I thought I’d share a story of my tortured childhood. I have no idea how this is relevant, but while I spent an hour of the taxpayers dime decorating a Christmas tree, a memory rose to the surface of my bubbling, festering stew of a mind.
In grade five we got to do what most elementary school kids do around the holiday season: waste the better part of our young days making crappy Christmas decorations out of things like popsicle sticks and macaroni. For some reason, this year, we were charged with making pom-poms… presumably to function as tree ornaments.
We were politely ordered to bring in different colours of yarn to make a festive addition to each of our snot-nosed holiday households. Red and green were the colours of choice, perhaps white or even gold were acceptable.
However, for me, a festive pom-pom was not to be.
Mom insisted that it was wasteful, and not to mention an incovenient thorn in her already overstressed side, to go out to the store to buy new yarn when we already had some at home. Stuffing the hand-knit sweater leftovers into my grubby little child hands, she promptly told me to make do or shut up. What she actually said was probably less harsh, but this is how the “victim” tells the story.
This sounds reasonable, right? I mean, waste not and all that…. She was simply being “green,” right?
On the festive scale, this is somewhere near those horrible yuppies on National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.
But I was determined in my little childish heart of hearts that I would not let my ugly-as-fuck pom-pom ruin Christmas. In fact, I was adamant that I would make Christmas ABOUT my ugly-as-fuck pom-pom.
It was displayed front and centre on the tree, right between Mom’s Elvis ornament and the one Bri and I pulled out of Rice Crispies box.
Mom hated it.
She kept trying to move it to the back of the tree. But I kept finding it, and moving it back.
Every year, the ugly-as-fuck pom-pom danced around the tree: back to front, front to back. It was Ginger and Fred, all December long.
But then one Christmas, Mom outsmarted me.
See, we have cats. There’s a rule in our house that you keep any ornaments you don’t want broken at least a foot from the bottom of the tree. This rule was conceived after Christmas 1995, when an ornament with a lot of tinsel inside was broken open and eaten by one of the little purring lovelies. I guess Dad can only handle pulling so much tinsel out of a cat butt before he lays down the law.
This was where Mom discovered the perfect way to sabotage the pom-pom.
See, a pom-pom hanging front and centre, from the bottom of the tree is nothing more than a very, very, very, very tempting cat toy. I’m still convinced she also rubbed cat nip on it, too, you know, just to get the little bleeders foaming at the mouth for their next hit.
It was so simple. Ingenious really. I should compliment her on it, but I’m still bitter.
I entered the living room like one imagines refugees return to their bombed-out homes. There were small fragments of magenta here, turquoise there. Bits of half-digested black yarn were coughed up all over the couch. It looked like a bomb full of everything nineties exploded in the living room, spraying magenta, black and turquoise shrapnel over everything.
I was distraught. And in that deeply depressing way someone in their
mid late twenties definitely should not be. And as I realized this, it made me even more distraught. It is a horrible, vicious cycle.
Mom: 1 Ashleigh: 0