Thursday, December 10, 2015

Tis the Season: Lessons in Lighting

I’ve been doing a lot of Christmassy type stuff, lately. 

If you celebrate Christmas or just acknowledge the season, you’ve probably been too.

If you don’t celebrate Christmas or just acknowledge the season, you’ve probably been watching the rest of us doing a lot of Christmassy type stuff, lately...shaking your head and having a good laugh about it.

Because to a distant observer, I imagine it must seem somewhat odd to see your neighbors—the same neighbors who spend the majority of spring, summer and fall, mostly laying out in the backyard sipping margaritas, at least until the new Netflix schedule comes out—suddenly dragging out and climbing ladders to hang decorated wreaths high on their houses, and untangling, or attempting to untangle, string after string of festive, holiday light bulbs the size of a small legume.

Especially if said string of festive, holiday light bulbs the size of a small legume, hung, laboriously with care, blazes with good cheer...but only for a few seconds...before it then goes completely dark...or worse, only half dark...leaving you to wonder what to do with the half that’s completely blown out.

Do you ignore it?

Pretend it’s not there?

Reposition other strings to fill the void, which while sometimes successful, also comes with the risk that you may jostle something else that will then render yet another string completely useless as well...or worse, only half useless... again, leaving you to wonder what to do with the new half that’s completely blown out?

Can you move the two halves that do actually light, closer together, to create one completely lit string...or at least create the illusion of one completely lit string?

You could...but then what do you do with the two non-working halves?

Shove them deep, into a back corner to hide their uselessness from the general public?

Kind of like what Z does to me when my in-laws come to visit.

Or, I suppose, if you’re the optimistic, patient type, you could try to correct the problem, instead of simply ignoring its hopeless existence...kind of like what my in-laws do to me when they come to visit.

You could steal some tools from a Lilliputian and attempt to pry open that little compartment on the plug end where the fuses reside and replace them; a solution that has a 10 out of 10 chance of failure.  

But since failure is the mother of success—at least according to that fortune cookie I choked on last week...and stubbornness is the father of those of us who dare to dream, like my Uncle Horatio who’s been working on his time machine for the last 70 years and insists one day he’s going to return to the 60’s and warn Nixon to lose the tape recorders—you can then take the next step in the legume lighting repair and jiggle each one of those mocking little bulbs, hoping against hope, that you’ll somehow, miraculously jostle just the right one...and “voila” the entire string will now once again light...but just as long as you continue to hold on to this particular recalcitrant, little bastardy bulb. 

So then, perhaps—if the medications have kicked in—you move on to the next step in the restoration process, and decide legume bastardy bulb replacement will definitely do the trick, because you I said, the medications have kicked in...and you set off to dig out that other old string of half lit lights that you ripped off the tree last year, but saved to serve as replacement bulbs, along with all the other useless dead strings you’ve saved over the years because, hey...most of these lights still work...except for the ones that don’t.

Of course, actually removing the legume bulb from the socket, at least intact, is also a project, but in time your thumbnails will regrow, at least in some form or another.

Now, having removed both the old replacement bulb and the newly defective bulb from their respective half lit strings you snuggly insert the replacement and are happily rewarded with the sight of an entire string ablaze, the warmth of which races through your core with a feeling of self-worth and accomplishment...not to mention Christmas good least until the other, once functioning, half of the string, suddenly goes out.

To which you serenade the neighborhood with a robust recitation of FALALALAH... LALALALA.... 

Or something that may not sound exactly like that.

Yet, alas, as we also sing, it’s the most wonderful time of the year, and we still have to climb those ladders and hang those wreaths...and of course there’s still the indoor tree to light and decorate...not to mention the shopping and wrapping and carding and partying and caroling....


Or something that may not sound exactly like that....


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  1. One can fully sympathise with your dismay at all the hoo-ha and codswallop generated by the marketing brigade of cynics and profiteers. Nevertheless, for whatever reason this age old mid-winter revelry has its good points like plum duff and copious slugs of ones favourite tipple. Seasons Greetings Brian ;-)

    1. Same to you and yours, Rhyming Ropey! My problem is I always get my codswallop and plum duff mixed up, which just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. But not to worry since there’s no confusion when it comes my copious slugs of tipple, which generally solves the problem....

  2. recalcitrant.... perfect description of my christmas progress..... tis the season to be....


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