Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Uncle Mickey and the House Without a Christmas Tree

In my pre-Christmas wanderings today, I came upon something unusual. It was lying out with a building’s trash. This peculiar sighting would have commonplace in the first couple of weeks of 2016, but not on December 22nd. I beheld a fair-sized, reasonably fresh-looking Christmas tree that appeared—prior to getting the heave-ho—to have been in a stand of some kind. I was left to wonder about that house without a Christmas tree and its backstory. I remember a TV movie from the early 1970s called The House Without a Christmas Tree. It starred Jason Robards and was rerun at Christmastime for years on CBS. But that tale ended on a happy note—the house without a Christmas tree at long last had one.

From houses with and without Christmas trees to “Uncle Mickey.” Well, actually, he’s not my uncle, which isn’t a bad thing. In fact, Uncle Mickey is anything but avuncular. A friend of mine and I cryptically refer to the man as such—and not to his face by the way—because of something that once hung on the wall of his place of business. Strangely enough, Uncle Mickey is better known around town as “Crazy Mickey,” a well-earned moniker based on years of bizarre and sometimes scary behavior. For convenience purposes, I have long patronized Mickey’s shop. Let’s just say the guy has a few anger management issues. On more than one occasion, I’ve seen him hurl his telephone against a wall. Mickey’s unpredictable, borderline violent brand of customer service regularly shocks and awes unsuspecting patrons. A nearby entrepreneur, who offers some of the same services as Mickey, told me that he frequently hears war stories from the frontlines. War stories, that is, from shell-shocked former Crazy Mickey customers. He posed the most obvious of questions that day—and still an unsolved mystery—“But how does he stay in business?”

Uncle Mickey may have finally “Jumped the Shark” vis-à-vis me. In my presence this past week, he punched in anger—the genuine article—an inanimate object that he shouldn’t have punched, and then treated it pretty roughly after that. By the end of our transaction, Uncle Mickey had calmed down sufficiently to mutter, “Happy Holiday!” This is modus operandi. Suffice it to say, I didn’t feel his season’s greeting was all that heartfelt. “But how does he stay in business?” Yes…good question…because he is an equal opportunity Raging Bull, who rages against everybody and anybody for no apparent reason.

Why pray tell have I returned to the belly of the beast as often as I have? That’s another good question. Somebody once told me that I turn everybody into characters. Perhaps there’s some truth to that. Uncle Mickey, after all, is a character extraordinaire—and I, evidently, have a high tolerance for inappropriate behavior. Nevertheless, it’s one of my New Year’s Resolutions to bid a not-so-fond farewell to Uncle Mickey. I understand that I might be missing out on something big on the life stage—bigger than the trashing of the telephones—but I just don't want to chance it any longer. Being Uncle Mickey’s piñata—when he totally goes postal—is something to be avoided by all who know him.

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