I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was being watched.
Everyone in the store seemed to be shopping happily (or unhappily, depending upon whether or not their purchase included plumbing supplies), completely unaware of my presence–and yet I just knew someone was creeping. Creeping hard.
There in the seasonal aisle was one of those newly popular, animated yard decorations: Santa Claus in an outhouse. That’s right, every few moments the inflated outhouse door opened and a big, old, smooshy Santa peeked out at me before retreating into the privacy of his festive loo. An unfortunate, nose-holding elf stood ready to make sure Santa didn’t continue his midnight flight with toilet paper trailing from the back of his furry, red, snowsuit.
- Impossible to overestimate the tackiness of the American holiday spirit.
I was stunned. Why Santa in an outhouse? Because it is impossible to overestimate the tackiness of Americans celebrating Christ’s birth? Because nothing says winter solstice like a deuce-dropping St. Nick? It almost frightened me to think of what person might choose such a distasteful decoration.
I was still shaking my head in disbelief when a customer joined me. “Don’t let my wife see that stupid Outhouse Santa,” he said, “because she’ll want one, and I’m not having it.” Feeling justified, I colluded with my new friend: “Right? I won’t be decorating my house with that one, either.”
“Hell no,” he continued. “She won’t let me put up the decorations I like, so she’s not getting that thing.”
“Oh? What kind of decorations do you like?” I asked, picturing the traditional holly boughs and poinsettias that I prefer at Christmastime.
“She won’t let me put up one of those hilarious Santas peeing off the roof.” And this he said with unmistakable disappointment.
Santa uses cursive to write his name in the snow.
Suddenly, my head was filled with the words of my Great Aunt Lois: “That’s why they make chocolate AND vanilla,” she’d say, implying that everyone is entitled to his own tastes and opinions. Great Aunt Lois was full of pithy sayings like “If you spend it on peanuts, you won’t have it for popcorn,” and “You kids quit hitting each other with sticks and help me pick up these crab apples and I’ll give each of you a piece of linty hard candy that’s been in my kitchen since before you were born.”
The wisdom of Great Aunt Lois was still echoing when I caught sight of my feet, which were clad in these:
Don't judge me.
From the grave, Aunt Lois was reminding me that the very day I proudly chose to buy these leopard boots, some shopper elsewhere was looking at the same novelty footwear and wondering what kind of fool would spend good money on such frippery. And the answer is: this kind of fool.
Suddenly I couldn’t look down without seeing:
I hear you, Aunt Lois.
So here’s the thing: Some people get tattoos, some people pierce stuff. Some of us bedeck our homes with potty-themed holiday decorations, while others express their loveable quirkiness by collecting pair after pair of totally impractical shoes for no reason other than amusement.
That’s why they make chocolate AND vanilla. Thank goodness.