Monday, December 15, 1997

Just Like Grandma's Cookies

How does it feel to be on your own? With no direction home? Like a complete unknown? Like a rolling stone without a phone?

Hi, my name is Puff Davey and you may remember me from such films as Jingle All The Way. If I do say so myself, I was quite effective in that parade scene as a member of the crowd. I'm here to tell you about the movie Al recently loaned to me called The President's Analyst (highly recommended) which painted a picture of a futuristic society where the true evil empire is revealed to be the Phone Company. Last week I got a little dose of that. My phone line was quite staticky for quite some time. I put up with it for a long time because it's not like I spend a whole lot of time talking on the phone. Actually the problem often came in handy in disconnecting myself from phone solicitors. The situation however got progressively worse to the point where all I could hear was a mixture of broken words and static, a crackling white noise abyss, making every call sound like it was coming from downtown Brazil.

I was a bit worried that at some point I would become involved in some deeply philosophical discussion and just as the other caller was about to relay important information, THE ANSWER I've been seeking, the noise would become too much and drown out all other sound. "So the way to find happiness in life is to @#$%^&*&^^%$!!!

I finally gave in and called the phone company. Their system is automated so you never have to talk with anyone, just punch in a bunch of numbers as they give you options as to what your problems might be (as if I didn't already have enough options for that). They sent out a repair person who most definitely and definitively corrected the noise problem. When I got home Tuesday I picked up the phone and it was completely dead. I guess they showed me: "Don't like your phone service? Well how do you like no service at all?" I must admit, however, when I called back the next morning I did talk to a very polite and professional service person and when I got home Thursday night, the problem had been resolved although it's back to the crackling line. In the communication business, noise is much better than silence so you can go ahead and tell her she can still call me if she's got the time.

Actually being cutoff from the rest of society gave me more time to focus on this week's project: establishing some holiday traditions in my house. This will be the second Christmas in the house and I figure the least I can do is to make this time of year somewhat fun by creating some annual rituals. Christmas is after all a time laden with sentimental traditions. For me the holidays have come to be more of a chore than enjoyable with the exception of the one thing I find myself looking forward to seeing. For the past few years I have greatly enjoyed the efforts of some anonymous family whose house I drive by on the way to my parents. This house is most admirably and not at all garishly decorated, with carefully placed lights and ornaments impressively highlighting the yard, the centerpiece being an illuminated Santa Claus standing on top of a basketball hoop. I've come to look forward with great anticipation to driving by this house and seeing this lit up Santa standing so authoritatively. I know it's Christmas time when I see this comforting sight. It always makes me smile.

I'm a bit creatively tapped these days and I don't think I can possibly come up with anything as festive as the slam dunkin' Santa, so my best idea is taping some chicken bones atop Mr. Max's head giving him the look of a rather ferocious little reindeer. Max is nothing if not the holiday spirit incarnate. Also I figure that if I dip all my clothes in Pine-Sol, I can carry the holiday smell with me wherever I go. Diet is important during the holidays and just because my cholesterol level registers a tad high and I had to give up those sixteen egg omelets for breakfast, there's no reason I can't enjoy a healthy dose of eggless eggnog. After all there is plenty of nog to go around. How about decorations? My tree might be a tad small and very plastic but that snowman in my living room made entirely out of mashed potatoes turned out amazingly lifelike. And it's surprising how festive it can feel to light a room with a flashing solitary green light bulb. Makes everything look a little like spinach. I may be no genius but that red and green dye I added to Max's litter box creates holiday wonders! I also decided instead of sending everyone a generic card, and since I have regained use of my phone again, I would call everyone up and sing my favorite carols at the top of my lungs.

Gosh I don't know how many of these traditions will be carried on from year to year, but Christmas '97 already is shaping up to be an extry special one!

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