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Decorating A Christmas Tree With A Control Freak

I am a bad Jew, just ask my mom.  You may have to wait a while for the answer since there is a list somewhere in Israel of how I have let the Jewish people down over the years, it is quite lengthy and may take a while for the Rabbis to transcribe my offenses back into English.  Once you get the list, scroll down to page 24, and somewhere in between “Marrying a shiksa”,  and “Getting a tattoo”, you will find “Decorating a Christmas Tree”.  If you get to “Being able to locate a carburetor”, you have gone too far.

Almost every year since I started dating my wife we have gotten a Christmas Tree, which is almost as enjoyable as phoning my mother to tell her that I have a Christmas Tree.  This year, we picked a fine Noble Fir standing about six feet tall.  We strapped it on top on the Prius and carefully drove home.  There is something ironic about killing a tree and attaching it to a fuel efficient vehicle, but tradition is tradition, and I don’t think Al Gore was going to notice.  We propped the tree up, and I was given the assignment of stringing the lights on the tree.

I chose the word “assignment” carefully since it clearly wasn’t a “responsibility” and clearly, as I was to soon be reminded, I was not in charge of this task.  I started my assignment the way I start any assignment in our household.  I filled the house with music from my computer.  It felt appropriate to play Christmas music which I keep handy in case my parents visit around the holidays.

I plopped myself down in front of the tree, plugged in a strand of lights, and started to populate the base of the tree with lights as “Merry F**king Christmas” played on the stereo.

My technique is quite zen.  I clear my mind and think to myself … shove lights in tree … shove lights in tree… shove lights in tree…  and my hands just follow along.  After a few minutes, I noticed that in order to spread the lights evenly I would have to actually get up from my sitting position. This was unacceptable for a lethargic zen master such as myself.  Against my better judgment, I asked my wife for help.  She was more than glad to assist and dutifully came to my side right away.  I handed her the loose end of the lights and enlightened her with my “shove lights in tree” chant, making sure to point to the tree to drive my message home.  I was hoping that she would grunt and nod and follow my five word command dutifully as this was *my* assignment, and I was clearly in charge.

She stared at me with an expression that could best be described as stunned.  I could tell that she was trying to reconcile decades of shiksa wisdom and tree decorating with her own family with my simple instructional chant.  She finally looked at me and said, “I don’t get it”.  She started to explain the “correct” method of putting lights in a tree which involved some sort of circular pattern and equidistant spacing but I was not going to have any of it.  I stopped her cold and repeated my chant while shaking the loose strand of lights at her.  “SHOVE LIGHTS IN TREE!, SHOVE LIGHTS IN TREE!”.  She just stared at me again.  I even tried demonstrating my technique by shoving the lights into the tree and repeating my chant.  She just couldn’t do it.

Defeated, she continued on her other errands and I was forced to stand up and change my position at least twice until every set of Christmas Lights we owned was now shoved into this tree.  If I do say so myself the distribution was even and the tree looks marvelous.  I look forward to the “I told you so” speech that I am going to get when we try and unravel the green tangled mess that I have created once the season is over.

Posted in Personal Insights.