In search of Christmas


December 25, 1981


There seems to be some debate as to how many wise men there were last night.

Some say three, others say four.
One was plump for certain, a balding man who drove a van of brown and cream, whose serious expression would make you think he was angry.

Mostly, he was sad.

Sometimes, he does get angry at the wise (ass) man in a Pittsburgh Steelers hat, who much too often sits besides him in the van.

This other wise (ass) man often lectures the plump man about the cost of living.

“Ya gotta get out more, Garrick,” this wise (ass) man says. “Books are fine; but women are better.”

To this, Garrick responds with a growl.

This is a standard reply to anything Garrick doesn’t like – and to which our third wise man (sometimes called The Squid) always giggles.

Squid giggles a lot and eats lots of hamburgers, which is why he is growing round like Garrick, but only round around the middle. The rest of him looks like a bunch of matchsticks stuck into a ball of dough or clay.

Now these wise men gather every Christmas Eve to make their search for Christmas.

For about a decade I began to tag along, which leads these three wise men to believe that I am trying to become wise like them.

Some believe I’m simply bored and come along to get my jollies by watching the three of them. There is much truth in this. I’m always curious about what will happen this year as opposed to last.

Last night, for instance these three met with me in a stone house on top of a mountain where we exchanging such touching gifts as push button telephone song books and ceramic frogs with painted on crowns.

Garrick growled at this display of generosity and offered to rip off the brim of Wise (ass) man’s Pittsburgh Steelers hat – and offer Wise (ass) declined, but suggested Garrick might like to rip off Squid’s legs instead, which caused Squid to squawk and complain that he needed his legs in order to continue the night’s mission of finding Christmas.

We all looked humorously at Squid, who gulped and said, “come on, guys, fun is fun, but let’s not get carried away.”

To this Wise (Ass) replied that the only one who would need to get carried away would be Squid since he would no longer have legs.

But this being Christmas Eve and we all being in the Christmas spirit, we decided not to let Garrick rip off Squid’s legs after all. Besides, as Wise (ass) pointed out, we were in our good clothing and did not really want to get the clothing covered in squid blood.

So we left his legs on and took the next step on our journey to find Christmas.

We bundled ourselves up and went out into the bitter cold, climbed into the van, where with Garrick promptly backed the van up into one of the trees.

“A mild accident,” he pointed out. “But didn’t it make your teeth shake?”

We journeyed forth to Wise (ass) man’s parents house, where he gave out yet more ceramic frogs, and then to the dear friend near the city of Paterson where we partook of the holy weed, after which he ventured to Kalico Kitchen, that sacred place of rest where we partook of food.

This is a traditional watering hole, and here we bestowed much grief on Wise (ass) for all the camel shit he’d handed us for a week about not coming with us on this holy of holy nights.

And so another Christmas Eve passed into the Good Book – and now as I jot this down, the day itself has com and I wonder just how many more of these good days shall pass in our short lives and what we shall find next year when we seek out Christmas, and if – after years upon years of search – we will ever find it.


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