“Dear Mr. Schrock,” read the notice. “From the sounds of it, your kids are killing each other by the light of the Christmas tree. Which, of course, they’re supposed to be taking down. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to come home and facilitate a little peace on earth. It would sure help Mama feel like kissing, uh, the guy in the red suit? Signed, Your loving wife.”
Predictably, my Facebook friends chimed in with chuckling, hooting and slapping of the knees. None of whom appeared to have kids of their own who were killing each other by the light of the tree.
Our local Santa Claus (a.k.a. Mr. Schrock) was used to it. For the 23 years we’d been parents, he’d been subjected to such daily debriefings by an occasionally hysterical female. There was a reason, I knew, that he left for the office every day with a smile on his face. As he’d put it, he used “all eight horses” to get out the drive.
Just the other night, we were watching an IU game together, cheering for Zeller and his teammates when suddenly a graphic appeared. “Mayhem index,” it read.
“Maybe I should post one every day,” I said, laughing out loud as I pictured a whiteboard with a mayhem scale, colored in red and off the chart. I shot a glance at Mr. Basketball hunkered on his end of the couch. He, I noted, was not laughing and simply looked tired instead.
Poor fellow. No wonder he was tired. Him with all those boys who shouted and chased, ate him out of house and home and came asking for money as though he had “Credit Union” stamped on his back. Him with a wife with the red in her hair and a fistful of pom-poms inside.
He hadn’t known it when he’d popped the big question, but he’d picked one that would end up loving him, in part, for his legs. Especially in the winter. When her feet were like ice. And his legs were not. A girl who’d consider him a prime source of heat (a radiator, if you will), begging him to “shoot for a radiance factor of 6” as he climbed into bed.