Monday, December 21, 2009

I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas

Seems that Christmas is on everyone's mind. If that's the case, I have plenty to talk about, but it takes me time to conjure memories because of the combination of ADD, drinking too much wine over the years and pre-Alzheimer's affecting my brain. I'm assuming this post will take longer than it should, but I don't care. What else do I have to do? Plenty, but that's neither here nor there.

Speaking of that pesky Alzheimer's, I was informed this weekend that my grandmother (we call her Mémé) is acting all loopy weird. She keeps locking herself out of her house (in her pajamas), she zones out, and she can't remember anything. This is bad for the obvious reasons, but mostly because now it's probably on both sides of my family, which means I'm doomed. Effed. Gonna go loopy doop when I get older. Do you think my future husband will mind if I forget him and court a new man that wears diapers and can't remember my name? Eh. Probably not. Even if he does care, I won't remember.

Where were we? Oh. Christmas time. Winter wonderlands, sugar cookies and sparkly stuff. Christmas has never been a huge ordeal in my family. I mean in the sense of having to drive to ten different places, see 30 people, exchange 5,000 presents and all that hoopla. There are six of us -- Dad, Mom, Brother, Mémé (Grandma), Grandpa, me. We don't do much on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day. It's the same thing, every year -- Wake up, open presents, eat cinnamon rolls, take a nap, eat spaghetti, watch television and play a board game or poker. The first year I ever played poker was on a Christmas night, and I kicked my dad's, my brother's and my grandpa's ass and took all their money. They were pissed. I felt glorious.

On this Monday before Christmas, the first funny thing that came to my mind was a story involving Mémé and Grandpa. They are quite the odd couple, my grandparents. They are constantly on each other's nerves about everything. One is always mad at the other, and basically their relationship is something you'd see in a movie like "Christmas Vacation," and any other comedy that doesn't have the word "romantic" in front of it. It works though. Miraculously.

A couple Christmases ago, my Grandpa was driving Mémé somewhere (shopping, I presume), and the radio was on. Grandpa zoned out, and driving was his only mission. The song, "I Want a Hippopotamus for Christmas," had just finished playing on the radio, and my grandmother said, in her most serious voice, "I want a hippopotamus for Christmas." Keep in mind, he had no other context from which to base his reaction because he hadn't even heard the song on the radio.

He was immediately furious. Mémé is no stranger to filling up her house with the biggest amount of useless crap that money can buy. She'll get you a bug catcher for Christmas or a hot dog toaster for your birthday. You know, one day you might need it. Those "As Seen on TV" logos on a box will almost guarantee some cash being shelled out of her wallet.

So, anyway, Grandpa was pissed. "What in the hell would you do with a damned hippopotamus?" he said, incredulously. "How would you feed it? What would you feed it? You are not getting a hippopotamus for Christmas. This is the dumbest idea you've ever had."

"That's a song that just played on the radio, you couillon!"

She's French. She basically called him an idiot there. He probably hears that word more than any other, out of her mouth.

He had no response. And I assure you he wasn't embarrassed. He was probably just relieved that he wasn't going to have to be housing a giant hippo anytime in the near future. She, on the other hand, probably started dissecting the possibilities of owning her own river horse. I'm sure there's an "As Seen on TV" pet feeder somewhere on this planet.

Merry Christmas.


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