Jack Ohman

It’s down to the rewire for holiday shopping

After complaining bitterly for several weeks that The Christmas Machine had started too early (July 5), I now find myself in December Double Digits already, which means that I am officially behind the holiday curve.

All this means, really, is that:

1. I haven’t bought anyone any presents. At all.

2. My plans for a real Christmas tree for my youngest son’s visit were dashed when he said he “didn’t really like the way they smell.” OK, then.

3. I have, however, seen many presents I would like to give people.

4. I can think of a present I would really like, which is to have my 1956 house electrically rewired.

5. Can wiring be put under a Christmas tree? Will my Christmas tree lights explode in flames if I don’t rewire the house?

6. One year, when I was 14, I received a semi-automatic assault weapon for Christmas. Peace on Earth.

7. In 1964, I got a “Jimmy Jet,” a toy fighter plane cockpit. My mom bought it at the grocery store (as it was only sold there) for $8. In 1972, my Dad threw it away. In 2004, I bought another one on eBay for $495. I broke it moving here.

8. It’s probably worth $8 again.

9. Someone gleefully told me that they were going to go cut down a Christmas tree the other day. I thought, geez, Christmas trees aren’t into Christmas at all.

10. I remember one year a relative tearfully confided a childhood Christmas disappointment: He had never received an auto racing set. So I bought him an elaborate one. He said, “Why did you get me this?” I said, “You said you wanted one.”

11. He said, yeah, like in 1947.

12. So I played with it instead.

13. One year, someone gave me a hideous wooden mask for Christmas. I felt it was a political statement, so I put it in the fireplace. It was really spectacular. Orange paint.

14. Another year, the same person gave me a pillow that had a bass on it. The person asserted that they had picked out the fabric and elaborately hand-stitched it themselves. I was touched.

15. A few weeks later, I saw it in a Dollar Store.

16. I have to admit that I still have this weird sense of anticipation on Christmas Eve. I recall many nights unable to sleep the night before Christmas, and the primordial tension still carries into my 50s. Thank God for beta blockers.

17. I’ll bet no one wires up my house on Christmas morning.

18. There’s a chance, of course.

19. If you do decide to rewire my house, make sure you are bonded and insured, and you’re grounded.

20. We used to leave martinis out for my dad on Christmas Eve instead of cookies and milk. I thought Santa drank martinis and smoked Pall Malls until I was 10.

21. With all those houses to cover in one night, who could blame him, really? Gotta be stressful.

22. To this day, I deny to my children that I’m Santa. I will never admit it.

23. Maybe my children will rewire my house. Unlikely, as they are all liberal arts majors.

24. As he got older, my dad wasn’t that into Christmas, and I never understood it until I realized everyone he loved as a child was gone. Now I do.

25. I am going to go get a book on wiring.

26. And put up my fiber optic tree from Rite-Aid.

27. No sap on these hands. I’m not a tree murderer.

28. Maybe I’ll watch wiring tutorials on YouTube on Christmas Eve.

29. In case Santa doesn’t show up.

30. But he might. Don’t tell my kids.