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8:16 a.m. - 2002-12-23

A CHRISTMAS STORY

When I was a young boy, probably 10 or 11 ... all I wanted for Christmas was a baseball glove.

Not just any glove...but a second baseman's glove.

I was trying out for my school's softball team and I was pretty good. It was the first time I had been good at any sport and more than anything, I really wanted that baseball glove. The school coach had informed me that there was a really good chance that I could be the school's second baseman if I just had the proper glove.

One night at dinner, as my mother asked me how things were going at school, I confessed that there was a good chance that I might be able to become the second baseman for the school's softball team ... if I only had the proper glove.

I remember my parents looking at each other as I told them this. Times were tough, the Vietnam War was in full swing and Christmas wasn't looking good for several families across the nation.

My dad quietly said that perhaps I should ask Santa for the glove.

Granted ... this was March when all this was going on. Christmas was still nine months away. But I prayed to Santa every night and remained on his good side throughout most of that year.

I didn't get a chance to become the second baseman that year, simply because I didn't have the glove. But the coach sat me down in his office and told me that there was always next year and told me to practice, practice, practice.

And get that glove. Whatever it took ... mowing yards, washing cars, praying to Santa...just get that glove.

I'll never forget that Christmas Eve of 1971. I remember my dad being fairly agitated all evening. My mother looked worrisome and sorrowful, as if one of her children were dying.

I went to bed that evening with a head full of dreams. I had been good all year long, I had minded my manners, did well in school, and most importantly...prayed to Santa every night and reminding him that all I really needed was a second baseman's baseball glove.

Around 3 a.m. Christmas morning, I woke up. I laid there in bed for what seemed an eternity before finally making the decision.

I was going to attempt to quietly sneak downstairs and see if there was a baseball glove under the tree.

I got out of bed, slipped on my slippers and slowly took quiet step after step after step toward the staircase.

I gingerly stepped on each step, trying my best not to make a sound.

I got far enough down the staircase where I could peer into the living room where the tree was.

From this vantage point, I couldn't see much of anything. It was dark as night in the room. I strained my eyes to search for a baseball glove, but to no avail. I knew that if I crept any further down the stairs, my parents would eventually hear me, come out to the living room, spank me and call Santa to come get all my presents.

It simply wasn't worth the consequences.

My family had a tradition on Christmas morning ... we stayed in bed until 6 a.m. at which point we were allowed to get up and look at our presents.

But as I said earlier ... times were tough this year for everyone. This year looked as if it would be different. There simply may not BE any gifts under the tree this year.

I laid in bed, staring at the glow-in-the-dark clock until 6 a.m. At which point, I squealed and ran down the stairs.

My parents were already sitting there, drinking coffee and massaging their baggy eyes.

I frantically searched around the tree. There were a few gifts there...mostly for my sisters. But I didn't see a baseball glove.

Dejected, I sat down on the floor Indian-style.

My parents asked if everything was okay, and I mumbled "No".

Dad asked what was the problem and I couldn't hold it in any longer.

I tearfully told him that all year long, all I had wanted was that baseball glove. My coach had shown interest in my baseball abilities and had told me that if I could just get that glove, I could be part of the team. I had been good all year, made my bed every morning, kept my room tidy and clean, did all my chores, did well in school, prayed every night to Santa ... and still ... no baseball glove.

My dad let out a heavy sigh.

He put his coffee down and stared at me for at least a minute.

Then finally, he said the words that still haunt me to this day....

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"You stupid little crybaby bastard. The glove's right over there underneath the table, you big dumbass."

Sure as shit, there was my fucking baseball glove!!

I danced a fucking jig right there in the living room, knocking over a lamp and crashing into an antique end table!! My dad almost beat my fucking ass!!!

I mean...times were tough for several families across the country that year...but shit...I never said for MY family. My fucking dad had a great fucking job and we ate fucking steak at least twice a fucking week every fucking week.

I not only got a fucking glove, but I got a Billy Blastoff, a fucking Big Jim Sports Camper, Big Jim and Big Josh dolls, and about a dozen other awesome fucking toys.

Sheeeeee-it.

I wasn't no poor motherfucker. My daddy was fucking RICH!!!

In fact, every year after we finished opening presents, my dad would pile us all in the fucking car and we'd drive over to the Salvation Army where Dad would encourage us to throw rocks and bottles at all the poor people standing in line and say things like "What are YOU eating today, you poor motherfuckers?!?"

Then we'd go home and eat fucking filet mignon while Daddy stoked the fire in our massive fireplace with hundred dollar bills and we'd all laugh while Daddy bellowed "IT'S GOOD TO BE RICH!!" over and over again while our butler and maids would roll their eyes.

Then, that evening, we'd all go to bed where we paid fucking homeless midgets to dress up as sugar plums to dance around our fucking room, so we could all go to sleep with visions of fucking sugar plums dancing in our fucking heads.

After Christmas break, I went back to fucking school, walked into the coach's office and showed him my glove.

"I guess I'm on the fucking team NOW, huh you fat motherfucker??" I growled.

That fat bastard gulped and said yes. My daddy had funded his family's fucking Christmas with a big fat fucking check to make fucking SURE I got on the team this year.

HA!!

Eat my shit, you stupid motherfucker!!

FUCK!!!

You goddamned skippy, I got my fucking glove for Christmas, motherfucker!!!

I was King Shit now and wasn't nobody stoppin' me from being the best motherfucking second baseman in the history of motherfucking baseball!!

....Sadly ... I took a beaner to the head on the third day of practice, getting a concussion and jarring my brain loose in the process. So I never technically played for the team ever.

I traded that baseball glove to some poor kid at school for a bag of weed, smoked it under a bridge on my way home from school and went home stoned as a motherfucker.

And the kid I traded that glove to??

Do you know who he grew up to become??

Well...neither do I.

Probably some poor motherfucker standing on the motherfucking line at the Salvation Army this year, looking for some dried out motherfucking turkey bones.

HA!!!

Stupid poor motherfucker!!

I got your motherfucking weed!!!!

THE END

P.S. Happy Holidays, motherfuckers!

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