Another holiday season, another decorating dilemma
Even after they are brutally cut down and kidnapped from their homes, even after they wither and dry, trees … gossip. They do. It’s just one of those odd things in nature. The trees know what’s up. Although they are not vindictive, like the plant life in M. Night Shalaman’s horrible movie “The Happening,” they don’t suffer fools gladly.
Every year at this time, I make for the local spot in Hoboken where the kidnapped trees are held for ransom. Some are propped up “just like they were in the forest.” Others are cruelly bound, leaning against the walls of the old church. They know when I’m coming. And I know they know.
“It’s him! The one that makes you dress up like a hooker! Damn, if I could only move!”
“He looks a little tired. Maybe he won’t have the strength to…”
“Are you kidding? I’ve heard he sometimes tells his friend, B. ‘Oh, I’m going a bit more elegant this year.’ It never happens. Class will out. Utterly common!”
Mr. wOw ignores. After all, this year he’s going more elegant for sure. I’m going to let the tree be the star, not the ornaments and ribbons and tinsel, etc. It’ll be so subtle.
I wander through the rows of fragrant greenery. I prod, I eye the height, I pull down the branches to get and idea of the fullness.
“He’s taking a longer time than usual. Cruel bastard.”
“He’s looking at you, honey.”
“No, he’s not. I’m too tall. He’s looking at her. She seems his type.”
“Hey, hey. Who you calling a ‘type?’”
Finally Mr. wOw makes his choice and half carries, half drags his beautiful selection two blocks home.
“You big sissy, can’t you just haul me on your shoulder, like a gentleman?!”
Mr. wOw and B. prop up our lovely tree and go upstairs. I come down with two boxes of ornaments and two boxes of tinsel.
B. says. “Really?”
“Yes,” Mr. wOw replies. “I told you. This year it’s going to be about the tree. How green, how strong. You know — celebrate nature.”
Mr. wOw begins to carefully, artfully decorate. Only the most beautiful ornaments, the oldest and most treasured. One here, one there, a few strings of tinsel.
“That looks very nice,” says B.
“Yes. But …” Mr. wOw feels empty.
Upstairs to more boxes.
The tree objects.
“Ugh! Jesus! Are you kidding? This stuff is plastic. More ribbons? More tinsel? No wonder you like Elizabeth Taylor!”
Mr. wOw begins to sing: “Jenny made her mind up when she was three, she herself was going to trim the Christmas tree/Christmas Eve she lit the candles, tossed the tapers away/Little Jenny was an orphan on Christmas Day!”
The tree falls silent. Nobody wants to burn.
Mr. wOw brings down more boxes. The tree is groaning but basically silent. A stoic fir.
Finally, it is done.
And believe it or not, this is a more restrained effort. Less ribbons. Less tinsel. A few less ornaments. Eh, okay — Mr. wOw didn’t celebrate the tree. Quite. He celebrated himself and his own overpowering sense of bad taste. The tree was a prop. Sorry, tree.
It’s Christmas. Mr. wOw has to give himself a present.