The following story never seems to surprise my wife.
If you lived with this chronic curmudgeon it probably wouldn’t surprise you either.
The Ridiculous Story
Peg me at five years old. Circa, thirty days out from Christmas 1976.
Bright blond hair. Thin as a ski pole. A hand on the hip and a goofy grin.
Dad walks into my room. Smiles. “Whatcha want for Christmas, Demian?”
I put the blocks down and slowly climb to my feet, hand to chin. “Box of mud, of course.”
“A box of-of what?”
“A box of mud.”
I sit back down to play with my blocks again. Dad finally backs out of the room.
Two days later he and mom drop the question at the dinner table. “Whatcha want for Christmas, sport?”
I stop chewing my mashed potatoes. “A box of mud, of course.”
“See,” my dad says to my mom.
Three days later I’m taking a bubble bath. My head is lost in a mountain of strawberry-scented Johnson and Johnson bubbles. Mom knocks on the door.
“Honey. What do you want for Christmas?”
I slowly pretend to paint the wall with bubbles. “A box of mud,” I shout.
She doesn’t give up. “Are you sure?”
I don’t say anything.
“Are you sure?”
“What did you say?”
Two days from Christmas. Dad is waiting for me at the back door. I push through, plop on the ground and start to peel off my boots.
“Still want that box of mud?”
Christmas morning. My sister and I charge downstairs in our underoos. We are told to march back up stairs to put on pajamas. We obey and run back down the steps.
Gifts are handed out. I finally get mine. It’s as heavy as an armored tank. Or four gallons of jet fuel. Or a rifle.
I massacred the wrapping and fling open the lid and find nothing but old fashion backyard mud.
In a box.
Rocking back and forth on his feet, dad says, “Whatcha think, sport?” He smiles.
Mom and dad say I went white. That’s true. What they didn’t know was that I’d also stopped breathing. Broke out in a cold sweat. And was on the verge of sobbing.
Naturally mom couldn’t bear to let her son suffer so she pulled out my other gifts.
I unwrapped them in a complete stupor. To be honest, I don’t remember those OTHER gifts. All I remember is my box of mud.
And that I’d actually gotten it.
Okay. I’m looking for your ridiculous Christmas stories. They can be last years. Or from your childhood. It can be about somebody you know. It doesn’t matter. Just share it. Merry Christmas Eve, folks!