One of those obscure paragraphs comes at the beginning of Stave Three:
Gentlemen of the free-and-easy sort, who plume themselves on being acquainted with a move or two, and being usually equal to the time-of-day, express the wide range of their capacity for adventure by observing that they are good for anything from pitch-and-toss to manslaughter; between which opposite extremes, no doubt, there lies a tolerably wide and comprehensive range of subjects. Without venturing for Scrooge quite as hardily as this, I don't mind calling on you to believe that he was ready for a good broad field of strange appearances, and that nothing between a baby and rhinoceros would have astonished him very much.
Scrooge is waiting for the Ghost of Christmas Present to appear. He has been in the company of the ghosts of Jacob Marley and Christmas Past. He's seen all sorts of ghouls and tortured souls by this point in the narrative, and he is prepared for the next spirit to take any form, from a baby to a rhinoceros, as Dickens says.
I wish I could say I'm prepared for anything that comes my way during the day. I am not one of those gentlemen of the "free-and-easy sort" that Dickens describes. As any devoted follower of this blog knows, I am a list-maker and a schedule-follower. I don't believe in surprises. Well, I believe in surprises; I just don't like surprises. I initiate plans to avoid surprises.
For instance, I know exactly what I'm going to be doing almost every hour today. I'm working. I'm visiting a friend around lunch time to deliver a belated birthday present (a framed poem and some peanut butter M&M cookies). I'm going home for dinner. I'll give my son his bath. I'll go to choir practice. Then, when I get home, I'll put my son to bed and settle down to watch the final episode of American Idol. (By the way, I missed last night's episode. I had no idea it was on. I'm a little pissed. I spent last night switching between the finale of Dancing With the Stars and America's Got Talent. If I'd known Idol was on, I would have watched it. See what I mean about surprises?) That's my whole day.
The thing I'm most excited about is the belated birthday present. I can hardly wait to see my friend's reaction. She's going to love it. I know she is. It involves poetry, art, cocker spaniels, and cookies. All things she loves. Plus, I'm delivering the gift personally, and we haven't had a chance to visit for a long time. It will be wonderful. At least, that's what I have planned.
No rhinoceros in Saint Marty's future today. Unless he finds himself on the horn-end of a surprise safari.
|Beware all rhinos!|