A Christmas Story

“We would like to die a meaningless death, please,” I cheerfully said to the credit union teller as Cathy and I walked up to the station. How Cathy tolerates my antics day after day, year after year, I can’t imagine.

“Excuse me?” responded the incredulous teller.

“Well,” I said, “if we were to have been mugged and killed on the way here, the mugger would have gotten two hundred and fifty dollars in cash. In that case crime would have paid. Crime should not pay, it should not benefit from having meaning. If we give you our money and then get mugged and killed, the crime will not pay and thus our deaths will be meaningless. That’s what we want. Two meaningless deaths please.”

At that, Cathy gave me one of her less-than-tolerant sideways glances and the two women sanely transacted a deposit. I was preoccupied with new and novel plans to thwart crime.

On walking toward the exit, having indeed thwarted crime, I saw a four-foot-tall Christmas tree. I don’t much care for Christmas as it is a traditional means for people to demonstrate how little they know me by granting me the honor of a professionally-wrapped store-bought gift I could not possibly want.

The tree itself would not let me pass. It was as if it got in my head to take control of my feet to keep them firmly planted and my eyes riveted on itself.

Unwilling, I looked at the tree and it just stood there with a bunch of hand-made paper Christmas tree ornaments hanging from it. I thought two things immediately. Firstly, I don’t go about with paper cutouts of people hanging off me so why would this tree be standing there with paper trees hanging off it? Secondly, I cleverly thought, the pattern should be extended and the paper-tree ornaments should have tiny little trees hanging off them and we would then all have a merry Mandelbrot Christmas!

As I turned to approach the teller — my favorite teller — to suggest extending the ridiculous pattern, she blurted out that the credit union has adopted two needy families and the ornaments each have a person and a gift idea on it. I callously stole one of the ornaments from the tree and examined it.

One side of the paper tree read, ‘four year old girl’, and on the other side it suggested ‘musical toy’. It must be said that a four-year-old girl cannot steal my heart because she already has it. That is my nature. And knowing a thing or two about music . . . well . . . the bait has been taken and the hook set.

Completely unplanned we spent the rest of the day searching for a musical gift for a poor four-year-old girl we will likely never meet. I set two rules: It must not need batteries so none need be purchased in the future to make it work, and it must not have a plug which could get lost making the toy useless. A picture of what we settled on follows.

Toy Piano

I cannot recommend this toy piano simply because I was unable to test it. It seems like a good thing. I still have my 50-year-old toy piano from the same company which is my first piano. I want to give someone the same start that I had.

4 thoughts on “A Christmas Story

  1. Now THAT’S a shining example of the meaning of the season. Thanks for doing your part to restore my faith in people. I start my day with a warmed heart.

  2. Oh my god. That is the cutest of the cutest toy pianos ever! Wow. What a lucky girl. I love the whole meaningless death conversation. I’m sure it made the teller’s day 😉

  3. Beautiful, beautiful,beautiful. I love it! this is nice Jim expecting your new Poconversartion. 😉

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