Ode To A Little Bag Of Lights And Fuses
Thank you, little bag of lights and fuses, for believing in a version of me that doesn’t exist.
A version where I’d have planned my life infinitely better and taken up a real profession like dentistry or real estate and would have thought through the financial decision of being a dad to four humans.
Thanks for giving me a tool, a way, a built-in avenue to solve the problem of a broken strand of lights at Christmastime, easily the most breathless, penniless, stressful, exhausting time of the year.
I love that you think I would have the time to fix a strand of lights instead of just tearing them off the tree in a white-hot, swearing rage and slam dunking them into the nearest receptacle.
I love that you believe that there’s an option other than just buying another full set of lights.
I love that you can imagine me with time, and patience, and a well-lit repair area, instead of where I usually fix everything: with a butter knife, lit by the dim screen of a waning iPhone, on top of a spilling cereal box as children cry and scream like banshees around me.
I am a man with tools. I have tools that other people don’t have. I have specialized tools like chainsaws and roofing guns and wet saws for tile and crimpers for hoses. But I don’t use any of the tools any more. Because I am a dad, and because I am tired.
But I love, love, love that you think I might.
Thanks, little bag of lights and fuses.
I love that you included some bulbs that are clear and some that have red tips. I remember, from better days, that it means that I can replace one or the other to make the lights blink.
I love that you have enough faith in my judgement that you might think I’d choose to make the lights blink.
I love that you don’t think that would lead to Lady Castleton leaving me on the spot.
I love that you think our home isn’t the absolute center of chaos in the universe and so it could stand to have a bit more ‘action’ in the living room.
I have to admit, the thought of blinking lights on a tree in a dark room would mean that —half the time— I would experience the blissful darkness of death, where I wouldn’t see all of the snow boots and balled up, just-removed socks and hats and gloves and random papers of indiscernible origin and bits of tracked in dirty snow and ice and various glued construction paper objects d’art (that my kids made in nine minutes but are now more priceless to them than uranium) that I’m picking up off the floor every three minutes.
I love that you think that all homes have a ‘mud room’ or comparable entryway storage facility out of the Pottery Barn catalog.
I love that even if you’re a man who couldn’t afford that, but basically built one from scratch so all the kids would have places for everything, I love that you think my kids respect me enough to do that.
I love that you think I’m a good enough parent to demand that my kids do basic tasks, rather than just be passively treated like a run of the mill galley slave.
I love that you’re so confident in my parenting ability that you know that long ago, when these decisions needed to be made, that I was tough and demanding and laid down the law, instead of being a coddling pushover and thinking “I’ll model good behavior for them and they’ll come around.”
Because you know that would have been moronic.
Thanks, little bag of lights and fuses, for including FUSES. Two of them. In case, while we’re all sitting around, quietly sipping egg nog and spiced apple cider, with holiday music playing at a perfect level, and a strand of lights flashes off, I might say:
“Hang on kids, I’ll just quickly swap out that fuse”
…and my kids might say
“we’ll help you daddy!”
I love that you think my kids have ever helped me do anything except gain weight and question the reason for my very existence.
I love that you think they can drink anything without spilling it on the worst possible, most expensive, most impossible-to-replace thing.
I love that you think they have the capacity, at any time of the day or night, to stop making noise.
And I love that you know that my extensive knowledge of Christmas lights means that the fuse box is located either in a plastic box, wired in series on the strand, or in the plug body itself.
I love that you can imagine me knowing that a fuse was the culprit, rather than a bulb, and acting accordingly.
I love that no matter where the fuse box is located on the string of lights, that it’s invariably locked with a tiny phillips head screw.
I love that you’re confident that I know where that particular screwdriver is in my house.
I love that you know that I think it’s in the junk drawer, but it isn’t.
I love that you can imagine me just putting my hand on it when I need it, and lifting it in victory with a smile and a knowing wink.
I love that you don’t imagine what I’d really do is loudly root around for it, rifling through the spilled staples and paper clips and loose gum sticks and receipts and rubber bands and half a dozen other little bags of lights and fuses and dusty shit in the junk drawer, making the junk drawer even messier. If that’s possible.
I love that you don’t imagine I’d be mumbling to myself about kids and respect and then not finding it and starting to look over my family like the emotional terrorists that they are and wanting to scream like an insane person WHO STOLE MY GODDAMN LITTLE PHILLIPS HEAD SCREWDRIVER THAT I USE EXCLUSIVELY FOR BATTERY COMPARTMENTS ON TOYS?
I love that you have the faith that my barely controlled primal rage over the dumbest shit in the universe isn’t setting my kids up to woo and partner with rageaholics so they can feel ‘comfortable’ and ‘at home’ again.
But most of all, I love that the bag that this came in isn’t resealable, like a ziploc bag. I love that you’ve offered me solution — many solutions for various problems really — but you know that I won’t actually use them.
But even though we’re both part of the same shared lie, I love that you’re giving me a glimpse of the future.
I love that, someday, things might not be so crazy and seemingly unmanageable and hectic.
I love that there might be a time when I’m not an inch from Hindenburg level disaster at all times.
I love that I can see a future, through the vomitous, norovirus cloud of sleepless parenting misery, where I might just crack that bad boy open and pull out a fuse and unleash hell.
Thanks for believing in a better me, little bag of lights and fuses.
And Merry Christmas.
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