Friday, December 02, 2005

Meet My Holiday Nemesis


Yes, it's good ol' Leather-
face. He's been dogging my Christmas since 1989.

Remem-
ber '89? Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? My kids were into it. Big time. Turtle shirts, turtle jammies, turtle toys, turtle videos, turtle lunchboxes, turtle undies...you name it, if it had a chelonial connection to a rennaisance painter, we had it.

That Christmas, a friend of the family--who had kids held in turtlethrall and should have known better--got the kids these little 'suncatcher' painting kits. One of Leatherface, and one of...I don't know his name. Krang? Kang? He was a fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing.

Turtle-related. The kids loved them. They painted them, and for some reason, rather than sticking them on their windows with the little suction cups, they decided they would be Christmas ornaments, and they have hung on our trees ever since.

Despite my best efforts otherwise.

When I took down the tree, I tried to give the things to the kids. But no: they went into the ornament box.

The next year, when it was time to decorate, I left them off the tree.

"Where's our ornaments?" they wailed, and went back into the box, digging through the packing material until they found them.*

And placed them in prominent positions.

Ho ho ho.

I would, as best I could, move the suckers out of the prime positions on the tree, but they always found them, and moved them back in place, pushing aside the delicate, colorful, hand-blown holiday ornaments to better show them off.

This took place every year. Long after the Turtle craze faded. And I knew they would dog me.

I knew that, no matter how hard I would try, these freakish things would appear like Marley's ghost.

I imagined myself in my 80's, a dottering, doting, granddad, coming to see my children.

"Look, Da!" they would exclaim, "Look what we saved for you! It's the fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing! You get to hang the fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing on the tree, Da!

"Because nothing says 'Christmas' like a fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing!"

Well, here it is, Christmas 2005, and they're still here. My oldest will be spending it in Iraq, watching over his troops. Number two son isn't here either. I'm not sure where he is, or where he will be at Christmas. He's in a war, too. His is internal.

But these things persist. At least, one of them does.

I found Leatherface right at the top of the ornament box. The fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing is currently MIA.

There's a few boxes left. If he's not in one of them, I'll go back up to the attic and search some more.

Because nothing says 'Christmas' like a fanged, snarling, salmon-colored, multi-tentacled, evil brain-thing.

Yeharr





*They had plenty of ornaments. We get them one or two a year, on the assumption that they would eventually move out, and decorate their trees in their own houses with their own ornaments.

9 Comments:

Blogger Jessica said...

I always get a kick out of your footnotes.

1:34 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

We took our ornaments with us when we left. Girls do that. Boys: Not so much.

4:52 PM  
Blogger Rowena said...

Christmas isn't Christmas without some "wrong" ornaments. A terrible orange felt stocking ornament I made in Grade 5 is dragged out every year by my parents and put in a prominent position on their tree, precisely because it's so awful.

PS Really, your oldest son is in Iraq? You allowed him to join the army? I am gobsmacked. And I hope he stays safe.

6:31 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

ro: Oldest son is in Iraq, but NOT in the Army. He's in the Air Force. I wrote about him over in Burned Out Paranoid Democrat back in August. The title of the post is "Lieutenant Brad."

Although now he's known as "Lieutenant Trouble."

Do the letters ROTC have an Austrailan equivilant?

When he graduated from high school, the Air Force paid his college tuition in exchange for four years service. In 2000, this seemed like a good idea; he wanted to be a cop, perhaps join the FBI. One of the first papers he wrote his freshman year was about how airport security really did nothing other than make passengers FEEL safer. He submitted it on Monday, September 10.

As far as allowing him to join: how much did your parents approval fit into your life when you were 18?

Yeharr

11:09 AM  
Blogger Rowena said...

Yes, a frighteningly prescient essay your son wrote there.

I suppose I was just surprised, because of your own left-wing views, that your son would be in the army/Air Force (or even want to be a cop or be in the FBI!). Not the anti-authoritarian offspring I imagined you might have I guess.

Just looked up ROTC - not sure if we have anything similar here. We might, but I am not au fait with such things.

6:20 AM  
Blogger Balloon Pirate said...

But how else does the child of the rebel rebel?

My one hard and fast rule in child-rearing is that it's their lives. I try to lead by example. I don't tell them what to be interested in. Brad wanted to join the FBI because he wanted to be Fox Mulder. He quickly realized that the FBI really wasn't like that, but he did discover that one thing he wanted to do with his life was to be in service to other people, and he does have the sort of mindset and attitude that fits in with the criminology sort.

And think about it: how better to try and effect change in an organization than from the inside?

Yeharr

7:51 AM  
Blogger United We Lay said...

BP - You've got one awesome kid! He's swimming upstream and all for the good of the Air Force/ Good for him! It's one hell of a battle and he'll probably end up sacrificing his career to be truly honorable. I hope he does better than I did.

7:39 PM  
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