Monday, January 08, 2007

How would Jesus decorate?

My father was a healer.

“What’s wrong with you today?”

“I’m feeling a little depressed.”

“Well… pull your head out of your ass.”

That response from my father is what we medically call “a given” and it has no discernable side effects.

We all have many “givens” in our lives. Some “givens” are good “givens”. Like it’s a “given” that you love your children until they learn how to drive and develop their own taste in music.

Then there are bad “givens”.

Three of my bad “givens” are also the three things in my life that I have to do that I can actually say I hate with a passion.

It’s a “given that I need to diet…

It’s a “given” that I need to exercise…

It is a “given”, that at some point, while putting up or taking down the Christmas decorations my wife is going to utter the following phrase:

“I’m missing a box.”


I would rather watch the movie “Ice Castles” thirty times in a row than put up or take down those stupid Christmas Decorations.

Now in truth I don’t actually decorate anything. My job is to get down the boxes and to assemble the tree so that someone with actual decorating ability i.e. my wife, can make the house look all “Christmassy”.

That’s right I have a fake tree.

I get a fake tree every year.

For those of you who hate fake Christmas trees I understand. I really do. As a matter of fact until four years ago we had a real Christmas tree every year. It’s not that I hate real Christmas trees. I hate going out and getting a real tree and then having to make sure it’s not deformed in some way. Even if I got the perfect tree I would have to spend an entire day trying to get the thing not to look like the “Leaning Christmas Tree of Pisa”.

So I made the switch to an artificial tree.

“But Tony why do you get a fake tree every year?”

Because I can’t get the thing to fit back in the damn box and I would rather spend a couple of hundred bucks than make myself crazy.

By the way they tend to get a tad upset when you drop off an artificial tree down at the recycling center.

So every stinking year we have to go through this ritual of putting up and taking down the decorations that nearly leads to divorce or a capitol crime.

“That’s it, that’s all of them.”

“I’m missing a box.”

“No you’re not, this is all the boxes.”

“If I go look for that box and I find it Calabrese I’m going to smack you on the back of the head.”

“Look honey, these are the SAME EXACT boxes I took down when we decorated in the first place. That’s it. That’s all of them. Why would I not take down all of the boxes? Why? Do you think I live for this moment? Do you think it’s some type of conspiracy? Maybe the decorations just swelled up. It’s been unusually dry. Everyone knows that red and green things swell up in a dry heat. Maybe that’s the reason they all don’t fit back in those boxes! Maybe the Christmas decoration fairy came along and duplicated all of them. Maybe that’s the problem. Why? Why? Why? Do you just assume I didn’t get down all of the boxes down?”

“Are you finished?”

“No I’m not. What if I’m up on that stepladder looking for that stupid box and we’re hit by an earthquake and I fall off and crack my skull open on the garage floor? That would be on your head woman! Merry Christmas your husband is dead. Here’s your stupid box. Are you happy now?”

“Uh huh… Okay sport here it is. Every year I say, I’m missing a box. You tell me that’s all the boxes. And what happens next?”


“That’s right! I find the missing box! Why? Because you’re an idiot. So why don’t you stop whining and get me the damn box???”

“Fine, but I’m changing my religion to something that doesn’t decorate. Has it even dawned on you that there where no decorations on the actual Christmas day? Unless the guy that owned the barn that Jesus was born in was a jolly old fat Jew that liked to dress in red I don’t think these decorations are appropriate.”

“Calabrese you’re pushing it.”

“Really… am I? Maybe next year I just want to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas.”

“Uh huh. What are you going to do? Bring farm animals and a manger into the house next year?”

“I’m just saying we should give the decorations to the homeless or something. A Christmas gesture so to speak.”

“Give the decorations to the homeless? So they can what? Decorate their shopping carts? Just get up there and look for that box!!!”

“Fine. Stupid decorations. Stupid, stupid decorations. I hate this. Stupid boxes.”

“Enough already.”


“What now?”

“I felt a tremor. Hold the ladder.”

“I swear I’m going to bop you in the head Calabrese. What is that right there?”

“Um…. A box.”

“The missing box?”


“So if you had just looked for the box instead of whining and causing problems you could have been done an hour ago?” Is that what you’re saying?”

“Uh… no… not exactly….I was just… it was just…”

“Uh huh…”

“At least I don’t have to do this for another year.”

“You’re forgetting Easter.”