Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Of all the Charlie Browns in the world . . .

This holiday season, I brought a shockingly lower level of motivation to my forced task of appropriately decorating the library's front window display than ever before. (I don't mean to turn this blog into "Days of Our Front Window Display," but there's little else of note to document around the library these days. The Annual Holiday Luncheon, for which I was the Chairperson of the Executive Planning Committee, went off without a hitch. No meat was shanghaied, no undercover barbecue-recovery missions were undertaken, and no high level Meat Study Group Task Force had to be convened to deliver a post-disaster policy review report to the administration. As co-Chairperson Bananappeal repeatedly blurted, this year's slogan, "Hell No, the Meat Won't Go!" held true.)

Once this triumph was complete, it was time to turn my attention to the dreaded front window. In recent weeks the rest of our library has undergone its annual transformation into a decorative showplace replete with Christmas trees, creepily animatronic Santa Clauses, and a sprawling miniature (and that is an utterly accurate contradiction in terms here) holiday village, with stacks of actual "books" only a seemingly distant backdrop. Due to my Rumsfeld-ian lack of pre-attack planning, when I finally got around to tackling the front window I was left to work with the mere scraps of decorations from decades past scattered throughout our storage attic.

After a few trips up and down the stairs of the Loft of Lost Decorations, I assembled a halfhearted display of papier mache reindeer and shabby fake boxes of presents in dusty, disintegrating Korean War-surplus wrapping. I was about to resort to the ultimate library display window cop-out--scattering themed books throughout the display simply to take up space and appear colorful . . . and, of course, promote reading--when I spotted a lonely, battered, little tree, just the right size for shoving in as a centerpiece. In the midst of this Charlie Browniest of moments, I was struck with true inspiration.

Like the looting Grinch swiping every last one of Cindy Lou Who's toys, I grabbed every sorry tree decoration feature I could find out of the attic's ample and quite decrepit supply. I was determined to make some sort of design statement at the epicenter of our library's ungodly explosion of Christmas decoration megalomania (or "mini-lomania," in the case of the tiny holiday village whose miniature inhabitants sing and play four different Christmas carols at a time in an approximation of the noise torture techniques practiced by the U.S. military blockade of Panamanian strongman Manuel Noriega's compound during the 1989 American incursion).

All afternoon, in between serving our library's relentless customers, I added more swag to this tiny tree which nearly buckled under the weight of all the Christmas crap. A sparkling string of twinkling, fire-hazardous lights; a leftover two-foot length of toxically-shedding tinsel; an assortment of battered, well-worn ornaments hung with thrift store elan by twisted paper clips--I shoved everything I could find on this poor tree until it could barely stand on its own. On a final trip to the attic I found the crowning piece, a garishly flashing star nearly half the size of the tree itself that would put the perfect brand of Vegas-flavored icing on this overcooked cake.

I had almost begun to doubt my artistic instincts by the time I ventured outside to take a peek at the results. Had I gone too far? Worse, had I not gone far enough, and would my attempt at a bold statement simply get lost amid the larger backdrop of almost equally overwrought decoration throughout the rest of the building? I knew I had ultimately triumphed, however, when I was joined outside the library by our new evening page who was curious about the display. She almost physically recoiled at the sight of it and twisted her face into a lemon-biting scowl. "What eees that?" she demanded in her distinct Peruvian accent. "Don't you think you've gone way too far? That tree ees so tiny, and there's just so much . . ."

Como se dice "crap" en espanol?


Blogger pastgrace said...

I am definitely running by the library today. I've got to see this myself. Love your entries! You bring a smile to my face everytime.

7:20 AM  
Blogger Adjective Queen said...

Okay, so you had to rub it in that under your chairmanship, the holiday luncheon was a smashing success. You didn't have to contend with the sticky fingers of an unnamed ravenous guard, did you?! I hope a tiny bear from the nearby TinyTown waylays you in the stairwell and threatens you with his teeny paws.

7:32 AM  
Blogger GypsyFolklorist said...

Looks like someone has alreaady been hitting the nog pretty hard, AQ! On a lighter note -- your gaudy Christmas setup doesn't rival half the stuff I see in people's windows on my way to and from work. I think that there is room for more white trash. I say "go big, or go home." Please don't go home. Weigh that muther down until the bough breaks. That's all I'm sayin'.

p.s. that em dash is just for you. I know how much you love them.

7:56 AM  
Blogger Zena said...

Aaawwww, I thought it was cute! In fact, I intend to come by and take a pic of it before u take it down! Luv ur blog, great writing!
Don't think u can comment on my blog if you don't have a yahoo! blog, but I think u can proably see it! Here's my address:;_ylt=AgpTwncqrJ6rShyT6Fx_unXlAOJ3?cq=1

3:48 PM  
Blogger GypsyFolklorist said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

12:04 PM  
Blogger GypsyFolklorist said...

Hey DooL, I hope you are well. My condolences for your loss and hope that you made it to orientation today. If there is anything I can do, let me know.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Flatulus the Elder said...

Hey Carlos Brown, nice post. It makes me ponder the War on Christmas we hear so much about these days. Radical atheists, God love 'em, are not half the threat to the Orgy of Forced Brotherhood we like to call Xmas as the over-decorating and under-achieving showboaters who don't realize (unlike our host on this site)that their bad taste makes a joke of the season. But repetitive venting aside, this is a wonderfully funny post.

8:21 AM  

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