Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Rise! Rise! RISE!

My husband has a problem. He is obsessed with inflatables.

He doesn't have a life-size blow up doll issue, like Lars and the Real Girl. That would be weird. No, I'm talking about those inflatable monstrosities you see on people's lawns around the Christmas holidays. Except in our yard, we don't wait til Christmas.  This year, we had an inflatable pumpkin and are now proudly displaying an inflatable turkey, which my son keeps calling a chicken. Every night, my kids fight over who gets to plug it in and every night, when I unplug it, the turkey head falls right over like I've just hacked it down with an ax.

Last year, if you recall, my husband was on a mission to find and purchase an 18-foot tall reindeer. Well, I honestly think he spent all year secretly trolling eBay for the blow up decorations of his dreams (and my nightmares.) I have evidence - namely the fact that every now and then, he sent me a random e-mail with no description, just a link to a website. I received notices about multi-hued Christmas trees, Snowman families, and Santas the size of SUVs. But the true quest was that damn reindeer.

So, being a loving and supportive wife, I joined in the search one night. And all I can say is, Santa is one busy, busy (inflatable) man. Name a mode of transportation and Santa is riding it. There is the standard train, plane, and automobile (in your choice of sled, RV, Harley, fishing boat, quad, tractor, snowmobile, helicopter, bi-plane, tow-truck, food truck, dump truck, fire truck, and of course, rocket ship.) Distinctly non-standard but also available are Santa riding a hot-air balloon, sailing a pirate ship, and quite improbably, riding both a polar bear and black bear.

Would you like to display Santa in a more candid scene, straight from his daily life? You can inflate Santa at the stables feeding the reindeer, making toys in his workshop, hosting an ugly sweater party with a group of snowmen, and of course, taking a bath. Who doesn't want naked Santa on their front lawn?

Would you prefer Santa in action mode? He jet skies. He walks the dogs. He plays soccer (in shorts, no less.) He reads a story to a gaggle of small children and he also sing carols with gentle woodland creatures. He checks his mailbox. He makes snow angels. He also obviously spends his off-season down the shore because there are many tableaus of him carrying a surfboard, reclining under palm trees, taking a turn in the lifeguard stand, and driving a Woody.  

For those of, shall we say, less discerning tastes (and I realize what a slippery slope that is in terms of inflatable Christmas decorations), there is also Santa in a deer stand, riding a John Deere tractor, wearing a cowboy hat and gun belt (with our without stage couch), and of course, taking a dump in an outhouse. Really Santa? You can't just use one of the bajillion indoor bathrooms during your rounds? The pinnacle of tastelessness is not a Santa, thank God, but a "redneck" Nutcracker, which has a gut overhanging his pants, a trucker hat, and, I shit you not people, an actual inflatable can of beer in his fat little hand.

Would you like a Black Santa? No problem.

Santa roasting to death while stuck in a chimney while a hapless reindeer tries to work a fire extinguisher? Yes, Virginia, there is a third-degree burnt Santa Claus.

There are also a multitude of Mickey Mouse, Snoopy, and assorted polar bears, penguins, snowmen, and reindeers doing all sorts of odd and bizarre things for your lawn. Would you like to keep the Christ in Christmas? Then you can inflate the Three Wise Men, the Holy Family, and even Jesus Christ himself. (Personally, I think if Jesus is going to deflate and rise again every night, it at least should be around Easter.)

The little plastic figurines of my youth are gone. They've been eaten by the Godzilla-like Santas and snowmen that loom over the tops of houses and take up every square inch of lawn space. Last year, we found a home that displayed the 18-foot tall reindeer of my husband's dreams. The oversized mansion sat on a plot of several acres with the blow-up right up front. When driving past, the wind made its head shake and I think my son almost wet himself in fear. If a creature that size actually existed and tried to pop a squat on my front yard, I'd call down the National Guard.

So, come by the day after Thanksgiving, when my husband ceremoniously blows up the 10-foot tall reindeer (we compromised) and the 10-foot long "Sexy Snowman" (so called because he reclines on his elbows while giving a come-hither look), please come by to take a picture, have a laugh, and watch law enforcement arrive. Will it be the fire department come to make sure I don't Griswald my home into ashes? Will it be the police department, reacting to neighbor complaints and/or gunshots from those hell-bent on bringing down the biggest buck of their lives? Or will it be the town council informing me of code violations? Because I assure you, if there isn't a law on the books in my little town that regulates the size of outdoor decorations on Black Friday, there will be my Cyber Monday.

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