Wednesday, December 23, 2009

COLUMN: Fu-Bar which our heroic columnist, on his ne'er-ending search for the magic of Christmas, makes a few realizations:

Christmas Realization #1: Nativity scenes just keep getting weirder and weirder.

Is it just me, or are light-up Nativity scenes taking over our holiday lawns this year in record legions like some kind of undead plastic army? I'm okay with your simple traditional Nativity displays. But this year, I keep seeing what can only be described as Nativity Improv, and I'm not a fan. The other day, I spotted one that featured our infant Savior just a-chillin' in a hammock. But it gets weirder.

I kid you not, I have now seen THREE light-up Nativities this year featuring... a giraffe. No, not a camel. Not even an oddly shaped wise man. A giraffe. And sure enough, if you hit Google, you'll find websites selling "Nativity giraffes." Umm...?

Perhaps it's from the fabled fourth verse, lost in the sands of time:

"By the way, a giraffe was there, too, pa rum pum pum pum,
Why it was there I haven't a clue, pa rum pum pum pum,
In truth it wouldn't be able, pa rum pum pum pum,
To even fit in a stable, pa rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum, rum pum pum pum."

Which brings me to Christmas Realization #2: Maybe bashing a drum in front of a newborn infant isn't a great idea after all.

The Little Drummer Boy may have had the world's best intentions, but it certainly doesn't seem like a smart move. Your average marching snare drum rocks out at 115 decibels. The permissable exposure time for an infant to 115 decibels of noise before permanent hearing loss ensues is .46875 minutes (~30 seconds.) That means one of two things. Either (a) the little drummer boy played one HECK of a short song, or (b) Jesus may have had long-lasting tinnitus -- which, admittedly, could explain a lot. "I said the water was FINE, Jesus, not turn it into WINE, but thanks!"

Christmas Realization #3: Roasted Chestnuts Taste Like Sour Turkey.

My girlfriend and I went to the Geneseo Christmas Walk last weekend, and it was a GREAT night out. In all the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, nothing beats a small town Christmas celebration. Geneseo did NOT disappoint. Block after block of carolers, inviting shops, and perhaps the best cup of 50 cent cocoa I've ever had in my life. And there in the street was something I'd yearned to try all my life: Chestnuts roasting on an open fire. Well, more like roasting on a closed Weber grill, but I'll take what I can get.

I didn't know that chestnuts were as big as hockey pucks. I held out my hand expecting some kind of peanut-sized thing and was kind of aghast when this mammoth blackened nut was unceremoniously plopped into it. I studied the thing for a second and didn't even know how one opened it, or even what part of said thing was edible.

Mister Chestnut Roaster Guy saw our puzzled expressions and immediately explained the chestnut opening-and-eating procedure, which to us on a chilly night of epic distractions made about as much sense as solving a Rubik's Cube. It was something about applying pressure along the seam, but I didn't see a seam. Well, I saw a big "X," which I later learned on the internet is what you have to carve into the beast in order to change the lyrics from "Chestnuts EXPLODING AT HIGH VELOCITY on an open fire."

So I applied pressure to the X, the thing finally cracked... and our hands were delighted to encounter an unexpected treat: sappy sticky chestnut ooze, which I quickly learned does NOT make friends well with a wool scarf. Still, I was feeling accomplished and presented Amy with my very first chestnut. She eagerly took a bite, made a horrified face, and then invented her own avant-garde jazz improv Christmas song, "Spitting Chestnuts Over An Open Sewer Grate."

"Ewww!" she said. "It tastes like sour turkey dinner!"

How turkey dinners go sour is beyond me, but her analysis was enough to expire my curiosity. I didn't even try my half. Chestnuts can roast away all they want, just not in my mouth, thanks.

We left the Victorian walk in just enough time to get some late-night shopping in, which brings us to Realization #4: Christmas Can Occasionally Be Fu-Bar.

My father remains the hardest person to shop for. Every year, all the man wants are tools and pieces of hardware so specific that his Christmas list is often augmented by corresponding catalog numbers. I don't speak hardware, so I thought nothing of it when he told me his #1 Christmas wish list item for 2009: a "Fu-Bar."

So Amy and I tromped into Lowe's, asking bewildered sales clerks to point us to their Fu-Bar section. After a few confused looks, a call home, and a consult with a few different employees, we finally were pointed towards what we needed: A Stanley FatMax Extreme Fu-Bar.

If you're like me and wondering what a Fu-Bar is, you'll have to keep wondering -- even though I'm now the temporary proud owner of one, I couldn't tell you what on Earth it does. It looks to be part wrench, part crowbar, part pickaxe, part nail remover, part finger remover, and a fully capable, multi-use murder weapon. It can basically serve as every item, up to and including the candlestick, from Clue.

"I'm not even sure what kind of work this thing is good for," said the hapless sales clerk.

"I'll tell you exactly what it's good for," I replied. "Colonel Mustard, in the Conservatory, with the Fu-Bar."

Hopefully it'll make my mild-mannered dad happy -- and hopefully my dad doesn't derive his happiness from bludgeoning the innocent, because if I saw someone coming at me carrying one of those things, I'd be dashing through the snow o'er the fields
screaming all the way.

With that, I close the book on this Christmas season. Tidings of comfort, joy, and figgy pudding to one and all -- hold the chestnuts.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

dude... I laughed I cried I might have wet my pants. That was great. Love. Buddha