Merry Christmas. Only 24 hours left until some of you (all women) can run out to catch all those post-holiday steals. You'll say you're going so that you can get your shopping done early, but you'll still be back at the malls come Halloween, checking out all the new fads and fashions and scoping out more gifts for your husband, boyfriend and children that you can put under the tree on top of all the pine needles that have fallen because you never remember to water the $100 evergreen you bought to brighten your home that always ends up looking like the victim of a Colorado wildfire. All told, each holiday season you spend an amount comparable to the GNP of a Third World nation like France.
As you read this, I will be decompressing from the shopping-and-decorating stress with a 1.75-liter bottle of Bailey's Irish Cream. I break the seal on that baby on Christmas Eve, when I'm playing Santa -- my contribution to the Osborn family traditions. Unfortunately, the fact that Bailey's tastes like a chocolate milkshake makes it very difficult for Santa to finish his tasks in a timely fashion. It also makes it very tricky for Santa to follow the instructions on how to put together toys. Instruction manuals are generally indecipherable -- "Take flange A, attach grommet Q and, under the light of the harvest moon, insert into tab Z" -- but a blood-alcohol level of over 0.10 makes for toys that defy the laws of physics when their construction is complete. As my daughter, Allison, has grown older, she's become very critical of Santa's toy-making efforts.
And now that it's Christmas Day, I can no longer use my number-one disciplinary tool with Allison: calling Santa. As all dads know, the Big Man's digits are passed from father to father at the birth of the first child. As Christmas comes closer, there's no better (legal) way to get your kid to behave than to threaten a call to Santa. At that, even a delinquent who can't be trusted with a burned-out match becomes a beatific model child.
776 Lincoln Street
To record this joyous day (which starts no later than 5:30 a.m. if there are any children in the house), you'll want to have your camera ready. In the digital age, this means clearing your camera's memory card and downloading to your computer so that some snotty sixteen-year-old hacker who actually knows how to use Windows XP can sneak into your system, modify the photos and then post them on a Web site featuring barnyard animals. I cleared out my camera a few days prior to Christmas, because as technologically retarded as I am, in the process of downloading, I could have electrocuted myself or destroyed something called a "hard drive." And that would have put a damper on the festivities.
I don't know about you, but I usually don't want any visual reminder of my behavior on nights when I've tied one on. I don't want to know that when I'm drunk I become beet-red and look like a slackjawed mental patient. I don't want to see my friend's nether regions as photographed surreptitiously by himself under the table. I sure as hell don't want my girlfriend to see how one of the guys and I bolstered the dowry of a young bachelorette by performing a "suck for a buck" on anatomy unique to women. But as I cleared my camera, I was forced to review a recent night at the Funky Buddha (776 Lincoln Street).
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My first question: Who took those pictures, anyway? Several of the shots could end any political aspirations for anyone in the group. (This column has already killed any aspirations I might have.) Around the table, hands were freely applied to bosoms (and seeing this debauchery documented brought back a candid discussion regarding marital aids initiated by one of the guys in an effort to woo one of the single girls there -- unsuccessfully, I might add). Another guy left a very clever message for me in the form of his middle finger. Worst of all, there was an action shot of me throwing napkins, ice cubes, coasters, etc., at the people in the booths around us who must have done something to deserve it.
All that bad behavior, so close to Christmas. So much naughtiness put my haul of presents in jeopardy. How could I rectify the situation? I couldn't very well call Santa and give him a report on my behavior. Maybe I should leave the camera at home from now on. Perhaps it was time to start acting my age.
Nah. Instead, I just grabbed the bottle of Bailey's early. It's a Christmas tradition, after all.