pigpen’s bedpan hit us square in the chops. A sweat-stained Polish outcast filled the doorway, tottering from side to side. For a moment, I saw his eyes soften as we opened our mouths to sing. Then the door slammed in our face, pushing one final gust of fouled air through our teeth as the sound of heatless footsteps receded inside. Merry Christmas, motherfucker. Merry Christmas.