I can’t believe Christmas is almost here. It seems like just last weekend that I was out in my T-shirt mowing the yard, mainly because last weekend, I was actually out in my T-shirt mowing the yard. Last Saturday was beautiful, sunny and almost sixty degrees despite being less than a week shy of the winter solstice. Hearing a lawn mower awakened from its hibernation in the middle of December is incongruous, like seeing pictures of clothed people on the internet.
My original intent with the mower was to chop up the stubborn leaves that had refused to blow into the neighbor’s yard over the past couple of months. As I pushed the mower along, though, I noticed that the grass had actually grown taller since the beginning of November, when it was last mowed. Maybe global warming isn’t as bad as every reputable scientist in the world seems to think, but from the looks of things, Frosty’s silk hat is going to be spending the vast majority of this winter sopping up a jolly old puddle.
While I was outside mowing, my wife Kara was inside painting the bathroom. We’re trying to make our house look presentable so that we can sucker someone into buying it. I hope it sells quickly so that we can go back to being slobs. Being clean takes way too much energy. The universe wants entropy, and entropy is what I aim to give it.
As I hopped into bed on Saturday night and pulled the covers up, a wave of sickly wintergreen scent smacked me right in my olfactory epithelium. Or in both of my olfactory epitheliums, if I have two of them. Wikipedia is somewhat unclear on this point.
Kara saw the look on my face and laughed. I knew right away what she’d done: she’d busted out the Icy Hot.
“Ew, dude, did you roll around in Pepto Bismol?” I asked.
“It’s Icy Hot. It makes my muscles feel better. I’m all sore from painting today,” she said.
If you’re not familiar with Icy Hot, it’s a cream that is manufactured entirely from Pepto and wintergreen gum, then it’s enriched into an isotope that, when applied to the skin, emits odors so powerful that muscle pain suddenly drops way down on the list of things that are bothering you. If you’re sitting in the same room with someone who has just put on some Icy Hot, you can actually watch the vapors ruffling the curtains.
At least I assume that’s how it works. I’ve never tried the stuff before. I’m a lotion-phobe. Even as a kid, my parents would chase me around with suntan lotion at the beach as I ran and cried, my face turning red to match my shoulders. If I’d been one of the people in Buffalo Bill’s basement in Silence of the Lambs, the scene would have gone like this: “It rubs the lotion on its skin.”
“Oh no, it doesn’t!”
Bringing up Silence of the Lambs in the context of what honestly started out many paragraphs ago to be a discussion of the holidays may seem a little strange, but I’m not the first to make such a connection. Have you taken a good listen to the lyrics of “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” lately? I just noticed this line as the song was playing on the radio a couple of days ago: “There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long, long ago.” Scary ghost stories? Really? That must be a tradition my family’s been missing out on: everyone sitting around on Christmas Eve by the fire, eating cookies, as Dad tells us our favorite story, Rudolph the Vengeful Reindeer.
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