Naughty List for Life
I know, I know. Hard to believe it when you look at me in this 1979 photograph, isn’t it.
Hard to believe it when you notice my adorable “Little Angel” iron-on T-shirt, isn’t it.
Hard to believe it when you see my mom paired it with a mock turtleneck, isn’t it. A mock turtleneck of course being widely recognized as an impenetrable forcefield of which no evil intentions can enter. [Also see heart-printed dickies.]
Oh, yes. There we are. Me. The real one. The one with the vulture talons. The lovable brat you’ve come to admire — though, yes, also the one you wish to retroactively sentence to a life of community service spent cleaning up barf off the Chuck E. Cheese floor.
Christmas reminds me of that girl.
Because this is just about the time of year when good ol’ Saint Nick begins his final inspection rounds — checking off the good and the bad and really getting down to the nitty-gritty list-making of who’s gonna get what they’d hoped for versus what they actually deserve.
You’d probably expect this is right about the time most kids were stepping up their game. A little more please-and-thank-youing. A lot more nicety-nice-nice. All of that jazz.
However, as the Christmas season descended upon my own childhood, that’s right about when things spun out of control. Tantrums, evil scheming, shenanigans, R-rated Jingle Bells lyrics.
Here. This is where it starts. I was born in the month of Christmas. So right out of the gate I was put to the test. And I have to imagine I failed. For instance, I’m pretty sure after this picture was taken I immediately crapped in my new Santa jumper.
Take that, Santa.
From there I advanced considerably in my Yuletide naughtiness.
For starters, I learned the fine art of unfolding paper, foil and cellophane behind my bed without a smidgen of a sound. I took my lessons from the professional Rubik’s Cube solvers. My nimble elf-like fingers could fly across the packages so quickly, so efficiently, that by the time I was done (paper carefully smoothed, ends perfectly retaped, package returned to exact longitudinal location under the tree) not even an expert bomb inspector could detect my sophisticated tampering techniques. This led to some Oscar-worthy performances come Christmas morning in which I feigned a trademarked look of surprise. (Think Ed McMahon on your doorstep holding a Snuffaluffagus-sized check.)
Then there were your garden variety of holiday misdemeanors I’d commit each year. None too worthy of a lengthy discussion since they were none too original.
1.) Hand-picking my own presents to receive from my brother. Followed by (once again) feigning surprise on Christmas morning. “Tony, how’d you know I wanted this exact Strawberry Shortcake lunchbox?” 2.) Sucking candy cane tips into sugarized spears that would rival a prison shank and were also quite suited for puncturing bodily organs and/or decapitating a foam nativity shepherd. 3.) Tantrumming over having to serve as candle lighter during Christmas Eve church services. 4.) Mocking the presents given by the elderly. To name a few.
When the coast was clear, it was go-time. First we ran a few yards of string across the room in front of the stockings. Then we tacked the string to the walls, making sure it was taut and ankle height. Finally we strategically placed a tray of milk and cookies on a stool, just beyond the tripwire.
No, not like reindeer hooves. Did you hear any loud noises?Maybe something like an obese man smashing his face into concrete?Maybe more like glass breaking?Cookies being flung at the wall?