Holiday Lessons for 2007


Make sure you cross items off your wish list as you get them. My family now does a secret Santa thing organized via the internet so we don’t have to buy for as many people anymore; this also means that each of us gets fewer gifts — just one or two at most. So, when I was handed a gift-wrapped book, I tore it open with zest, only to be crushed with dismay at finding Christopher Moore’s Lamb: I’d already gotten it last year. To my relief, I had another book coming. To my further dismay, it was Moore’s You Suck, which I’d gotten for my birthday and had in fact brought to read on the bus ride home. So, I basically got nothing on Christmas morning. And worse, it was all my fault for not crossing these items off my online wish list so my secret Santa would know I’d gotten them. “I’ve had a worse Christmas than Benazir Bhutto,” I sulked until finally managing to get hold of the receipts and exchange the books a few days later, replacing them with Moore’s A Dirty Job and the deluxe edition of Lamb. Yeah, I already had it, but not in the deluxe edition.

I need to make some major changes in my cleaning habits. Candace came for a visit, so I made sure to give things a good tidying up beforehand. I scooped up a small object to toss it in a garbage bag, briefly wondered why it was furry in texture, then shrieked when I realized it was a dead mouse. On the brighter side, I subsequently found an uncashed cheque for 60 dollars. Both of those things lead to the same conclusion: I should clean more often. And when I do, I should get a Swiffer so that the airborne dust I kick up with my conventional dusting methods doesn’t turn my snot black later, as it did this time.

The best way to break up with someone is to wait until she’s using your shower and then move all your belongings out of your house. I haven’t actually done this; Candace and I just agreed that it would be really effective. I mean, how’s that for rejection? Candace points out that this might not work if you’re dating a homeless girl though. She might just look around and say, “Oh cool — a place to squat.”

And speaking of that, when I went home to visit over the holidays, it marked the first time that I no longer had a room of my own. My folks are now managing a luxury apartment building and just set me up in an empty suite across the hall from their quarters. On the one hand, I had a swinging bachelor pad of my own. On the other, I was sleeping on an empty air mattress in the middle of an unfurnished apartment like some kind of squatter. Is my family breaking up with me?

You shouldn’t put a metal bowl in the microwave. I know this. You know this. Everyone knows this except Toula’s sister Gina. Ironically, after I’d just been boasting about the 14 years of faithful service it had given me, when I came home from the holidays, I noticed my microwave sitting on the floor by the front door. It turned out Gina had destroyed it in a shower of sparks after putting the one thing in it that everyone knows you shouldn’t put in it (besides a baby). I should have known Gina couldn’t be trusted. A couple of months ago, I caught her using a fork to pick up items off my Foreman grill, so I explained to her that a fork would scratch the coating and asked her to please use the plastic spatula provided with the grill. Not one minute later, I caught her using the fork again. “Oh sorry!” she laughed. “I forgot!” Well, just because of that, now I’m not calling the destruction of my microwave an innocent mistake, but part of a pattern of reckless negligence, so she can cough up $40 for me to buy a new one. We don’t actually need a new one, because with amazing foresight, Toula bought a new one a few weeks ago, so we already have a replacement, but now I know they run about $40 these days, and I’ll take the cash. Goddamn Gina.

Kids say the darnest things. I’m not sure what the conversation was that led up to this, but I was at a urinal and heard the four- or five-year-old boy beside me say to his father, “The only thing I know is that I’m alive.”

“Whoa. We’ve got a little René Decartes here,” I said over my shoulder.

“You should hear some of the questions he asks,” the father said.

“Why don’t they have a roll of toilet paper here for after you’re done?” the boy asked, on a less philosophical note.

“I think you’re just supposed to shake it and you’re done,” the father said. This is what happens when you let the mother teach the boy to pee, by the way.

I never learn when it comes to all-you-can-eat restaurants. I may have mentioned the time when I went to a Ponderosa buffet in upstate New York, and when my family pulled out of the parking lot, I was curled up in the back seat in the fetal position, clutching my gluttonous belly and sobbing. My view on all-you-can-eat buffets is that once you’ve placed your order, you’ve declared war on the restaurant. It’s your duty to try to shut them down for good. But I’m the one who always ends up as a casualty in the battle. After my visit to Tucker’s Marketplace this time, I found myself laying back in my seat, panting, and asking the waitress, “Do you have a suicide room?”

Go to the bathroom if you’re going to the Canadian War Museum. It takes longer than you think to get through the whole thing. I started feeling the urge around Vimy Ridge and by the end, I was practically sprinting through Afghanistan at a dead run, looking for a safe haven. They should probably put in a restroom somewhere around the liberation of the Netherlands, maybe with a nice vase of tulips on the counter by the sink.

Hitler’s limousine has a car alarm. Motion sensors go off if you try to touch it, but nobody actually does anything about it. It’s just more of a “hands-off” signal. So go ahead and paw the Führer’s ride if you want, but you’re probably pushing your luck if you climb in and stand up in the back seat shooting off straight-armed salutes.

Face/Off is a really stupid movie. Even when it came out in 1997, I recall it being moronic, but John Travolta and Nicholas Cage were still at their peak value, so they seemed to carry it off all right. But after a decade of declining critical respect for both actors, Face/Off has vaulted into the canon of the sublimely retarded. Happily, it still works as a comedy. My stepbrother and I had a couple of drinks while watching it late at night and laughed our faces off (so to speak) at the incredible scene-chewing on display. It’s time for a remake. I see Jack Black and Will Ferrell in the lead roles. It’d be worth it just for the scene where Will Ferrell beats the hell out of the guy in the prison cafeteria while screaming, “I’m Castor Troy! I’m Castor Troy! I drive a Dodge Stratus! People are scared of me!”

The Jonas Brothers exist. “Look, it’s the Brockville Santa Claus Parade,” said my stepfather, pointing to the TV. I grunted acknowledgement, barely glancing up from the internet. Wait a minute, I thought after a moment. Why is Regis Philbin hosting the Brockville Santa Claus Parade? In fact, it was the Disneyland parade, and along came a float with three curly-headed young epicines named the Jonas Brothers who briefly stopped the traffic to pose with some guitars and lip sync bland harmonies while 8-year-old girls along the sidelines covered their faces, shrieked, and began to ovulate as though it were the second coming of Beatlemania. I looked the band up on Wikipedia, and the three brothers are backed by an extra guitarist and a rhythm section. Also mentioned is a fourth Jonas brother, who says he wants to play drums in the band when he gets older. So he’s basically served notice to the current drummer that he’s essentially already fired, which makes him kind of a little prick.

I need solitude. At least, I do when I’m taking a dump. I found myself yelling the following in a state of mounting dismay as my mother stood outside the bathroom door: “Stop talking to me! I’m busy! Go away! You’re going to give me psychological problems! I’m going to need therapy because my mother wouldn’t stop talking to me when I was trying to go to the bathroom!”

But I also need companionship. Candace and I had the following conversation: “I’ve seen Japanese porn,” she said. “Now I know why their population is declining. They’re doing it wrong!”

“I can just see them at the fertility clinic,” I said. “They’re all, ‘I don’t get it. We’ve been puking in each other’s mouths as much as we can.’ And the doctor says, ‘Okay, here is a prescription for some live baby eels. I want you to take these home and put them in your wife’s anus.'”

And then we laughed. Clearly, this is the girl for me.

5 Responses to “Holiday Lessons for 2007”

  1. 1 Eric

    I wish MY wife was like Peter Lynn.

  2. 2 Candace

    Me too.

  3. 3 Eric

    Oh… you’re married. To a girl. Does Pete know?

  4. 4 Ken

    Reminds me of when my girlfriend and I made the same joke about a severely retarded boy in tandem while all the rest of our bible college friends looked on in horror.

  1. 1 Serial Killer Used Car Dealership « Man vs. Clown!

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