Monthly Archives: December 2007

Jesus Versus Darth Plagueis

It’s 3:00 p.m. on Saturday afternoon and we are driving home after a morning filled with indoor soccer practice and an afternoon spent in a crowded mall buying Christmas presents for various friends and relatives.  The conversation in the car is about to take a sudden left and then a sharp right into the religion of the Star Wars obsessed, but right now I am still thinking about the mall…

Santa Claus was at the mall, but he’s taken a break, probably for lunch, and so we wait in line for his return.  Snags has scoped out Santa’s sled and determined that this is the REAL Santa, because “Look!  He’s got three XBOX 360s in his sleigh!  And why would he have those if he wasn’t the REAL Santa?”  Snags is torn between waiting not so patiently in line for Santa to return from where ever he’s ventured off to, and leaving the line to hunt him down somewhere in the mall, perhaps in the food court.

“I don’t think Santa wants to be bothered when he’s trying to eat his lunch,” I tell Snags.
 
He ponders this for a moment before he spots Santa’s coat and hat hanging from a hook near his sleigh.  He decides that I am probably right, that it might be hard to find Santa since he’s left his uniform behind.  “He might look like a regular guy out there.  Except,” Snags proclaims, “Santa has a long beard, right?  He couldn’t take that off!”  

I convince Snags that we should just wait where we are, Santa’s due back in 25 minutes anyway, and the line forming behind us has at least 30 people in it.

So we wait, and I listen and silently sigh while Snags goes on to ponder where Santa parked his reindeer.  He wants to look for them, but I know the parking lot is full of nothing but cars.

Eventually Santa returns, carrying a metal lunch box and a large thermos, proof that he was indeed on his lunch break.  But now he’s full and ready to have hordes of children sit on his lap, tell him what they want for Christmas, and get their picture taken with him.

When it’s his turn, Snags lies and tells Santa that yes, he’s been a good boy all year.  I know he’s lying because even though I cannot hear him speaking, I see his nervous glance in my direction as he answers.  His worry is palpable, I can tell he’s afraid I might jump forward and refute his claim to goodness.  I don’t.  I let him convince Santa that he is worthy of the three things he’s asking for this year: a Star Wars LEGO Star Destroyer, a Quadrilla Twist and Rail (made in China, full of lead?), and some kind of door alarm for his bedroom door.  I don’t understand this last request. I am not surprised by it, but this is the child who is afraid of fire alarms sounding and home security systems beeping.  An alarm on his bedroom door suggests he’s entered into therapy, the kind where the doctor purposely exposes you to your fears so that eventually they don’t scare you anymore.  And I know that is not the case.

I fork over $19.99 for two 5×7 shots of Snags forcing a nervous smile on Santa’s lap – nervous I’m sure because he still doesn’t know if he’s got Santa fooled or not, and he doesn’t know if a lying alarm might sound when he climbs down from Santa’s lap. 

Lately, before bed, Snags has been looking at an old book I have on Rome.  I bought it back in ancient times, when I was a Junior in High School, and went to Rome on a trip.  The book is full of glossy color photos of fountains and Roman architecture and statues.  Michelangelo’s Pietà has caught his eye, so I’ve been trying to explain it to him.  It’s Christmas time, and we should be celebrating Jesus’ birth, but Snags is currently worrying over Jesus’ death.  He won’t leave it until Easter and it must be playing somewhere in the back of his mind because now in the car, on our way home from the mall and Santa, we pass a church with a cemetery beside it.  Snags asks from the back seat, “Mom, why do all the gravestones have crosses on them?  It’s not like there are a whole bunch of Jesuses buried all over the place!”

My husband is driving and so we explain, as best we can, what the crosses mean.  Snags seems to understand and we continue on our way until the sudden left and sharp right come at us, like questions from a child’s mind so often do, out of nowhere…

“Mom,” Snags asks, “Do you know the difference between Jesus and Darth Plagueis?” 

My head starts to spin with the craziness of the question.  I feel like Dorothy in the tornado in The Wizard of Oz.  “Um…” I stall.  “Uh… let me think,” I say.

And here my husband starts to shake with silent laughter.  I can see him trying not to pump a fist into the air in triumph, trying not to say “Ha! He asked YOU!  You take that one…”

“Uh…”  I say.  “Jesus was a good guy, and anybody with Darth in their name is a bad guy?”  I venture.

“How about Jesus was a real person and Darth Plagueis is just a made up character in a movie?” my husband offers, trying to help me out, although I can see he’s still shaking with laughter.

“Yes, that, but also,” Snags says.  “Also, Jesus could save himself and Darth Plagueis couldn’t!” 

And I sigh and say that “Yeah, I see what you mean.” Although I don’t.  I have no idea who Darth Plagueis is, expect to know that he’s from Star Wars, and a bad guy to boot.  I say a silent prayer promising to take Snags to church on Sunday if lightening doesn’t strike us all down right then and there. 

It turns out that Darth Plagueis was a Sith Lord who found a way to prevent death and create life. The legend of Darth Plagueis is recounted in a brief scene in the movie Revenge of the Sith where Chancellor Palpatine tells the story to Anakin Skywalker.  “Ironic,” Palpatine says.  “He could save others from death, but not himself.”

And somehow, some way, Snags has remembered this scene, these supposed facts, and put them together into a Jesus versus Darth Plagueis scene in his mind.

Dinner and bedtime pass without incident as I think about what mass we should go to in the morning.  It will depend on what time I get back from my morning run.  My clothes are set out and ready to go.

But at 3:00 a.m Sunday morning I am awaken from sleep by Snags calling, “Mom! I need you!” I go into his room to find he’s gotten sick in the middle of the night and vomited all over the place.  It looks like I won’t be running in the morning after all.  And church won’t be seeing the likes of us this weekend either.  I guess Jesus and Darth Plagueis will have to work things out without us.  I hope the good guy wins.  His birthday is coming up, after all.

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Filed under Christmas, Darth Plagueis, humor, Jesus, LEGOs, life, Santa, Snags, Star Wars

Under Penalty of Law and Other Things

Having just purchased a new bed, one larger than I’ve ever had before, and consequently, new bedding to go with it, I am once again reminded of those formidable tags that hang off of home furnishings and threaten you with jail time if you so much as wave a pair of scissors in their direction.  You know the tags I am talking about, right?  The ones that are large, white and read Do Not Remove UNDER PENALTY OF LAW… 

As a child I was both intrigued and frightened by those tags.  My parents had a set of stacking foot stools: dark wood with mustard yellow colored fake leather cushioning, about 2 ½ feet square, and one stacked on top of the other. Take them apart and you had two foot stools.  Stacked, you had one uncomfortable too-low-to-the-ground seat.  Still, I suppose it was a better option than making guests sit on the floor when the sofa was already full.

Anyway, on the back of those stools were the Penalty of Law tags.  I pondered them often.  I am not sure if they had the word consumer on them back then.  If they did, I didn’t know what consumer meant.  So I didn’t understand why the tags couldn’t be removed.  How would they know? I wondered.  And how quickly would the police show up at my door if I removed one of the tags?  It just didn’t make sense to me.  My parents owned those foot stools.  They paid for them. They were in OUR family room. But the tags, they belonged to THE LAW.  Cut them off and it was obvious: you’d go to jail.

Of course, later, when I was older, I realized that wasn’t true at all and I had my fun cutting Penalty of Law tags off furniture anytime I came  across them.  Especially the ones on furniture that belonged to me. I understood the word consumer by that point.

But now, once again, I’ve got tags hanging off my new mattress and my new comforter and new pillows and I am a little wary about touching the tags.  I think it’s because the bed we bought, it has a 30-day (or should that be night?) sleep guarantee.  My husband and I bought the bed, but if we don’t like the quality of our sleep over the next 30 days, we can call the store and exchange the mattress for a different one.  Or so they say.  And so, I am reluctant to cut off the tags.  It’s my bed, sure.  But if I cut off the tags and then decide in a few weeks that I don’t want it anymore, will they come after me for removing the tags?  That old fear has crept back upon me.  Christmas is coming, and I’m not willing to be penalized under the law for cutting the tags off a mattress before my 30-day trial is up. In other words, I’ve got things to do HERE.  I’m not knitting a stocking, like Martha, from a jail cell.  

So far I like the bed.  It’s comfortable.  It’s large.  It’s so large, in fact, that there is no need for ANYONE to touch me while I am sleeping.  That includes my husband.  And the dog.  There’s room enough for all of us.  Each in our own little area.  Only… my little area of comforter, it’s got those damn tags hanging off of it.  When I pull the comforter up at night the tags hit me in the face.  And it’s night time, I’ve just climbed into bed.  I don’t feel like getting up to find the scissors.  So there I am, with the tags waving in my face all night long, taunting me.

Last night I slept with the tags in my face and my pajamas on inside-out.  It’s not something I normally do, wear my pajamas like that, and I didn’t do it by mistake.  Snags begged me to.  The weather man had forecasted some snow showers for our area today, and Snags’ kindergarten teacher had told his class that if they slept with their pajamas on inside-out it would make it snow.  The sleepy-time version of a snow dance, I presume.  So Snags took his bath then came downstairs with his pajamas on inside-out. 

“They’re only calling for an inch of snow,” I told him.

“Yes, Mom.  But PLEASE, if you and dad would sleep with your pajamas on inside out too we might get like eight FEET of snow!” he said excitedly.

I sighed but agreed to try it. 

I don’t think I’ll be doing that again.  We didn’t get eight feet of snow, but there must be close to five inches of snow out there right now. The roads are messy. Schools let out early today.  I bet they’ll be delayed tomorrow.  We have to shovel.

I thought we were in the middle of a global warming crisis. The only explanation I can find then, for this snow, the extra snow above what the weather man called for, is the trick of the inside-out pajamas.  I think I’ll have a word with Snags’ teacher for even suggesting it, for encouraging this snow along.  

The snow that fell is the dry fluffy kind.  The kind that doesn’t stick together well at all.  Snags came home from school today and made a snowman by scooping snow into a Glad Ware container and sticking a carrot into the middle of it.  He wanted to bring it inside, store it in the freezer.  I wouldn’t let him.  I told him he couldn’t do it, UNDER PENALTY OF LAW.

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Filed under humor, life, snow

A Letter to Santa

Dear Santa,

If the attached letter seems familiar to you it’s because I sent it to you last year.  I wrote it myself right after breakfast on December 25, 2006. Today I got to thinking, and it hit me how December is the time of year that you get inundated with letters.  And also, I started wondering about your filing system.  I mean, Christmas is the type of holiday where once you cross things of a person’s list, I imagine you can throw the lists away.  That of course got me a bit concerned.  Perhaps in all the seasonal activity my letter from last year was ditched to make room for all of the new letters that are probably just now arriving in your mail box.  Therefore, I thought it best that I send this to you again, as a simple reminder for when you deliver the gifts this year.  I would really appreciate it if you would read the attached letter and commit it to memory.

Sincerely,
Belle

(Attachment)

Dear Santa,
What were you thinking, leaving three gifts under the small Christmas tree in Snags’ bedroom like that?  I’m sure it seemed like a good idea at the time, but really, it was stupid, stupid, stupid. 

Snags woke up at 5:30 this morning.  On any OTHER morning, he might have looked around and gone back to sleep.  But not this morning.  Oh no.  He woke up, looked around, saw the three presents under the tree, and screamed “Santa came! Mom, Dad, Santa came!  He left me presents under my tree!” and then he came careening into our room.  He threw open our bedroom door in the same manner that guy in the kerchief from “Twas the Night Before Christmas” threw open the sash.  He used such force it’s a wonder the door’s still on its hinges.

So of course, since there were gifts under his tree, he had to open them RIGHT THEN.  And of course, since he woke the whole house, dog included, the dog had to go outside to do her business, RIGHT THEN. 

My quick thinking husband, upon returning from letting the dog outside, came upstairs to say “I don’t see any presents under the big tree, so Santa must not be finished yet.  We better go back to sleep so he can bring those presents.”

Of course, Snags was too excited to go back to his bed, so he stayed with me, and my husband went into Snags’ room to sleep.  I then had to go retrieve Snags’ tag blanket, his Mickey Mouse doll, and his “good” Scooby Doo pillow.  But since I can’t tell the two Scooby Doos apart, I had to bring both of them to him. 

I thought that would be it, that me and Snags, along with Mickey Mouse, his tag blanket, the two Scoobys and our dog, Pee Pee, would all settle down and go back to sleep.  But I was wrong.

Snags had to go to the bathroom and although he didn’t want to get up and risk delaying Santa even further, he couldn’t stop wiggling from the urge to pee.

I finally convinced him to just get up and go to the bathroom already, but, I insisted, he had to come right back to bed and go to sleep. 

And he tried, he really did.  But he kept hearing noises.  The sound of your boots.  The jingle of bells.  And the sound of your boots again.

Eventually, as he listened to your clomping and jingling, he wiggled and squirmed his way back into an hour’s worth of additional sleep.  Which I suppose I should be thankful for, it’s better than nothing, after all.

But at 7 am he was up and down the stairs faster than you could say “Merry Chr…”

So anyway, thanks for all the gifts and all.  But next year, can you just leave them all on the main floor under the big tree?  He’ll find them, really, he will.

Sincerely,
Belle (a very tired Belle)

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Filed under Christmas, humor, Santa