Monday, December 22, 2008

"Merry Christmas!" he cried defiantly, though he's been sick for a month, stomach in knots, crying children all around, wife complaining that he's not pulling his weight around here. Since you have an audience, you can't really complain on a blog. (After all, that's what diaries are for.) But I suppose if you make it entertaining enough, you can get away with it. Everyone in all blogdom tries.

I've had a hard stomach for a few days, and it's not that hard six-pack stomach like on Brad Pitt or Misty May Treanor. Rather, it's a hard stomach from swallowing all the snot welling up in my sinuses. At least, that's what my wife says. It sounds awful, which is how I feel, so who am I to argue? So we called The Doctor for that magic pill that cures you before the holiday. He said everyone wants one today, the Monday of Christmas week, so he's been keeping pretty busy. Better give me a few extra, just in case, Doc. It's the most wonderful time of the year, you know.

Mrs. Ditchman politely asked me what we would do without her. I think we would all just die. And it would be a slow, painful, unrelenting torture of a death. No, none of us could possibly go on without her. Why, we'd be ruined! We are so grateful.

The Mythbusters proved the other night that one could seriously torture someone else by strapping them down onto an emerging culm of bamboo. The bamboo grows right through you, and it takes a few days, so it would be hellacious in its agony. Bamboo grows fast, a foot or so a day for some varieties, and I guess the ancient Chinese figured it out. I hesitate to think about the gardeners who have to clean up that mess. (The Torturer's Gardener -my new novel for 2009.) Anyway, that's what it would be like if Mrs. Ditchman wasn't here to take care of us. Like being stabbed with a spear in one slow, three day long thrust.

I know it sounds crazy that bamboo grows that fast, but it's true. I have some bamboo at my house and I've seen it. I spent some of the weekend tending to it, actually, because we're getting to that season where it all comes out of the ground again. It happens in one week. You don't really notice it at first, and then one day there's twice as much. Quite amazing really. The Mythbusters tied a thick latex crash test dummy to a pot, and sure enough, the stuff grew right through him. I've wondered about it since I was a kid. Now I know.

This is where I tie the three together in a nifty metaphor: the growth rate of bamboo, the swift, time-flies raising of the children, and painful, inventive tortures. I could do it, but it's Christmas, and the imagery mightn't be pretty.