Friday, December 16, 2011

a christmas story

When I was seven or eight years old, me and all my friends wanted G.I. Joes for Christmas. Joe was a toy soldier doll—the one I wanted was black with black fuzz on his head that was supposed to be hair. And on Christmas morning, when we opened our presents, there he was—my new G.I. Joe.

But the real Christmas day toy soldier action was up the street. My friend Keith was probably the loudest boy in the neighborhood. Whenever he opened his mouth, a shout came out. And Keith had a peculiar way of playing with his G.I. Joes. He would pour gasoline on them, set them on fire and then throw them into the air as high as he could.

One Christmas, his parents gave Keith an entire battalion of G.I Joes: not just the dolls, but also G.I. Joe jeeps and tanks and ships. This was a mistake. And by noon on the 25th, Keith had burned, exploded, melted or otherwise destroyed his entire G.I. Joe army. What a show.

I haven’t spoken to Keith in years, but I’ve heard that when he grew up, he joined the navy.