One of my very favorite films of all time is A Christmas Story. If you’ve never seen this movie I can only assume that you’re newly escaped from a Turner Broadcasting System-free society, or maybe completely brand new to America. I highly recommend you remedy your condition at your soonest convenience, and feel certain you will thank me later. Let’s turn to IMDB for a primer: A Christmas Story (1983)
One of the funniest bits in the movie is when Ralphie’s dad, Old Man Parker (brilliantly played by Darren McGavin, may he rest in peace), wins a prize in a regional sweepstakes. It’s delivered to their home and much drama ensues. Jealousy, envy, lust and deception all play into this one delightful plot point. The outcome is broken pieces of lamp and shards of dreams in nearly equal parts.
It is an almost-perfect analogy for some element of most of our lives. Jean Shepherd knew how to sink a hook, I’ll tell you. For me, I’ve been saying “Frah-geee-lay!” a lot lately and giggling like a maniac. Because I do feel very much like that lamp. Possibly with base set firm on a table, possibly precariously balanced and just waiting for a simple watering can to send me tumbling to the living room floor. My perception of my stability varies almost from hour to hour, depending on specific elements of the day. The MS, re-adjusting to Southern Missouri weather, trying to succeed at a new job…. I get wobbly, but I’m trying to hold on. I’m clinging to balance. I’m laughing at “Frah-geee-lay!” Because what else can I do?