Celebrating Christmas (sort of)

Ten minutes before I sat down to write this column—in mid-October—I walked into the laundry room, found my wife and proclaimed: “It has finally happened. You have my permission to divorce me.”

“Why?” she said, not looking up, as if I present these dilemmas to her all the time and this one had better be good to disrupt a laundry rhythm sparked by my quest to stain every shirt I own with every lunch I eat, even when I do not have lunch. 

“Why?”

“I have finally lost my mind. I was looking for my cell phone and …”

“And it was in the refrigerator,” she said. “Please tell me you didn’t leave your phone in the refrigerator.”

“Next to the cheese,” I answered, ashamed and strangely impressed. I mean, this was a whole new level of “men of a certain age.” 

We had just returned from the Ocala Downtown Market with our horse-sized Golden Doodle Rigby Floyd. There, Rigby muscled his way to the vendors with dog treats, one of which also sells fresh smoked Gouda, made with, I’m guessing here, dairy, curds and meth. It is rob-a-bank good.

No matter.

On this trip, we made a few stops on the way. The cheese was starting to get a little warm, so I rushed to the refrigerator once home.

Done. Now it was time to sit down and write a Christmas column for this issue. I was wearing cargo shorts and sitting near a dancing Halloween skeleton, so getting into the Christmas spirit was tough.

A Christmas column. Yes. Maybe I can write about the Great Christmas Fish Massacre of 1978, when my soon-to-be-stepfather—in a worthy attempt to buy my love—bought me a fish tank filled with lovely angel fish and one murderous carnivore whose rampage left ample carnage on Christmas morning.

There were screams, tears and fish flushing. And there was anger after my soon-to-be-stepfather noted that while, yes, the flushed fish was a cannibal, he was the most expensive.

For some reason, that is my default Christmas story. I am a deliriously happy dad/husband whose Christmases are/were filled with magic, first bikes, girl giggles and cats eating/vomiting wrapping paper. Yet ask me to cough up an unforgettable Christmas story and I go to fish slaughter. 

I’m not sure why. But then I am not sure why I put a cell phone in the refrigerator and then asked my wife where it was, as if she knew but was not telling me because of a sinister master plan.

There are no epiphanies in these words this month. This is just a funny story about silly things people “of a certain age” do. Plus, I snuck an awful Christmas story in there, prompting my holiday-thirsty editors to note “at least he snuck an awful Christmas story in there.”

So, happy holidays dear readers! May this season overflow with stories more charming than fish guts and cold cell phones.

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