|Just showing where the Christmas tree is located in relation to the couch. If you click on the picture to enlarge it you should be able to see how it is still leaning to one side.|
Thursday, December 5, 2013
When Fake Christmas Trees Attack
(Author's note: The following events are all true.)
This statement may surprise some but there was a time I actually looked forward to Christmas. When my kids were younger and believed the whole Santa Claus scam I loved the look of expectation in their eyes right before they eagerly went to bed knowing the next morning they would find a neat array of loot next the tree. Some might call it a form of quasi-child abuse but the one tradition I kept from my own surreal childhood was the habit of giving my kids dire warnings of how Santa had this special piece of equipment that could detect whether or not children were actually asleep in a house he was about to visit.
I told them this device could detect a child even slightly awake which would force Santa to abort and proceed directly to the next house on his schedule. Nothing terrifies your average, well-off middle class American child than the idea that Santa might skip his or her house over some transgression. On the other hand nothing drives your average, well-off middle class parents insane like a whiny kid worried over what Santa might, or might not bring. So, if anyone has ever wondered why Santa rarely skips a kid's house no matter how much of a spoiled rotten monster that child might be there is your answer.
I cannot speak for any other family but Christmas Eve night was the time you could hear a pin drop once the younger Darth Spoilboy and Darth Wiggles were officially put to bed. There was none of the usual desperate requests for water, emergency bathroom visits, or the whines of, “but I can't sleep.” I would go as far as to say a metaphorical bomb could have gone off outside both my kid's bedroom doors on Christmas Eve and they would not dare to step outside.
It was during these blissfully quiet and absolutely peaceful moments that the colorful lights from the Christmas tree, the warmth emanating from the fireplace, and the lingering effects from a couple of bottle of wine that would arouse the friskier nature of my lovely spouse. Yes, screw the roundabout attempt at some half-assed literary description, it was during these times daddy got his Christmas present on the living room floor between the fireplace and the tree. Such were the times when I actually looked forward to dragging my family's fake Christmas tree down from the attic and assembling the overly complicated but beautiful simulated tree.
Now times are quite different, both my young Sith Lords know the real deal about Santa. They each still have a Christmas wish list but instead of having the fat old man dressed in red act as an intermediary they just come straight to my wife and me to plead and whine about why they deserve such goodies. Whereas my wife and I once wrestled naked next the roaring fireplace on Christmas Eve we now just go to bed early out of simple exhaustion while our children stay up to watch television or play video games. The one unchanging constant is that last Sunday it was once again time to assemble the old Christmas tree, but even that has become problematic.
The first problem with the family fake Christmas tree started a few years ago when the color coded bands on the end of the various branches began to fall off. These bands corresponded with a dot of the same color on the metal pole that acted as the trunk of the tree. Throw in wear and tear on the branches from years of assembly, disassembly, and rough storage up in the attic where the huge zippered bag it is stored in is often moved around whenever my wife feels the urge to rearrange the bands have come loose along with the dots on the trunk being rubbed off. As the years have progressed this has made assembly more complicated, especially when the branches themselves have become bent and deformed.
Still though, being a persistent trooper I would eventually get it assembled even though if you looked closely it was easy to see a few of the branches were in the wrong locations on the trunk. My usual response to any kind of questioning look from my wife was that the final result was close enough for government work. My wife would not so graciously allow the misshapen tree to pass because by that time I had already cussed up a storm over the deformed branches and the multitude of plastic evergreen needles that now covered a good portion of the living room carpet.
This year though I somehow assembled the damn tree in record time with all the branches in the right location. The wife and daughter then decorated the tree and with that was done I laid down on the couch early Sunday afternoon for a nap.
From my position on the couch the top of my head was only a few inches away from the tree. Not long after I began my nap I swear I started to hear the ornaments on the tree jiggling ever so slightly. My usual curiosity should have forced me to investigate but instead I was already sufficiently warm and fuzzy with approaching nap time that I ignored the subtle disturbance.
Not long after I slipped away into an afternoon dreamland one of the three metal legs of the tree stand gave way with the tree falling over and for all intents and purposes viciously attacking yours truly as I slept. Somehow both my wife and daughter saw the incident because as I pushed my metal and plastic assailant off me I found them laughing their asses off.
It took about two hours to get the metal stand bent back into something approaching the proper shape and the tree back up. It is far from perfect and unfortunately as much as I abhor the idea of joining the insane after Christmas shopping hordes my wife has declared we will need to go buy a new tree and I am forced to agree. Yes, I fear another fake Christmas tree attack more than rabid American consumers desperate to go deeper in debt buying even more crap they do not need. That, for me, is quite the profound and unsettling statement.