Sunday, January 2, 2011

"I Like the Christmas Jesus Best"

New Years Day was just as much fun as New Years Eve, with record numbers of patients. It was apparently a good day to take care of all of those annoying little symptoms people have had for months; colds, back pain, dental pain, rash. Not the most challenging night.

New Cathy, whose Christmas tree and decorations came down on Christmas Day before she came to work, was all about ridding us of the holiday decor. I spent about 30 minutes in triage and when I got through with about 6 patients, she had taken it all down. Most of the stuff is pretty old, so I 86'ed the wreath that looked awful; executive decision.

Of course, there was the scandalous Nativity Scene crime. It all started on Christmas night.

It was pretty quiet; we were hanging out in the waiting room watching a very boring movie and chatting when I noticed that the ancient, chipped Nativity set on the small table next to me seemed somehow incomplete.

"Hey", I said to nobody in particular, " did this Nativity come with a Baby Jesus?".

Ellen sat bolt upright. "What?! You gotta be kidding me. I put that out myself! Maybe it fell on the floor?"

We searched around, but it was nowhere to be found. "It's really gone! Who would do that? Who would steal the Baby Jesus? Who would be that low?", said Ellen.

"Well, maybe someone just took it for a joke; you know, like those lawn ornament thingies?", suggested Mary.

"You mean garden gnomes; people would pose them in vacation spots and took pictures? Then they sent the people pictures of their gnomes on vacation?", I said.

"Yes, just like that. Maybe someone took Jesus on vacation", offered Mary.

“Why not?" I said, "to quote my daughter K: 'I like to think of Jesus as wearin’ a Tuxedo T-shirt, ‘cause it says,‘I want to be formal, but I’m here to party too.’"

"That is just terrible. I'm very upset about this", said Ellen in a huff.

I just think it is kind of ironic that someone took the very symbol of one of the most holy days of the Christian calendar from a religious hospital. But that wasn't the end of it, which brings me around to the Christmas decoration sweep over the weekend. Not only was the Baby Jesus MIA, but so was the Mary figurine.

Now Ellen is nearly apoplectic.

"Oh, more crime; what kind of person steals pieces of a Nativity scene. REALLY! People will stop at nothing these days, it is so sad."

“Dear Tiny Jesus, in your golden fleece diapers, with your curled-up, balled-up little fists pawin’ at the air…”

But wait! There's more. During the Christmas cleanup it was discovered that the nativity scene was also missing a farm animal.

Where has Donkey gone? Is he on vacation as well?

Donkey: Oh, man! Where do I begin? First there was the time the farmer traded me for some magic beans. I ain't never gotten over that. Then this fool went off and had a party, and they all starting trying to pin a tail on me. Then they all got drunk, and started hitting me with sticks, yelling "Piñata! Piñata!" What the hell is a piñata, anyway?

This news nearly puts poor Ellen over the edge until Chris from the lab offered an explanation.

"Oh, that. The head broke off, so since I couldn't find the head, I threw the rest of it away".

It is with some effort that I restrain myself from any comments regarding the business end of a donkey. And we have not as yet received any vacation photos, just saying.

Still, I was a little surprised at the lack of quality of the entire sorry set anyway, it should have been long retired. No manger, just a bunch of wise men, a donkey and the holy family sitting on a TV table in the waiting room. Not even in a place of honor.

When I actually put up a nativity set in my house when my kids were small, it went on top of the piano (which I also no longer have). It was the highlight of the Christmas decorating routine, with my kids placing the figures in various positions which were rearranged on a daily basis.

You may recall that my mother was scandalized when the baby Jesus was found to occupy a position on top of the manger when I was a kid, however, that was normal for my family. Often, the scene was embellished with one of the many dozens of Fisher-Price doll people, as well as Match Box cars, Transformers, plastic toy soldiers, boats, china animals, and a fence from one of the 50-pack plastic farm animal sets, many of which also joined the fun. The 3 wise men were plenty crowded; it was quite a party in there. My mother just shook her head.

My daughter drew the line at the plastic He-Man and other Masters of the Universe that my son J would add. "That's not 'propriate", she would say.

"He's guarding Jesus", J would explain.

Usually, though, at the end of the day Jesus was on the roof, but He-Man was at his post protecting him, and all was right with the world.

Next year I'm gonna bring in that He-Man in case Jesus returns. Just sayin'.