Thursday, August 9, 2012

August 9: Shaving, Dance, Excitement

Shaving was not an easy task, for his hand continued to shake very much; and shaving requires attention, even when you don't dance while you are at it.  But if he had cut the end of his nose off, he would have put a piece of sticking-plaster over it, and been quite satisfied.

I love this description of Scrooge's excitement on Christmas morning when he realizes he isn't dead and doomed to an existence of eternal punishment, when he realizes he has a chance to make up for the mistakes he's made in his life.  Scrooge is so excited he can't even stand still long enough to shave his face decently.  He's like a little kid on Christmas morning, waiting to go down and open his presents.

As an adult, I have rarely experienced that kind of child-like excitement.  The times I found out my wife was pregnant.  The births of my children.  The New Year's Eve when I received the letter from my publisher telling me she wanted to publish my book of poetry.  But even these "big" events in my life didn't create the same kind of excitement I used to experience as a child.

As a kid, I remember my birthday being a day that was full of wonderful surprise and anticipation.  Anything seemed possible.  My mom once made me a birthday cake covered with rubber monsters.  They were the kind of toys you get out of supermarket vending machines.  To this day, I remember the magic of seeing that cake, ablaze with candles, knowing it was all mine.  My mom had made this cake just for me.  Christmas was the same.  No matter what those Christmas presents contained, it was like having a pile of fireworks exploding in front of me.

Scrooge has been reborn at the end of A Christmas Carol.  He is a kid again.  Everything is new and exciting.  Not too many adults get that chance.  Not too many adults are able to retain or reclaim that childhood excitement.  I wish I could.  The closest I come now to that kind of emotion is watching my children get wound up on Christmas or their birthdays.  This morning, my son found a toy he'd forgotten about, and he jumped up and down, clapping his hands and laughing.

I don't know when I stopped feeling that kind of excitement.  I do know that, when I shave this morning, I won't be dancing.  I'll be very mature and calm.  That's the job of an adult:  to remain an adult at all times.  If I found a hundred dollar bill in the pocket of one of my coats, I would be very happy.  I might even do an Irish jig.  But then I would deposit it in the bank and pay some bills or buy some groceries.

Maybe the world would be a better place if we all took some cues from our kids.  Maybe we should all find some toys we lost when we were young.

Saint Marty needs a Frankenstein doll, Boris Karloff green and full of electric life.

The best toy in the world

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