Rick's List — Holiday Tree-Lighting Edition

I'm a bit suspicious of anyone who'd voluntarily say, "(So and so's) not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree." Sorta hackneyed, right? You might as well say, "I'm not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree, so I'm the sorta guy who'd actually say, '(So and so's) not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree!'"

Can you imagine a chess match between the guy who said he's not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree and the person he just accused of also not being particularly incandescent? Not exactly Fischer/Kasparov.

Me? I'm too stupid to play chess. Several folks have tried to teach me, only to shake their heads wearily and suggest that maybe I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. Thoughts:

1. If I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer, which knife is?! See, the way my mind works is that, while other people are playing chess or inventing metaphors for dubious intelligence, I'm envisioning the literal varieties of knives in the drawer and the variance amongst them in terms of blade acuity.

2. I'm also the sort that assumes the sharpest knife in the drawer has been used in a vicious homicide! And said knife has been flung into the Thames River!

3. What that leaves is a NEW sharpest knife in the drawer — and I'd like to think that would be me.

4. All of which brings us back to Christmas tree bulbs and the idea that one precise bulb on the tree is for some reason more intense than all the rest. Why would that be? If it's true, that means some unfortunate 7-year-old in a Chinese holiday light sweatshop screwed up the wattage — and that won't end pleasantly.

5. Along those linies, let's envision a Shirley Jackson/"Lottery" scenario where there IS one brightest bulb. Let's say every citizen in the town, at the annual tree-lighting ritual, randomly selects a numbered bulb that will go on the Village Tannenbaum. Each resident, young and old, approaches the unplugged strand and inserts their light. Workers then string the bulbs through the branches and, as a hush falls over the caroling throng, the light strand is plugged in and ... THERE'S the brightest bulb on the tree! And the number is announced and it belongs to ...

6. ... A family starts to weep as the "Brightest Bulb Designate" is dragged over the altar at the village green, and the Town Christmas Light Punisher, utilizing what is literally the second-sharpest knife in the drawer because the original sharpest is at the bottom of the Thames River, performs his grisly task. He cuts a slice of ritual fruit cake and force-feeds it to the designate.

7. And the Dark God of the Yule Season is appeased until next year!

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