Nothing says "happy holidays" like an ass-whose-ass-gets-glued-on-the-toilet tale. Inspired by Bob Dougherty's harrowing experience when he sat down in a public restroom at a Louisville Home Depot ("The Butt of the Joke," December 15), John Redding sent Off Limits the following rendition of "The Night Before (Behind?) Christmas," a poem he's sending out this season along with accompanying photos.
For the past 25 years, Redding -- a water engineer who lives in Louisville -- has come up with a greeting tied to current events, often featuring his golden retriever, Jessie. But the dog has since passed on, and Redding himself stars in this card. "If I can make just one person laugh by putting on a Santa suit and fake rubber butt and crawling on a dirty public-restroom floor, then it was worth it," he says.
Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Home Depot
All the snowblowers were stirring, awaiting the snow.
The shovels were hung by the entrance with care,
In hopes that a blizzard soon would be there.
Our pooches were nestled all snug in the back seat,
While dreaming of rawhide and other treats they might eat.
And my wife with her eyes covered, and I in my ball cap,
Had just squeezed the car into a really small gap.
When above the parking lot there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the car to see what was the matter.
Away towards the storefront I flew like a flash,
But first grabbed my wallet (now empty of cash).
The neon reflecting off the new-fallen snow
Gave the luster of mid-day to the snowblowers below.
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.
With a little old driver so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
His legs, squeezed together, made him look rather odd
As he called past the sled to his eight-reindeer squad:
"Now Dasher! Now Dancer! Now Prancer and Vixen!
On Comet! On Cupid! On Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of Home Depot! To the top of the store!
My bladder is bursting, I can hold it no more!"
So up to the store-top the reindeer they flew,
With the sleigh full of toys, and Santa's bladder full, too!
And down through an air vent he entered the store.
(Just force of habit, rarely using a door.)
Santa sneered at fake fireplaces, with their electrical flames.
(They were so hard to crawl through, with his sack full of games.)
Then spying the sign to the Home Depot restrooms,
He sped down the aisle, past the mops and push brooms.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard in the can,
The grunting and groaning of a frustrated man.
As I stuck in my head and was looking around,
Out of the first stall St. Nick came with a bound.
He was dressed mostly in fur, from his head to his waist,
But his rear was all covered with something sticky, like paste.
A toilet seat had somehow got stuck to his rear,
And the look on his face wasn't one of good cheer!
His eyes, how they watered! His countenance scary!
His "cheeks" were like balloons, as red as a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
And the beard on his chin parted as he yelled a loud "Ow!"
The seat of the toilet framed his plump "underneath";
Plastic encircled his bum like a white snowy wreath.
He had a broad heinie and a little round belly,
That shook as he struggled, like a bowlful of jelly.
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He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
And I laughed when I saw him, then offered him help.
From the wince in his eyes and the tilt of his head,
I knew he was wishing he had just "gone" in his sled.
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
And yanked off the seat with a sharp, twisting jerk.
He gasped at the mirror, skin raw and exposed,
Inspecting his bottom, pants still down by his toes.
Ignoring the pain from the wound on his rump
(He moved very quickly for someone so plump),
Not taking the time to pull up his slacks
Santa shuffled out of the store, making funny snow tracks.
Then he sprang to his sleigh like a red, furry missile,
(The wind through his cheeks made a very faint whistle).
And I heard him exclaim, ere he flew out of sight,
"Merry Christmas to all! Super Glue sure holds tight!"