With Christmas past and New Year's gone, it is now time to play with the gifts Santa brought, at least if you are like me and have a 5- and 6-year-old. The day after Christmas, the house was littered with toys strewn from one end to the other. It looked like al-Qaeda had detonated a bomb at Toys 'R' Us.
To give you an idea of just how bad it looked, I was watching TV with the 5-year-old atomic bomb. We were watching A&E's show called "Hoarders." It documents people who hoard things and then people attempt to rehabilitate them trying to convince them to throw some things away.
Now, I am not talking about collecting a few too many old magazines or too many dish towels. These folks have serious problems, so much so that stuff is piled to the ceiling and little pathways exists so that the "hoarders" can go from room to room. It is shocking to me that people live this way. It sort of reminds me of my dorm room in college.
I'm sure this must be very confusing to a 5-year-old mind. The little boy watched for quite some time without saying a word as a cleanup crew removed what seemed like a ton of trash from some poor, screwed-up hoarder's home.
This was amazing -- not the ton of trash being removed, but the fact the little boy was quiet for some time. Finally, he looked very serious, directly at me, eyes steeled, raised one hand in the air with the second finger straight up and said, "See, Daddy, our house doesn't look that bad. We don't really have that much stuff. Right, Daddy?"
I guess it all depends on one's perception.
In an effort to reduce clutter, I took the little boy and the little princess out to our barn to fly an airplane Grandpa Jack sent them from Pennsylvania. It was a Styrofoam plane whose frame slid onto the plastic pistol. You then cranked the gun, pulled the trigger, and the plane took off.
It was a magnificent flyer, doing backward loop to loop and then soaring higher, going round and round. At home, there were too many trees that it kept hitting. So we went to the clear freedom of the pasture.
I decided to kill two birds with one stone and took a bunch of boxes from Christmas, which I decided I would burn behind the barn, helping to promote Global Warming and violating 27 EPD regulations. This brought almost as much pleasure as flying the plane.
As we entered the pasture, the little girl picked up the barn kitty, who had arrived from across the street, and asked if I would hold the plane while she held the kitty. I placed the plane in the boxes, sat them in a pile to burn and took care of some other business.
You probably already know the rest of the story. I returned in a minute, set the boxes on fire and promptly burned the plane beyond recognition.
The Bible warns of the gnashing of teeth. I didn't know it was referencing my children.
The little girl shrieked in horror that it was the best plane ever and we would never have another plane so great. The little boy simply fell to pieces, walking through the barn, kicking up dust, mumbling incoherently as tears streamed from his face.
I stood dumbfounded, holding the molten remains of the once proud super glider, promising to get another one. At that point I would have flown to China if I thought I could.
Hours later, we were back to normal amongst the clutter. I guess I should have become a hoarder.
Contact columnist T. Gamble at firstname.lastname@example.org.