Christmas lights are the sedative of the season.
Like a psychedelic drug, they calm the senses,
while at the same time filling the theater of my mind
with a kaleidoscope of vibrant, visual images.
Like adolescent girls at a high school football game,
they giggle and whisper inaudible secrets to one another,
occasionally busting out in spontaneous laughter.
As I stare vacantly at the blinking lights,
my mind wanders to another time and another place:
a sultry, summer night in Mexico years earlier,
when, during the blackness of a citywide blackout,
I could hear the commotion of barking dogs -
first in the distance, then spreading across the city
like people doing The Wave at a sporting event,
a crescendo of canine communication
increasing and then decreasing,
passing through the neighborhood
like the Doppler yell of a passing train.
In the midst of the torrid Mexican heat,
I had awakened thoroughly drenched in a bed of
hot, sticky, smelly sweat.
A nickel alloy in a gold plated cross
around my neck met the salty perspiration of my body,
and a curious allergic reaction occurred:
Wincing in utter agony at a painful physical irritation
produced by the strange chemical reaction,
I violently grabbed the chain and threw it across the room.
In spite of the ensuing guilt of such a sacrilegious deed,
I found myself physically relieved of the searing pain,
and for the remainder of the night slept quite well.
Caught up in a strange, incoherent stream of consciousness,
my mind is transported forward to a time
I stepped onto a city bus,
and my nose was assaulted by the stench
of a million offensive odors:
to the right, stale urine.
to the left, thirty days worth of unbathed body odor.
Forced by convenience's sake
to accept a third alternative no less torturous,
I occupied a seat still reeking
of the remnants of yesterday's vomiting episode.
I was reminded of a previous
night's dinner of liver and onions:
like a line of police in full riot gear,
every taste bud in my mouth,
seeing the repulsive, desiccated substance,
had stubbornly refused to allow one morsel
to pass beyond the police line
at the rear of the pallet.
As a second line of defense,
an automatic gagging reflex had forcefully
hurled the bone dry intruder back to the plate
from whence it came.
Having been virtually vomited upon,
the receiving plate pleaded that I bathe him immediately,
in order that the foul taste, rank odor, and slimy consistency
of half-consumed bovine organ
might be removed from his sight without delay.
Unlike the oyster stew that Aunt Betty
used to serve every Thanksgiving
at her home in Lansing, Michigan,
The dried out consistency of liver is not
an acquired taste that comes with one's age and maturity.
But I suppose that the taste isn't that bad, after all.
Looking out my window across the way,
a "Griswold" display
of blinding, blinking, flashing, flickering white lights
and shining, shimmering, illuminated icicles
causes my own multicolored winter wonderland
to pale sadly in comparison to such a delightful display.
Stinkin' show off!
Undeniable proof that my neighbors
have more Christmas spirit than I.
Each day when I come home from a long day's work,
the trials and tribulations of the day ended,
I find shelter in the refuge of my apartment.
Flashbacks of the workday
like Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome,
mercilessly torture my mind and rack my brain,
sapping every remaining ounce of
the little that remains of my exhausted reserves of
emotional and physical strength.
Desiring to create an escapist form of reality,
I plug in the friendly blinking lights,
plop down on the plush blue velvet sectional
and instinctively hunt for the remote.
Like A.J. Foyt on a Sunday drive,
having no particular destination in mind,
I race through a hundred channels in record speed,
clicking from one end of the television spectrum to the other:
past late breaking repeats of the day's news on CNN;
past low-budget basement-made programming on public access TV;
past the 100th showing of the Seinfeld Soup Nazi rerun on Fox;
past those wacky, syrupy seventies-era problems
faced by the Brady Bunch on Nick at Night;
past sensational, gory, news videos
of death and carnage on Spanish TV;
past angry, hateful, anarchist rapsters
uttering strange mantras no less foreign,
like, "I can tell that you're trying to see the 'W'";
and, "Gangsta...I just wanna be...federal agent...on a P" on MTV;
I am as energized as a lazy dog
lying around on a hot summer day;
and before long a misty cloud of slumber
gently fogs my wearied mind:
my heavy eyelids succumbing
to a welcome, peaceful rest.
After a few minutes of fitful sleep,
I slowly drift back to life
to find three hours have passed,
(The new math makes perfect
sense in Mad Dogg's world,
which has always existed
on a slightly skewed dimension,
and perhaps always will)
awakening to find the vigilant Christmas tree,
standing just a few feet away,
watching over me like a guardian angel,
its ever-flickering, ever-flashing lights
silently dancing in synchronous harmony
to the ticking of the clock on the wall-
like a watchdog and lightshow rolled up into one.
Jesús es la luz del mundo.
After the holidays the tree will come down
and the lights will be packed away in hibernation,
ushering the start of the cold, inhospitable,
gloomy, dreary, darkness of winter.
Months hence they will finally emerge
to evoke the sentiments of the season once again.