The next day, Ives was in the office by eight-forty-five, the last business meeting of the year before the Christmas holidays, with various art directors and executives, scheduled for half past nine. Afterward there would be a company luncheon, and the office would close for a pleasantly long weekend at three, and the parties, held here and there at different agencies and suppliers would begin...
It is a few days before Christmas. Ives has just hosted his annual tree-decorating party the night before, friends and family coming to the Ives' apartment, listening to records, eating lots of food, drinking lots of wine. Now, on the last business day before December 24, Ives and his coworkers are going through the motions. Having meetings. Wrapping up last-minute projects. Maybe writing a memo or two. Nothing really important is accomplished, though. The holidays have taken over.
I love the last day of work before Thanksgiving or Christmas. Usually, there is little to do. There is talk of Christmas shopping or pie making. Sometimes, silliness ensues. Snowflake-making contests. Spontaneous caroling or turkey gobbling. And then there's the baked goods in the break room. Petty arguments are forgotten, and goodwill reigns, for a little while anyway.
It is Friday night. Thanksgiving break for the university has commenced. Over the next week, I have grading to do, books to read, a holiday essay to write . But it's Friday, and here I sit, typing this blog post, listening to Christmas music. For the first time in a long while, I am relaxed. I don't really have to do anything tonight. The world will not come to an end if I choose to crawl into bed right now and take a long winter's nap.
I am very thankful for this moment of peace, however fleeting it may be. A respite is a respite, whether it's Johnny Mathis crooning "Winter Wonderland," Jimmy Fallon writing thank you notes, or Robert Hass translating seventeen-syllable Japanese poems.
Once upon a time, a wizard named Bob decided to take a night off. He popped some popcorn, rented a couple Harry Potter DVDs, and hung a sign on the door to his cottage that read "Visitors Unwelcome."
Half-way through Chamber of Secrets, somebody knocked on Bob's door. Bob paused his movie and yelled, "Go away, or I'll turn you into a toad!"
After a few moments, there came another knock.
Bob took out his wand. "I'm warning you," he yelled. "If you knock again, I will turn you into an amphibian."
Bob stood up, jabbed his wand at his front door, and shouted, "Eat ribbit!" A shower of sparks filled the room.
When the smoke cleared, Bob stormed to the door and threw it open.
On his front step were two pizzas from Pizza Hut and a toad.
"Oh," Bob said. "Did you remember the breadsticks?"
Moral of the story: don't expect a tip from a pissed-off wizard.
And Saint Marty lived happily ever after.
The old man
bent like a sickle.
A tethered horse,
in both stirrups.
Off the Top of My Head