By June Mathews
Of a Certain Age
I try to be good. I really do. Especially this time of year. With Santa coming to town, I’d like to think I’ve got at least half a chance to wake up on Christmas morning to a new car or a remodeled kitchen. Not that I really expect or need such lavish gifts but, hey, if they were to magically appear, I sure wouldn’t turn them down.
Like most people, however, there are times when I just can’t help but be bad. Not to the point of criminally malicious, though I can’t say I haven’t considered murder a time or two. (I’ve been married to the same man for nearly 40 years, so I’m entitled.) But considering my age and energy level, my sins these days tend toward the more effortless stuff like gluttony, sloth, and envy of people with active metabolisms and weekly housecleaning help.
But through many years of trial-and-error, I’ve discovered that being truly bad takes a combination of shrewdness and smarts I just don’t have. In other words, I’m not very good at being bad.
As I recently shared on Facebook, I was once caught skipping class on Sadie Hawkins Days, oversized water gun in hand, ready to douse an unsuspecting target. I was hoping for a certain mean girl, but no such luck.
Thing is, I was stationed about 20 feet from the school offices, and – to nobody’s surprise but mine – the first person to walk by was the principal. Fortunately, my trigger finger froze, preventing me from compounding an already sticky situation by soaking the very person I’d never cared to tangle with.
As it was, the consequences of my actions were small. Since it was my first visit to his office, the principal simply gave me a stern talking-to and sent me to class. But to this day, I can’t imagine what I was thinking. I mean, good grief, who skips class then hangs out near the principal’s office?
My weakness in the badness department is further illustrated by an incident that occurred while spending the night at my best junior high school friend’s house, and we decided to roll the neighbors’ yard. Now keep in mind, we’d never rolled a yard before and had no clue how to go about it. But we figured it was a cool thing to do and blindly proceeded with our plans.
Other than that, the circumstances were ideal. Her grandmother, who kept house for my friend and her single father, had recently laid in a new supply of toilet tissue, and both adults were sound asleep.
We took great care in plotting our escape from the house, even thinking to grease the hinges on the front door to minimize any creaking sound they would make when we opened it. Once outside, we hightailed it down the street, only to come to a screeching halt when confronted with one lone, towering pine in our intended victims’ yard, a critical detail we’d failed to notice.
For those of you unversed in the art of yard-rolling, this meant a distinct lack of limbs from which to stream toilet tissue. Thus, the festive effect we were going for would be practically nil. Considering our other options – which were none – we sadly strolled back up the street and gave up on the idea of any mischief-making that night.
All that to say, while my intentions aren’t always the purest, my ability to be truly bad is hindered by a sheer lack of skill and savvy. So maybe Santa will sympathize with my ineptness, give me a passing score in terms of goodness, and drop some major presents by my house this Christmas Eve.
But wait. I’m the one who manages the money around here, and once you’re grown, visits from Santa don’t come cheap. So in the interest of saving a few bucks at Christmastime, maybe I’ll just keep trying to be my bad old self after all.
Email June Mathews at email@example.com.