This past Saturday I was out with some friends, and somehow the movie A Christmas Story came up. If I'm being honest, I should admit that there really isn't a somehow to this. The parts of my life that don't directly point back to a Seinfeld episode are more than likely going to relate to A Christmas Story. Apparently none of these friends have seen it. Even after my quoting it, and pretending to be Randy and not being able to put my arms down, and the discussion of Ovaltine that ensued (one friend even asked if this was a RECENT movie since Ovaltine is popular right now...it is? according to whom? because I'm pretty sure I've never had ovaltine and I consider myself to be abreast of all things popular. Plus, I love all things chocolate). I'm not really sure how these people are my friends actually because anyone who knows me knows that Christmas Eve begins one of my favorite times of the year: 24 Hours of A Christmas Story on TBS. I talk about it throughout the year and then, when the day finally comes, as soon as we’re home from church, I race in and turn on the tube. It’s the only thing I care to watch for the next 24 hours and the best part is that if you have to do other things, you can come right back to your spot in front of the TV and there’s a good chance you’ll see what you missed eventually. The older I’ve gotten the more I find myself quoting it (see above and below). For example, this year I went skiing in our front yard (hollaaa for snow on Christmas Day!), fell down and found myself yelling “I feel like Randy! I can’t get up!” Please note that telling your kid sister you feel like Randy is only going to make her think you're more of a tard than she already thinks. Either way, you are laying there like a slug, trying to make yourself cry because you really just can't get up.
If you've ever seen the movie, you will recall that Ralphies’s mom has a fly swatter in her hand at Christmas, in case either of the boys get out of control. While my mom has gradually stopped using her fly swatter (which she interchanged with a wooden spoon, mind you), she still threatens a “good beatin” every now and then if we’re too out of control whilst under her roof (and everyone knows the Robertsons always function appropriately). And don’t get me started on the cursing father…everyone seemed so dismayed when I screamed “Dad! Come help me get the damn pudding out of the damn spoon!” across the restaurant in real life Mayberry when I was just 5. Even now, 23 years later, we’re trying to figure out where I had heard such language. I’ve had some Flick like friends in my time, but sadly none of them existed when I was 5, so there was only one person to blame...Speaking of ugly words, you can bet if we said them, we got our mouths washed out with soap. This includes words like shut up. I'm sorry but sometimes nothing says it better than “Shut Up, Randy.” But boy did I hate when the soap came out. If they couldn’t find a bar of soap, they’d put liquid soap in our mouths. Since I never got in trouble for running my mouth, I really don’t have an excuse for why I can still taste the bitter, greasy, sanitizing smell of Dial. We didn’t use Life Boy, but I secretly wish we had because then I might have something on my folks if I were to go blind. Right now everything I have on them they can justify. Talk about the ultimate guilt trip. Blown fuses were common in my household growing up and I am proud to say that as an independent woman, while I may not be able to change a flat tire, you can bet I know how to reset a blown fuse. Since the apple doesn’t far from the tree, the fuse box is usually the first thing I locate before moving into a place (that and the doorknobs, but that is a whole different story). Our pet dog, Kayak, lived the life of luxury (when he was alive that is). He had a fan blowing on his bod during the sweltering hot Carolina summers and a heater keeping him warm in the brutal winter. If anyone wanted to dry their head, they had to make sure Kayak was temporarily inconvenienced so you could make sure your locks were shining and straight. And if you didn't, well then you better get on downstairs to the garage and fix the fuse because your mama is trying to roll her hair.
While I skipped the Red Ryder BB gun phase(remember, I'm a g and don't have time for tinker toys), some neighborhood boys had a lot of fun with their BB gun. Because I am very awesome and have never been pesky to anyone, they found me fun enough to include in target practice. Thanks to them, my Atlanta Braves hat has small little specks of holes in it where they shot it after hanging it high up in the tree like mistletoe. And really, who cares about the Atlanta Braves anymore. They'll be cool again about the time Darryl Strawberry stops smoking crack. Winter brought my bullies lots of creativity as they learned they could put rocks in their snowballs before hurling them at me. Unfortunately for me, my bullies didn't have yellow eyes and were instead nothing short of the cutest boys in the 'hood. Fortunately for me, they also loved the art of mooning. Actually, the whole world owes my bullies a big thanks because if it weren't for them, I might today be a tomboy. Because of them, I learned girls who wore baseball hats and talked trash to boys also got shot at with bb guns (this was new for me since talking trash to my brother usually just resulted in getting my hair pulled or getting kicked). While I haven't stopped talking trash, I have been called high-maintenance, whatever that means. You may blame them.
But back to my original point. This conversation has caused me great strife and I've been forced to do an inventory of my friends. Typically, my friend evaluations happen before I cancel our friendship. But from now on, if you haven't seen Encino Man, A Christmas Story or Home Alone, and show a genuine appreciation for each of these films, then you probably shouldn't try to hang out with me anymore. Oh, and the next time I start singing "jingre bells jingre bells, far rar rar, bows of horry" and you don't love it, then you should leave the table. It's just the way it's going to have to be.