As I sit here, wrapped in crumpled piles of swaddling tissue, packing away voided warranties and random battery compartment doors, it occurs to me that I didn’t ask you for the right thing this year.
Sure, I loved the foot bath with the detachable comfort pads that can double as missiles in the hands of untrained guerilla warriors, and the electric carving knife you must have used to hack your way out of the jungles of the North Pole.
They were ideal gifts, if not exactly what I specified on the order form, but I understand your strict no-exchange policy is based on a platoon of elves who have given up a season of toy-making extravaganza for a heady round of celebratory drinking on a southbound ice floe.
However, gazing around at the faces of my family members in the soft glow of candlelight, I’m reminded that I am surely part of a group somewhere that knows not to plug three space heaters and a Dragon Master’s ring into the same power strip.
I’ve thought about it a long time and I’m sure that somewhere there is a family wrapped in individual lamb-print Snuggies, perched on a fluffy couch devoid of a protective coating of animal fur, watching Partridge Family reruns and humming “Come On Get Happy” in resonating harmony.
I still have faith that it is possible to watch an entire television show without missing the first ten minutes because you have to get to the next level before you can save your game. Surely even the Black Ops guys can hold their focus while I watch Wheel of Fortune.
My real family doesn’t have video games. They play interactive card games for entertainment on Friday nights and nobody makes the yukky face and pouts when they draw the Old Maid. They can share snacks without shooting uncooked popcorn kernels through a straw to see who can put out the living room light first. And they never slop chocolate pudding onto anyone’s exposed flesh and scream, “Look what the dog did!”
So, dear Santa, I am writing an advance letter for next Christmas. For now, I will keep the family who finds it entertaining to spend three days of an expensive beach vacation in the hotel room watching Shark Week on public television.
I understand that the child who asked for the titanium Spork for Christmas could be under the influence of unnatural substances beyond my control, such as science fiction, but apart from joining forces with Dr. Every Which Way But Loose or Bill Gates or one of those other bizarre alien creatures, there’s really nothing I can do. Besides, I’m sure the Captain's influence is strong in that one.
But next year, Santa, I would like to find my real family, the people who do not consider a group viewing of the Monty Python movie, "Searching for the Holy Grail" to be a religious experience, who do not convulse into hysterics when someone utters the word “nutcracker,” and who does not claim ownership like a terrorist group when there is a blatant disregard for sensitive personal airspace.
So, Santa, I’m writing in advance so that you have time to complete the paperwork. If you could arrange a transfer, I’d be most grateful. I’ll have my purple flannel puppy dog pajamas and my original issue Partridge Family albums all packed and ready to go.
There’s just one thing. The Dachshund only likes the red bits out of the kibble and the ankles of UPS delivery men, but there’s none better for tracking errant rabbits or undelivered parcels full of Christmas cookies. The Labradors take turns helping to load the dishwasher and riding shotgun on the way to the dump. They need a sense of purpose to be happy; a job other than licking stray butter wrappers, unlike the tribe of children who can live happily with a refrigerator full of empty milk jugs, eating cereal with gardening implements when all the spoons are dirty.
So when you find my new family, would you find one for the puppies as well? You might consider a sled dog team instead of reindeer. Bo can jump over two recliners full of sleeping cats with the right encouragement, and while I’m not one to divulge personal secrets, a fast-moving tennis ball at nose height that just stirs the whiskers is a powerful force to resist. I’d keep the cookies hidden, though. He gets a little sluggish after a dozen or so shortbreads.
Thanks for listening, Santa. Sometimes a chance to express my frustrations is all I need for peace and contentment. Not this time though. This time I want action. Don’t even think about not granting my request, or next year your trip will be mighty short.
I’ve told the Dachshund that you’re really from UPS. Resistance is futile.