Thursday, December 17, 2009

Making a Check and Listing it Twice

Well, Christmas is crushing in upon us, and we are on our annual collision course with St. Nick. The impact should just about obliterate the jolly old elf…and our bank account. Oh, the carnage! We are maxed out with merriment, partying, The Twelve (hundred) Days of Christmas, silver bells, tinsel, and gluttony. I’ve sung more carols than is constitutionally legal. I’m emotionally lobotomized. My eyes are more glazed than the cakes I’ve consumed, and the bags underneath the eyes are bigger than Santa’s. I’ve long ago lost my capacity for abstract thought, and I can’t look one more sugar plum in the face. I am a member emeritus of the glucose-induced, dazed and vacuous.

And speaking of sugarplums, I haven’t been near the kitchen since Thanksgiving to bake the little concoctions to dance in the kids’ heads.  I’m wondering if animated M&M’s with cartoon faces would work just as well.  As I walk by the oven door and gaze at the carbonized remains still evident from “turkeys past,” I just can’t make myself fire up the old stove again.

I hate when my inner “Ebeneezer” over-rides my “Tiny Tim,” but this year we may have to make Christmas happen with holiday heartburn and synchronized belching alone. And that’s OK.  Personally, I find choreographed little sucrose fruits somewhat suspect.  Just what are sugar plums anyway?  Does anybody know?  Does anybody care?  I refuse to commit culinary suicide reproducing a confection straight out of a book whose central plot involves a living nutcracker in obscenely revealing tights doing battle with a rodent king of primitive intelligence and his army of creepy, plague-infested rat colonies.  Where’s my Physician’s Desk Reference?!  Humbug!  (Boy Howdy! That was cathartic!)

Besides, December is bloated with bills, obligations, taxes, and doctors’ appointments.  We recently went to the dentist for our 6-month check-up, and he set about the routine exam with the maniacal enthusiasm of a mad archaeologist excavating for relics from the Ming Dynasty.  Unfortunately for Dennis, several were discovered, and he is undergoing the jackhammer as we speak.

One of the privileges of being really old is that there is perpetually diminishing tooth surface to even attract a cavity.  It’s all been drilled, filled, extracted, bridged, re-rooted, re-routed or implanted years ago.  So I regard Dennis’ cavity as a badge of orifice prowess, a justifiable excuse for oral hubris. But, I do not envy him.  Our dentist is Dennis’ brother, Ron.  He knows the “drill,” so to speak.  Through the years, he has learned to slap the nitrous oxide over my nose as soon as I pull into the parking lot.  He’s even been known to attach the tubing to my exhaust pipe for especially extensive work.

Ron never exceeds the bounds of propriety by asking personal questions when I’m in my altered state of consciousness…at least, not that I remember.  Besides, unbridled tongue/lip coordination regurges more sensitive information than is ethically advisable when I’m fully conscious.

 I’m not an easy patient, and Ron has been known to take a few whiffs of the coping gas just to endure the ordeal.  We both dread the 6-month expiration date that will compel me to return and insert my body into the recliner of horrors.  And no one cheers louder than the staff of dental assistants and mental health volunteers when Ron proclaims, “No Cavities!” and I can drive home without Angelina Jolie lips.

But this is the time of year when we take great pains to produce a Christmas worthy of Norman Rockwell.  Dennis snaps a plethora of pictures to capture the moments that will all too soon be memories.  We got back the copies of the ones he took from Thanksgiving, and I was aghast.  Utter fatigue and sleep deprivation united in an unholy alliance to make me look like Lady Gaga…in drag…and Betty Boop on lash-enhancing drugs.  Not to mention my hair.  The re-growth alone qualified me as Cruella DeVille’s evil twin.

I issued an immediate and irrevocable edict that there were to be no more pictures of me without prior written consent.  Anyone flashing me without said consent would be penalized…with me flashing them.  (Think about it.)  No kidding!  Some of my photos could stop Santa in the flue.

Our grandkids, the Ashton “6-pack,” are out of control – trying to impress the Jolly One with petitions and character references.  A couple of them will require a full pardon before Santa agrees to hazard the chimney soot on their behalf. 

However, Asher, our “rebel without a clue,” is a particular favorite of the North Pole.  He has been granted “favored kid” status, and may be awarded a congressional waiver for past naughties.  The remainder of the half-dozen bear perpetual witness to having been good to the point of sainthood.  (Of course, that depends on what the meaning of “good” is.)

However, I have it on the best authority that Santa plans to drop his load down Grandma’s chimney this year in a most generous and humanitarian gesture of forbearance and forgiveness…and Grandma may have to be committed to rehab for debt addiction.

Since it is the season for making lists, I decided to include an inventory of the best rock ‘n roll classics to listen to while dashing to shopping malls.  When feeling “drive-impaired,” these selections are like musical caffeine, and it is possible to frenetically accelerate from sale to sale sans coke, open windows, or exiting on the “Drowsy Drivers” off-ramp.

This music, however, demands French fries.  French fries are affirmation from heaven that man was indeed meant to have joy.  Best places?  Hires and Spin CafĂ© in Heber.

Anyway, here they are, in no particular order.

1.    Eli’s Comin’ – Three Dog Night
2.    Mrs. Robinson – Simon and Garfunkel
3.    Satisfaction – Rolling Stones
4.    I Heard It Through the Grapevine – Marvin Gaye
5.    What A Day For A Daydream – Lovin’ Spoonful
6.    Honkey Cat – Elton John
7.    And When I Die – Blood, Sweat and Tears
8.    That’s What You Get For Lovin’ Me – Peter, Paul and Mary
9.    I Wanna Hold Your Hand – Beatles
10.    Blackbird – Beatles

Blessed sensory overload!
The Christmas holidays are most efficient for accomplishing Obama’s 3-fold defense plan in Afghanistan – Disrupt, Dismantle, and Defeat!  I am happy to report, however, that at this point in the “Axis of Merriment,” I’m disrupted and dismantled, but not defeated. I am bloodied, but not bowed.  I shop on, in spite of vows of restraint.

And speaking of blood, we are looking forward to Thursday’s appointment with Dennis’ phlebotomist without the least degree of glee.

But as the current weather whisks away all traces of body heat, we cocoon ourselves in our mummy bags and make lists of those who continually bless our lives.  We’ll be in these bags counting for quite a long while.


The Clot

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