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Thursday, December 27, 2001

Christmas at the Waffle House

Four stoned guys walked in and sat at the counter. It was a profile of every pot smoker you've ever known. The Giggler sat on the end, entertained by every one of the grill cook's spatula-flips. The Perma-Smile Paranoid watched for narcs underneath the counter and in the booths. And the two Thousand-Yard-Stare guys looked through the grill cook's back, through the hash browns (heh...HASH browns), and into the greasy metal of the grill.

A young couple sat in a two-person booth, downing waffles, a big slab of pig meat, and a BLT. The young man was unshaven. The young semi-vegetarian woman was eating bacon without explanation. They had travleled 520 miles from Jackson, MS the night before, slept off a troubling weekend, and found themselves without anything that even resembled Christmas dinner in the fridge.

And they were smiling.

That was Christmas for the Couple from Mt. Willis.

Actually, there was a lot more to Christmas Day than dinner at the Waffle House, but there's no need to go into all of it. Suffice it to say, it was unique and fun. I missed the Willis Family Christmas, but not as much as I would have if I had not spent the whole day with a wife who loves me and who can make the most mundane of days seem like a vacation.

There is a certain freedom to having nowhere to go, nothing to do, and no one to see. All of a sudden you can do whatever you want. All of the things that you would normally do (watch TV, go grocery shopping, clean the house) were for 24 hours either impossible or irrelevant.

The day has come and gone and, frankly, I'm glad. We now move on to one of the most fun evenings of the year...the 2nd Annual Mt. Willis New Year's Eve Party. It is a time when good friends come together, laugh, and trust each other to make sure the evening and the rest of the year are clean and trouble-free. I trust it will be a good time...despite last year's disaster.

I still have three dents in my kitchen drywall. A colleague's wife made them as she collapsed--drunk--into a kitchen chair. She had downed a bottle of cheap wine, some champagne, a pint of cinnamon schnapps, a half a bottle of tequila, and a six-pack of hard cider. She drank more than me and three big-drinking buddies put together. She vomited on herself, stripped off most of her clothes, and collapsed on the floor. She pretended to birth a non-existant child named "Jamie." She screamed at the top of her big lungs, "JAMIE! I'M BIRTHING YOU!!!" My dog licked the floor.. Her husband cleaned up the vomit with our bath towels and put them on out kitchen table.

My friends ran for the door, throwing "Happy New Years" behind them. My wife looked on in horror. My dog continued to lick the floor. I hid in the garage with my buddy G-man.

This year will be different. With the help of friends I have designed a fool-proof security system that doesn't force me to lock the liquor cabinet. We will be hyper-vigilant. If she shows up this year, everyone will be on alert. I will maintain semi-strict control of the liquor, wine, and beer. It will not happen again.

So, fear not, RER reader. In fact, consider this an open-invitation. Mt Willis. 8PM. December 31st.

Leave the Puke-Poncho at home.

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Rapid Eye Reality is the personal blog of writer Brad Willis, aka Otis.
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