Janet Sheridan: Christmas anxiety
December 10, 2015
My hair stood on end when I first heard the song "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." Evidently, Santa knew if I'd been good or bad and cared. As I listened to Perry Como warbling on the radio, "So be good for goodness sake," I filled with anxiety: "Christmas is four days away, and just this morning I hogged the bathroom, folded the corner of a library book, and sneaked a box of Jell-O from the kitchen — and ate all of it. I'm doomed."
I no longer share a bathroom. I use bookmarks, and I've lost my appetite for granules of Jell-O. However, I've developed other pesky misbehaviors that could earn me a place on Santa's naughty list.
For example, my vacuum and I hate each other. I forget to replace its bag; it retaliates by requiring three passes to pick up a dust ball. Straining to lift it up the stairs, I call it unpleasant names, so it loses a wheel. When I bang it about, it leaves black marks on the baseboard. And at random intervals, for no reason at all, it slips its belt. I'm the more intelligent and older combatant, so I'm the one to blame for this shameful behavior.
I also steal pens. I'm sure you've visited offices where pens for public use are topped by flamboyant flowers. I'm responsible. Inevitably, when I pick up a pen to sign my name or complete a form, I absentmindedly stow it in my purse and take it home — unless it sports a huge red carnation. Consequently, I have a collection of pens from across town, across the state and throughout the nation. One with a rose attached: it must have been a bad day.
Most ladies of 70-some years don't daydream about assaulting news commentators. I do. Wanting to hurt Morning Joe, or maybe Mika, isn't like me: I rescue spiders from bathtubs and haven't pinched anyone since I was 12. But when highly paid "journalists" talk over expert guests, use middle-school sarcasm and quote each other as though repetition will make their opinions true, I'd like to squeeze their heads until their earbuds pop out.
My chances of making Santa's nice list would be better if we'd never purchased Joel's new recliner, the chair that ate our house. I know it eases my husband's back, but no matter how I add, delete or rearrange furniture, I can’t achieve balance with a monster chair crouching in one corner similar to a gorilla in a rabbit hutch. I might have to burn it.
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I've reached the age at which I wear blood pressure cuffs rather than bracelets, so I need to improve my relationship with them. When a nurse approaches with a cuff, I feel compelled to snatch it out of her hands and sit on it — which wouldn't do at all. A more dignified option would be to assume a commanding posture and pronounce in a haughty tone with rounded vowels, "I'd rather not have my blood pressure taken today. Thank you for understanding."
Unfortunately, neither snatching nor declining would work; so I meekly hold out my arm, prepare for bad news, and think words my father would know and my mother abhor.
Finally, I need to quit parking close to, on or past the yellow line and then scampering away without correcting the situation, because I'm late for an appointment. I know excusing my behavior by thinking, "I'm running late," is as silly as kidnapping a poodle and saying, "I only steal dogs when I'm lonely," but I can't help myself. I then sit through my meeting overcome with guilt and remorse. So, if you notice me weeping as a meeting is called to order, you'll know I'm the idiot who took up two parking places.
I hope Santa thinks my shame and sorrow atone for my misdeeds.
And I hope you have a worry-free, wonderful Christmas.