Around the bend

The good bad boy does his best with the random meatballs that fate rolls off the plates of good times onto life’s white carpet of stain ability.

His career numbers for calmly reacting to life’s little drone strikes hover at about 34 per cent. Not so hot unless one considers that a lifetime batting average of .340 qualifies one for the Hall of Fame. Such is the glory of baseball.

But life is not quite baseball, just a long series of innings to be gamed; four quarters of running off tackle into hardened flesh; 18 holes of mutters and putters sailed into the pond. Sometimes a puck in the teeth and dental implants instead of an escape to Tahiti.

Yet, sometimes The Wing-ed Victory of Samothrace smiles on good bad boys–often on fields of honor far down the list of those considered worthy. To which the good bad boy responds “I’m not proud, dude. A win is a win.”

In truth, victory in the tricky game of Christmas tree disposal had eluded him all of his life. As a child  he failed annually at the task assigned by his old man: haul the Christmas tree to the curb with the rest of the trash.

But a denuded Christmas tree is not ordinary trash and isn’t picked up on ordinary trash days. Rather, a special collection day is set aside. The tricky part: the special day is, was and always will be a secret. Curbs lined with dried out trees weeks into February and March provide the proof.

Though annually missing the secret collection day, our boy never left the tree on the curb for his father to spy. He hustled it onto a back porch or into the basement.  At night, months later, he snuck it to the empty lot down around the bend, crammed, by the way, with dozens of others.

Bad tree habits, ingrained early, dog the sinner through life. Not once over decades did he get the tree out on the secret pickup day. Instead, he kept it on the deck or in the garage.

Too old to disappear the tree under cover of night, he waited, typically, until mid July to cram it into the Prius and head for the landfill.  It gave him small consolation to see so many other cars in line waiting to offload their antique Christmas trees.

This year, due to a fluke, he cracked the code.  He did it in mid-November by dint of opening what looked like junk mail. In it, the trash boys set the Christmas tree pickup date for 6 a.m. on a day in mid January. Trembling with excitement he wrote the date on his calendar and dared to hope.

Two months later on the scheduled morning, he got up at 5:55 a.m.  He felt anxious  when he saw no other tree on the curb. When 6 a.m. came and went he was sure they’d gotten him again. But he waited and watched.

Around noon he took a bathroom break and when he got back to the window, the tree was gone. Two days later, on a walk through the ‘hood, he came upon a brown Christmas tree freshly placed on the curb. He smiled. He wasn’t proud, dude, but hey: a win is a win.


©Patrick A. McGuire and A Hint of Light 2014, all rights reserved

This entry was posted in The human comedy and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Around the bend

  1. Merry Un-Christmas!


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