The Tale of the Christmas Hampster.

The Tale of the Christmas Hampster.

Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

December 16th, 2002, 3:35 pm #1

I have no idea why I feel the need to share this, but, I do. Possibly because somebody might get something from it, or, perhaps, this might bring the closure I need from an event that spanned several decades and is only now resolved.

The hardest part of writing anything is knowing how to start. My writing skills have vastly improved since hanging out here, my college proffs would be proud, or, maybe baffled, since all of them believed I would never amount to much of a writer. It was never my forte. This is a story, an amazing story, one as I mentioned spanned several decades, and, provided one of those moments in my life where a whole lot changed, shaped my philosophies, and, made me very bitter. It also might explain my love for animals, I don't know. It might explain a lot of things.

I was a little kid. This was a long time ago. It was close to Christmas, and, for once, it looked like Christmas was going to be halfway decent. My mother had a job, one that paid well, and, her boss was a rather generous fellow considering the business. We even had a home of sorts, a trailer out behind the roadhouse where my mother worked. It was not a spare room upstairs or a corner down in a cellar, it was I think, just about the first actual home of sorts that I can remember. The fact that we shared it with about 6 (Sometimes more, some times less, folks moved in and out constantly) other folks did nothing to dampen my spirits. I had a little empty broom closet right off the laundry room that I had staked out as my own. There was even a Christmas tree that year, with lights, a few glass balls, and candy canes. Everybody had pitched in.

I did not get anything from my mother that year. However, her boss, being a half way decent sort, also being thankful for all of the odd jobs I did, went out and did what was, at the time, just about the nicest thing anybody had done for me. On Christmas day, he gave me a box. There was no wrapping paper, no bows, but, I did not care. I was happy just getting something. Inside the box was a cage. And a bag of wood chips along with a sack of grains and seeds. Inside the cage was a little cream coloured hampster with pink eyes.

I was, needless to say, overjoyed. I wanted to name him, and, it had to be something special. I pulled out my battered copy of the Collected Works of Shakespear, one of the few books I owned, the book I treasured most, and, thumbed around a bit. It might sound silly now, but, I chose the name of Romeo. As a kid, well, I guess it sounded pretty good way back when.

By noon, most of the adults were of course, drunk. Everybody was. And folks wanted to see my hampster.

My mother had a boyfriend at that time. Sober, he was a terror. Drunk, well, it was a two sided coin. He was either the nicest fellow you would ever hope to meet or he was even worse then when he was sober. He was a mechanic. His hands were always black and greasy. I hated him. He was on my list of people I did not want to be like when I grew up.

The grown ups, drunk and three sheets to the wind, were delighted with the little hampster. For a moment, I thought I had bridged the gap. I was hoping I would not spend the day alone, I was happy, it would have been nice to have somebody to share that with.

But it was not to be.

Leonard told me had a Christmas gift for me. He had the little hampster in his hands. He squeezed, then twisted. There was the disgusting crunch of little bones. A little squeak. He laughed a bit and said "Life's not fair. The sooner you learn that, the better off your life will be." He, and the other drunks around him, thought this was pretty funny. My own mother thought was hysterical. He tossed the little crushed body back to me.

I was out in the back burying him while they had their dinner, what ever it was. Like so many other days, I went hungry that day. I was in no mood to be around people. Once again, people had proven to be the enemy, people had proven to be untrustworthy ugly dispicable sorts to be hated.

Late that night, when everybody had passed out, I did what I did best. I snuck into my mother's and Leonard's room. I looted his pockets. Stole about 50 bucks. About a whole weeks worth of pay. I stole his nice gold watch. I stole his rings. I emptied him of anything remotely valuable. The next day, pawned off the watch and the jewelry to my mom's boss, told him I had swiped it from some of his customers and had forgotten to give it to him because I was excited over Christmas. He gave me a pretty decent chunk of money for all my ill gotten gains. Leonard blamed his friend, who was living with us. There was a nasty fight. Said friend was booted out. Later, I also slashed his tires and dumped a sack of sugar into his gas tank. Once again, he blamed his friend, thinking it to be an act of revenge for being booted out. A few days later, when he had gone on a real bender and was totally comatose, and, there was nobody around who would actually take notice, I slashed all the nice leather seats and broke out all the windows in his car. Smashed the head lights and the tail lights. Keyed the car. The shiny black paint took on a whole new look. It was a new car, by the way, a chevy, just about the only thing he took pride in. I grabbed a cinderblock and managed to put some good sized dents in.

Leonard went balistic. He shot his friend a few times, nearly killed him. Leonard got busted and was sent to prison for a long time. My mom never told me how long, she had just told me that Leonard was taking a vacation and would not be back for a long time, as if I would believe that.

Inspite of everything I had done, I still felt the need for revenge. I felt hollow and burned out for a long time. I knew I had crossed some sort of line, but, I did not know for sure at that age what it was. A long time later, I realized I was turning out just like the folks I did not want to be like, but, there was a part of me that just did not care at the time.

Fast forward many years later.

During the very first Christmas with my wife, she asked me why I became so distant during the holidays. Oh I would play santa for the kids, help the Shriners out, I would do all sorts of stuff, but under all of that she saw that I was not happy. After giving it some thought, I finally dumped it all out in her lap. This, along with many other events had really soured me on Christmas. She cried a good bit. Her only reply was "That's horrible. How do you live with it?"

And now, fast forward again, this year.

This Saturday just past, my wife gave me my Christmas present early. She, her sister, and a friend took off, as they are prone to do on a Saturday. When they got back, many hours later, my wife made me sit on the couch and close my eyes. She told me to hold out my hands. She then herded our other critters, the fox and the cat into the bedroom and shut the door.

When that was done she dropped something warm and fuzzy in my hands. When I opened my eyes, there was a little black ball of fur with black eyes, black whiskers, and a pink nose staring at me intently. It was sitting on it's hindpaws, staring up at me expectantly, curiously, cautiously. It held out it's little paw, as if it was waiting for something. I reached out to the coffee table and grabbed one of the Christmas nuts from the dish. There was an odd silence, my wife, her sister, and her friend all looking at me. I offered the nut to the little black lump of coal sitting in my hand. It was taken, and, promptly stuffed into a cheek pouch. It, as it turned out, was girl. A black teddy bear hampster, a specialty breed. (The darn thing actually comes with pedigree papers, and, she seems aware of her status. She is a bit of a snob) My wife told me since I had been a cranky cuss all year she figured all I deserved for Christmas was a lump of coal, and, she had found one. I named her Peekaboo, well, because she loves to play peekaboo. She is jet matte black. There is no shine in her fur. She has little white rings around her ankles and little pink feet. Black as pitch in all other places. She is still a baby infact, just weened and getting started on solid foods.

What can I say? One simple act of kindness. It is during moments such as these that I feel my general distrust and dislike of my fellow human beings in general is misplaced.

It's about ten in the morning. The wife is still asleep, last night she attended a Christmas quilting party and is totally wiped out. The cat and the fox is in bed with her, and, I am sitting here typing this, and, in my shirt pocket there is a little black lump of coal, curled up, asleep, (It's daytime) her cheeks stuffed full of peanuts and cashews. Earlier, Peekaboo was awake, sitting on my shoulder eating banana chips, watching what I was doing intently, at 5 AM, as I take care of my many tasks in preparation for Christmas.

There is a moral in all of this somewhere. The old saying is true. It is not the gift, it is the thought that counts. We would all do well to remember this during the Holidays.

Merry Christmas (And this time, I actually mean it, not just saying it to be sociable) and may your days be festive and happy.
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Joined: November 16th, 2001, 10:19 am

December 16th, 2002, 9:35 pm #2

...you have to let go. December 20th, 1987, my sister died, at the age of four and a half. I was six. For many years afterwards, Christmas was a time of sadness. Eventually, it passed. I still feel sad, but it doesn't plague me the way it used to.

Sooner or later Doc, you just have to let the bad pass. If you keep holding onto it, like you seem to love doing so much, it's going to bring you down. It's one fight you can't win, because you can't fight it. Fighting it only makes it worse. Sometimes, you just have to let it go.

I'm sorry to hear about your tale, but I am glad you shared it. And I truly wish you a happy Christmas, as well. It seems, despite everything, you will actually have one for once. As for me... I don't know if I'll ever have a "Merry Christmas". I hate the holidays so much that I'm usually sick to my stomach from them by the end of November. Maybe someday I'll let my disgust go. Maybe not. But even I know that, stubborn as we are, as much as we may not want to, sooner or later you just have to let some things go.

Good day to you all.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

December 16th, 2002, 10:30 pm #3

I have no idea why I feel the need to share this, but, I do. Possibly because somebody might get something from it, or, perhaps, this might bring the closure I need from an event that spanned several decades and is only now resolved.

The hardest part of writing anything is knowing how to start. My writing skills have vastly improved since hanging out here, my college proffs would be proud, or, maybe baffled, since all of them believed I would never amount to much of a writer. It was never my forte. This is a story, an amazing story, one as I mentioned spanned several decades, and, provided one of those moments in my life where a whole lot changed, shaped my philosophies, and, made me very bitter. It also might explain my love for animals, I don't know. It might explain a lot of things.

I was a little kid. This was a long time ago. It was close to Christmas, and, for once, it looked like Christmas was going to be halfway decent. My mother had a job, one that paid well, and, her boss was a rather generous fellow considering the business. We even had a home of sorts, a trailer out behind the roadhouse where my mother worked. It was not a spare room upstairs or a corner down in a cellar, it was I think, just about the first actual home of sorts that I can remember. The fact that we shared it with about 6 (Sometimes more, some times less, folks moved in and out constantly) other folks did nothing to dampen my spirits. I had a little empty broom closet right off the laundry room that I had staked out as my own. There was even a Christmas tree that year, with lights, a few glass balls, and candy canes. Everybody had pitched in.

I did not get anything from my mother that year. However, her boss, being a half way decent sort, also being thankful for all of the odd jobs I did, went out and did what was, at the time, just about the nicest thing anybody had done for me. On Christmas day, he gave me a box. There was no wrapping paper, no bows, but, I did not care. I was happy just getting something. Inside the box was a cage. And a bag of wood chips along with a sack of grains and seeds. Inside the cage was a little cream coloured hampster with pink eyes.

I was, needless to say, overjoyed. I wanted to name him, and, it had to be something special. I pulled out my battered copy of the Collected Works of Shakespear, one of the few books I owned, the book I treasured most, and, thumbed around a bit. It might sound silly now, but, I chose the name of Romeo. As a kid, well, I guess it sounded pretty good way back when.

By noon, most of the adults were of course, drunk. Everybody was. And folks wanted to see my hampster.

My mother had a boyfriend at that time. Sober, he was a terror. Drunk, well, it was a two sided coin. He was either the nicest fellow you would ever hope to meet or he was even worse then when he was sober. He was a mechanic. His hands were always black and greasy. I hated him. He was on my list of people I did not want to be like when I grew up.

The grown ups, drunk and three sheets to the wind, were delighted with the little hampster. For a moment, I thought I had bridged the gap. I was hoping I would not spend the day alone, I was happy, it would have been nice to have somebody to share that with.

But it was not to be.

Leonard told me had a Christmas gift for me. He had the little hampster in his hands. He squeezed, then twisted. There was the disgusting crunch of little bones. A little squeak. He laughed a bit and said "Life's not fair. The sooner you learn that, the better off your life will be." He, and the other drunks around him, thought this was pretty funny. My own mother thought was hysterical. He tossed the little crushed body back to me.

I was out in the back burying him while they had their dinner, what ever it was. Like so many other days, I went hungry that day. I was in no mood to be around people. Once again, people had proven to be the enemy, people had proven to be untrustworthy ugly dispicable sorts to be hated.

Late that night, when everybody had passed out, I did what I did best. I snuck into my mother's and Leonard's room. I looted his pockets. Stole about 50 bucks. About a whole weeks worth of pay. I stole his nice gold watch. I stole his rings. I emptied him of anything remotely valuable. The next day, pawned off the watch and the jewelry to my mom's boss, told him I had swiped it from some of his customers and had forgotten to give it to him because I was excited over Christmas. He gave me a pretty decent chunk of money for all my ill gotten gains. Leonard blamed his friend, who was living with us. There was a nasty fight. Said friend was booted out. Later, I also slashed his tires and dumped a sack of sugar into his gas tank. Once again, he blamed his friend, thinking it to be an act of revenge for being booted out. A few days later, when he had gone on a real bender and was totally comatose, and, there was nobody around who would actually take notice, I slashed all the nice leather seats and broke out all the windows in his car. Smashed the head lights and the tail lights. Keyed the car. The shiny black paint took on a whole new look. It was a new car, by the way, a chevy, just about the only thing he took pride in. I grabbed a cinderblock and managed to put some good sized dents in.

Leonard went balistic. He shot his friend a few times, nearly killed him. Leonard got busted and was sent to prison for a long time. My mom never told me how long, she had just told me that Leonard was taking a vacation and would not be back for a long time, as if I would believe that.

Inspite of everything I had done, I still felt the need for revenge. I felt hollow and burned out for a long time. I knew I had crossed some sort of line, but, I did not know for sure at that age what it was. A long time later, I realized I was turning out just like the folks I did not want to be like, but, there was a part of me that just did not care at the time.

Fast forward many years later.

During the very first Christmas with my wife, she asked me why I became so distant during the holidays. Oh I would play santa for the kids, help the Shriners out, I would do all sorts of stuff, but under all of that she saw that I was not happy. After giving it some thought, I finally dumped it all out in her lap. This, along with many other events had really soured me on Christmas. She cried a good bit. Her only reply was "That's horrible. How do you live with it?"

And now, fast forward again, this year.

This Saturday just past, my wife gave me my Christmas present early. She, her sister, and a friend took off, as they are prone to do on a Saturday. When they got back, many hours later, my wife made me sit on the couch and close my eyes. She told me to hold out my hands. She then herded our other critters, the fox and the cat into the bedroom and shut the door.

When that was done she dropped something warm and fuzzy in my hands. When I opened my eyes, there was a little black ball of fur with black eyes, black whiskers, and a pink nose staring at me intently. It was sitting on it's hindpaws, staring up at me expectantly, curiously, cautiously. It held out it's little paw, as if it was waiting for something. I reached out to the coffee table and grabbed one of the Christmas nuts from the dish. There was an odd silence, my wife, her sister, and her friend all looking at me. I offered the nut to the little black lump of coal sitting in my hand. It was taken, and, promptly stuffed into a cheek pouch. It, as it turned out, was girl. A black teddy bear hampster, a specialty breed. (The darn thing actually comes with pedigree papers, and, she seems aware of her status. She is a bit of a snob) My wife told me since I had been a cranky cuss all year she figured all I deserved for Christmas was a lump of coal, and, she had found one. I named her Peekaboo, well, because she loves to play peekaboo. She is jet matte black. There is no shine in her fur. She has little white rings around her ankles and little pink feet. Black as pitch in all other places. She is still a baby infact, just weened and getting started on solid foods.

What can I say? One simple act of kindness. It is during moments such as these that I feel my general distrust and dislike of my fellow human beings in general is misplaced.

It's about ten in the morning. The wife is still asleep, last night she attended a Christmas quilting party and is totally wiped out. The cat and the fox is in bed with her, and, I am sitting here typing this, and, in my shirt pocket there is a little black lump of coal, curled up, asleep, (It's daytime) her cheeks stuffed full of peanuts and cashews. Earlier, Peekaboo was awake, sitting on my shoulder eating banana chips, watching what I was doing intently, at 5 AM, as I take care of my many tasks in preparation for Christmas.

There is a moral in all of this somewhere. The old saying is true. It is not the gift, it is the thought that counts. We would all do well to remember this during the Holidays.

Merry Christmas (And this time, I actually mean it, not just saying it to be sociable) and may your days be festive and happy.
The fox is fine. Bandages and the foxy lamp shade thingamabob is off. Wobbles is having a really hard time adjusting to getting around. He falls a lot. Mostly, his pride gets hurt. He uses the litterbox for some reason, with out ever once being directed to do so or be trained in any way. He had a few accidents of course, but, once he learned his way around and the cat showed him the local hangouts, things have been clean and dandy ever since.

About the only thing I worry about is when he sleeps. He has bad dreams. He'll be sleeping, then start twitching and yelping, whimpering, then jumps awake and just yowls pitifully, looking visibly shaken. It's nothing that holding him for a few minutes wont fix (He is a big baby now. He loves to be held, to be cuddled, to be hugged) He and the cat are close. They sleep together. They both crowd into my lap when I am at the computer. Good thing I have a big black leather office chair. It's like a lazyboy almost, with big comfy arms and a lot of room. I think it was meant for giant fat assed stuffed shirts, as I only take up about half the total space alloted for one's ass.

I have plans for even more critters. I have 3 cockateils, a cat, a fox, a little black hampster. I have my eye on an African Gray parrot that needs a home. A family got it and they were not prepared for the responsibility of such a demanding pet. The birds name is Zales and he is already talking, shouting, screaming, and makes meow meow noises that drives their family dog crazy. I put a bid on him, here's to hoping I get him. I would like to get a chinchilla or two or three, maybe even breed them, as they are so cuddly and cute. Once I settle my housing situation, I would like to adopt a greyhound and save maybe one or two from the terrible fates so many of them suffer. I have filed and started the wheel rolling for getting a wildlife rehab licence, and, I have learned that SC plans on starting a bear relocation program, to bring the population of bears up in our state. I would love to raise a bear or two and have a hand in helping to restore nature.
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Occhi
Occhi

December 16th, 2002, 11:42 pm #4

I have no idea why I feel the need to share this, but, I do. Possibly because somebody might get something from it, or, perhaps, this might bring the closure I need from an event that spanned several decades and is only now resolved.

The hardest part of writing anything is knowing how to start. My writing skills have vastly improved since hanging out here, my college proffs would be proud, or, maybe baffled, since all of them believed I would never amount to much of a writer. It was never my forte. This is a story, an amazing story, one as I mentioned spanned several decades, and, provided one of those moments in my life where a whole lot changed, shaped my philosophies, and, made me very bitter. It also might explain my love for animals, I don't know. It might explain a lot of things.

I was a little kid. This was a long time ago. It was close to Christmas, and, for once, it looked like Christmas was going to be halfway decent. My mother had a job, one that paid well, and, her boss was a rather generous fellow considering the business. We even had a home of sorts, a trailer out behind the roadhouse where my mother worked. It was not a spare room upstairs or a corner down in a cellar, it was I think, just about the first actual home of sorts that I can remember. The fact that we shared it with about 6 (Sometimes more, some times less, folks moved in and out constantly) other folks did nothing to dampen my spirits. I had a little empty broom closet right off the laundry room that I had staked out as my own. There was even a Christmas tree that year, with lights, a few glass balls, and candy canes. Everybody had pitched in.

I did not get anything from my mother that year. However, her boss, being a half way decent sort, also being thankful for all of the odd jobs I did, went out and did what was, at the time, just about the nicest thing anybody had done for me. On Christmas day, he gave me a box. There was no wrapping paper, no bows, but, I did not care. I was happy just getting something. Inside the box was a cage. And a bag of wood chips along with a sack of grains and seeds. Inside the cage was a little cream coloured hampster with pink eyes.

I was, needless to say, overjoyed. I wanted to name him, and, it had to be something special. I pulled out my battered copy of the Collected Works of Shakespear, one of the few books I owned, the book I treasured most, and, thumbed around a bit. It might sound silly now, but, I chose the name of Romeo. As a kid, well, I guess it sounded pretty good way back when.

By noon, most of the adults were of course, drunk. Everybody was. And folks wanted to see my hampster.

My mother had a boyfriend at that time. Sober, he was a terror. Drunk, well, it was a two sided coin. He was either the nicest fellow you would ever hope to meet or he was even worse then when he was sober. He was a mechanic. His hands were always black and greasy. I hated him. He was on my list of people I did not want to be like when I grew up.

The grown ups, drunk and three sheets to the wind, were delighted with the little hampster. For a moment, I thought I had bridged the gap. I was hoping I would not spend the day alone, I was happy, it would have been nice to have somebody to share that with.

But it was not to be.

Leonard told me had a Christmas gift for me. He had the little hampster in his hands. He squeezed, then twisted. There was the disgusting crunch of little bones. A little squeak. He laughed a bit and said "Life's not fair. The sooner you learn that, the better off your life will be." He, and the other drunks around him, thought this was pretty funny. My own mother thought was hysterical. He tossed the little crushed body back to me.

I was out in the back burying him while they had their dinner, what ever it was. Like so many other days, I went hungry that day. I was in no mood to be around people. Once again, people had proven to be the enemy, people had proven to be untrustworthy ugly dispicable sorts to be hated.

Late that night, when everybody had passed out, I did what I did best. I snuck into my mother's and Leonard's room. I looted his pockets. Stole about 50 bucks. About a whole weeks worth of pay. I stole his nice gold watch. I stole his rings. I emptied him of anything remotely valuable. The next day, pawned off the watch and the jewelry to my mom's boss, told him I had swiped it from some of his customers and had forgotten to give it to him because I was excited over Christmas. He gave me a pretty decent chunk of money for all my ill gotten gains. Leonard blamed his friend, who was living with us. There was a nasty fight. Said friend was booted out. Later, I also slashed his tires and dumped a sack of sugar into his gas tank. Once again, he blamed his friend, thinking it to be an act of revenge for being booted out. A few days later, when he had gone on a real bender and was totally comatose, and, there was nobody around who would actually take notice, I slashed all the nice leather seats and broke out all the windows in his car. Smashed the head lights and the tail lights. Keyed the car. The shiny black paint took on a whole new look. It was a new car, by the way, a chevy, just about the only thing he took pride in. I grabbed a cinderblock and managed to put some good sized dents in.

Leonard went balistic. He shot his friend a few times, nearly killed him. Leonard got busted and was sent to prison for a long time. My mom never told me how long, she had just told me that Leonard was taking a vacation and would not be back for a long time, as if I would believe that.

Inspite of everything I had done, I still felt the need for revenge. I felt hollow and burned out for a long time. I knew I had crossed some sort of line, but, I did not know for sure at that age what it was. A long time later, I realized I was turning out just like the folks I did not want to be like, but, there was a part of me that just did not care at the time.

Fast forward many years later.

During the very first Christmas with my wife, she asked me why I became so distant during the holidays. Oh I would play santa for the kids, help the Shriners out, I would do all sorts of stuff, but under all of that she saw that I was not happy. After giving it some thought, I finally dumped it all out in her lap. This, along with many other events had really soured me on Christmas. She cried a good bit. Her only reply was "That's horrible. How do you live with it?"

And now, fast forward again, this year.

This Saturday just past, my wife gave me my Christmas present early. She, her sister, and a friend took off, as they are prone to do on a Saturday. When they got back, many hours later, my wife made me sit on the couch and close my eyes. She told me to hold out my hands. She then herded our other critters, the fox and the cat into the bedroom and shut the door.

When that was done she dropped something warm and fuzzy in my hands. When I opened my eyes, there was a little black ball of fur with black eyes, black whiskers, and a pink nose staring at me intently. It was sitting on it's hindpaws, staring up at me expectantly, curiously, cautiously. It held out it's little paw, as if it was waiting for something. I reached out to the coffee table and grabbed one of the Christmas nuts from the dish. There was an odd silence, my wife, her sister, and her friend all looking at me. I offered the nut to the little black lump of coal sitting in my hand. It was taken, and, promptly stuffed into a cheek pouch. It, as it turned out, was girl. A black teddy bear hampster, a specialty breed. (The darn thing actually comes with pedigree papers, and, she seems aware of her status. She is a bit of a snob) My wife told me since I had been a cranky cuss all year she figured all I deserved for Christmas was a lump of coal, and, she had found one. I named her Peekaboo, well, because she loves to play peekaboo. She is jet matte black. There is no shine in her fur. She has little white rings around her ankles and little pink feet. Black as pitch in all other places. She is still a baby infact, just weened and getting started on solid foods.

What can I say? One simple act of kindness. It is during moments such as these that I feel my general distrust and dislike of my fellow human beings in general is misplaced.

It's about ten in the morning. The wife is still asleep, last night she attended a Christmas quilting party and is totally wiped out. The cat and the fox is in bed with her, and, I am sitting here typing this, and, in my shirt pocket there is a little black lump of coal, curled up, asleep, (It's daytime) her cheeks stuffed full of peanuts and cashews. Earlier, Peekaboo was awake, sitting on my shoulder eating banana chips, watching what I was doing intently, at 5 AM, as I take care of my many tasks in preparation for Christmas.

There is a moral in all of this somewhere. The old saying is true. It is not the gift, it is the thought that counts. We would all do well to remember this during the Holidays.

Merry Christmas (And this time, I actually mean it, not just saying it to be sociable) and may your days be festive and happy.
It is one of life's cruel irony, I suppose, that you were not old enough to drive to the pet store and buy another hamster.

Living well is the best revenge.

I suppose, it has been, in your case, when taking the long view.

Give our warmest regards to you lovely little friend.

The hamster we four kids go to enjoy for while, Goldie, died after two years of charming the heck out of us kids, back in 1971. We all missed her as soon as she was gone.
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Joined: August 2nd, 2001, 4:29 pm

December 17th, 2002, 1:02 am #5

Even crueler was the fact I could rarely spend my ill gotten gains. As a kid, I learned how to be quite the little thief. I learned to pick pockets. When we lived in Nawlins, (New Orleans for you yankees) My skill really got polished. I learned to pick locks, peel safes, all sorts of fun stuff from the folks that frequented the sorts of places where my mother would work.

The problem however, was two fold. If I started buying a bunch of stuff, certian folks might wonder where I got the money. Like my mom. If she knew I had any sorts of stockpile of loose bills, she would beat me black and blue till I gave it to her. If I resisted to long, she would resort to burning me with cigarettes or beating me with a coat hanger. Second, grown ups look at you right funny if you are a kid with wads of cash in your hand. My mother seldom bought me clothes. My spending was always careful. I would get something and say the church had given it to me or I had got something for the underpriveledged kids from school. I usually made up some cock and bull story and she usually bought it. More often then not though, I was broke. I was always leaving other folks money, usually tucked away for them. The nice old lady that might give me cookies or sandwiches. Somebody who actually did give me clothes. Somebody who would offer shelter and give me a place to hide when my mom was in one of her particularly violent moods. A kind person that might give me a book or two to borrow usually got them back with a wad of bills tucked in. It was dangerous to keep cash for too long. I never cared that much really, it was always easy to earn or steal more. Rolling drunks out the door always earned a few bucks a night, relieving them of everything in their pockets earned far more. Hiding under the bed while the ladies were busy with a customer was easy cash, just very quietly reach out and check the pockets of the pants tossed carelessly on the floor right next to the bed. Always had to give a cut to the owner usually. And there was always a nice waitress who was honest and kind and not the sort of lady who made her living on her back that usually saw to it I was fed, usually, the sorts of women who had to work but their morals never allowed them a decent wage of any sorts. I always respected those sorts and used my nimble little child fingers and pick pocket skills to slip a few extra bills in their aprons. Other kids as well, some times, but not often, kids who lacked the sorts of skills I did and had even less then me.

Looking back, I guess the whole hampster affair, while terrible, was one of those important events that needed to happen. A defining moment if you will, an eye opener.
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Caos2
Caos2

December 17th, 2002, 9:30 am #6

I have no idea why I feel the need to share this, but, I do. Possibly because somebody might get something from it, or, perhaps, this might bring the closure I need from an event that spanned several decades and is only now resolved.

The hardest part of writing anything is knowing how to start. My writing skills have vastly improved since hanging out here, my college proffs would be proud, or, maybe baffled, since all of them believed I would never amount to much of a writer. It was never my forte. This is a story, an amazing story, one as I mentioned spanned several decades, and, provided one of those moments in my life where a whole lot changed, shaped my philosophies, and, made me very bitter. It also might explain my love for animals, I don't know. It might explain a lot of things.

I was a little kid. This was a long time ago. It was close to Christmas, and, for once, it looked like Christmas was going to be halfway decent. My mother had a job, one that paid well, and, her boss was a rather generous fellow considering the business. We even had a home of sorts, a trailer out behind the roadhouse where my mother worked. It was not a spare room upstairs or a corner down in a cellar, it was I think, just about the first actual home of sorts that I can remember. The fact that we shared it with about 6 (Sometimes more, some times less, folks moved in and out constantly) other folks did nothing to dampen my spirits. I had a little empty broom closet right off the laundry room that I had staked out as my own. There was even a Christmas tree that year, with lights, a few glass balls, and candy canes. Everybody had pitched in.

I did not get anything from my mother that year. However, her boss, being a half way decent sort, also being thankful for all of the odd jobs I did, went out and did what was, at the time, just about the nicest thing anybody had done for me. On Christmas day, he gave me a box. There was no wrapping paper, no bows, but, I did not care. I was happy just getting something. Inside the box was a cage. And a bag of wood chips along with a sack of grains and seeds. Inside the cage was a little cream coloured hampster with pink eyes.

I was, needless to say, overjoyed. I wanted to name him, and, it had to be something special. I pulled out my battered copy of the Collected Works of Shakespear, one of the few books I owned, the book I treasured most, and, thumbed around a bit. It might sound silly now, but, I chose the name of Romeo. As a kid, well, I guess it sounded pretty good way back when.

By noon, most of the adults were of course, drunk. Everybody was. And folks wanted to see my hampster.

My mother had a boyfriend at that time. Sober, he was a terror. Drunk, well, it was a two sided coin. He was either the nicest fellow you would ever hope to meet or he was even worse then when he was sober. He was a mechanic. His hands were always black and greasy. I hated him. He was on my list of people I did not want to be like when I grew up.

The grown ups, drunk and three sheets to the wind, were delighted with the little hampster. For a moment, I thought I had bridged the gap. I was hoping I would not spend the day alone, I was happy, it would have been nice to have somebody to share that with.

But it was not to be.

Leonard told me had a Christmas gift for me. He had the little hampster in his hands. He squeezed, then twisted. There was the disgusting crunch of little bones. A little squeak. He laughed a bit and said "Life's not fair. The sooner you learn that, the better off your life will be." He, and the other drunks around him, thought this was pretty funny. My own mother thought was hysterical. He tossed the little crushed body back to me.

I was out in the back burying him while they had their dinner, what ever it was. Like so many other days, I went hungry that day. I was in no mood to be around people. Once again, people had proven to be the enemy, people had proven to be untrustworthy ugly dispicable sorts to be hated.

Late that night, when everybody had passed out, I did what I did best. I snuck into my mother's and Leonard's room. I looted his pockets. Stole about 50 bucks. About a whole weeks worth of pay. I stole his nice gold watch. I stole his rings. I emptied him of anything remotely valuable. The next day, pawned off the watch and the jewelry to my mom's boss, told him I had swiped it from some of his customers and had forgotten to give it to him because I was excited over Christmas. He gave me a pretty decent chunk of money for all my ill gotten gains. Leonard blamed his friend, who was living with us. There was a nasty fight. Said friend was booted out. Later, I also slashed his tires and dumped a sack of sugar into his gas tank. Once again, he blamed his friend, thinking it to be an act of revenge for being booted out. A few days later, when he had gone on a real bender and was totally comatose, and, there was nobody around who would actually take notice, I slashed all the nice leather seats and broke out all the windows in his car. Smashed the head lights and the tail lights. Keyed the car. The shiny black paint took on a whole new look. It was a new car, by the way, a chevy, just about the only thing he took pride in. I grabbed a cinderblock and managed to put some good sized dents in.

Leonard went balistic. He shot his friend a few times, nearly killed him. Leonard got busted and was sent to prison for a long time. My mom never told me how long, she had just told me that Leonard was taking a vacation and would not be back for a long time, as if I would believe that.

Inspite of everything I had done, I still felt the need for revenge. I felt hollow and burned out for a long time. I knew I had crossed some sort of line, but, I did not know for sure at that age what it was. A long time later, I realized I was turning out just like the folks I did not want to be like, but, there was a part of me that just did not care at the time.

Fast forward many years later.

During the very first Christmas with my wife, she asked me why I became so distant during the holidays. Oh I would play santa for the kids, help the Shriners out, I would do all sorts of stuff, but under all of that she saw that I was not happy. After giving it some thought, I finally dumped it all out in her lap. This, along with many other events had really soured me on Christmas. She cried a good bit. Her only reply was "That's horrible. How do you live with it?"

And now, fast forward again, this year.

This Saturday just past, my wife gave me my Christmas present early. She, her sister, and a friend took off, as they are prone to do on a Saturday. When they got back, many hours later, my wife made me sit on the couch and close my eyes. She told me to hold out my hands. She then herded our other critters, the fox and the cat into the bedroom and shut the door.

When that was done she dropped something warm and fuzzy in my hands. When I opened my eyes, there was a little black ball of fur with black eyes, black whiskers, and a pink nose staring at me intently. It was sitting on it's hindpaws, staring up at me expectantly, curiously, cautiously. It held out it's little paw, as if it was waiting for something. I reached out to the coffee table and grabbed one of the Christmas nuts from the dish. There was an odd silence, my wife, her sister, and her friend all looking at me. I offered the nut to the little black lump of coal sitting in my hand. It was taken, and, promptly stuffed into a cheek pouch. It, as it turned out, was girl. A black teddy bear hampster, a specialty breed. (The darn thing actually comes with pedigree papers, and, she seems aware of her status. She is a bit of a snob) My wife told me since I had been a cranky cuss all year she figured all I deserved for Christmas was a lump of coal, and, she had found one. I named her Peekaboo, well, because she loves to play peekaboo. She is jet matte black. There is no shine in her fur. She has little white rings around her ankles and little pink feet. Black as pitch in all other places. She is still a baby infact, just weened and getting started on solid foods.

What can I say? One simple act of kindness. It is during moments such as these that I feel my general distrust and dislike of my fellow human beings in general is misplaced.

It's about ten in the morning. The wife is still asleep, last night she attended a Christmas quilting party and is totally wiped out. The cat and the fox is in bed with her, and, I am sitting here typing this, and, in my shirt pocket there is a little black lump of coal, curled up, asleep, (It's daytime) her cheeks stuffed full of peanuts and cashews. Earlier, Peekaboo was awake, sitting on my shoulder eating banana chips, watching what I was doing intently, at 5 AM, as I take care of my many tasks in preparation for Christmas.

There is a moral in all of this somewhere. The old saying is true. It is not the gift, it is the thought that counts. We would all do well to remember this during the Holidays.

Merry Christmas (And this time, I actually mean it, not just saying it to be sociable) and may your days be festive and happy.
Thanks Occhi, that is one hell of a sentence.

c2
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Sirian
Sirian

December 17th, 2002, 12:25 pm #7

Even crueler was the fact I could rarely spend my ill gotten gains. As a kid, I learned how to be quite the little thief. I learned to pick pockets. When we lived in Nawlins, (New Orleans for you yankees) My skill really got polished. I learned to pick locks, peel safes, all sorts of fun stuff from the folks that frequented the sorts of places where my mother would work.

The problem however, was two fold. If I started buying a bunch of stuff, certian folks might wonder where I got the money. Like my mom. If she knew I had any sorts of stockpile of loose bills, she would beat me black and blue till I gave it to her. If I resisted to long, she would resort to burning me with cigarettes or beating me with a coat hanger. Second, grown ups look at you right funny if you are a kid with wads of cash in your hand. My mother seldom bought me clothes. My spending was always careful. I would get something and say the church had given it to me or I had got something for the underpriveledged kids from school. I usually made up some cock and bull story and she usually bought it. More often then not though, I was broke. I was always leaving other folks money, usually tucked away for them. The nice old lady that might give me cookies or sandwiches. Somebody who actually did give me clothes. Somebody who would offer shelter and give me a place to hide when my mom was in one of her particularly violent moods. A kind person that might give me a book or two to borrow usually got them back with a wad of bills tucked in. It was dangerous to keep cash for too long. I never cared that much really, it was always easy to earn or steal more. Rolling drunks out the door always earned a few bucks a night, relieving them of everything in their pockets earned far more. Hiding under the bed while the ladies were busy with a customer was easy cash, just very quietly reach out and check the pockets of the pants tossed carelessly on the floor right next to the bed. Always had to give a cut to the owner usually. And there was always a nice waitress who was honest and kind and not the sort of lady who made her living on her back that usually saw to it I was fed, usually, the sorts of women who had to work but their morals never allowed them a decent wage of any sorts. I always respected those sorts and used my nimble little child fingers and pick pocket skills to slip a few extra bills in their aprons. Other kids as well, some times, but not often, kids who lacked the sorts of skills I did and had even less then me.

Looking back, I guess the whole hampster affair, while terrible, was one of those important events that needed to happen. A defining moment if you will, an eye opener.
Looking back, I guess the whole hampster affair, while terrible, was one of those important events that needed to happen. A defining moment if you will, an eye opener.

Doc, I was with you right up until this. I understand you telling yourself this, why that would be useful... for a while. I'm surprised that you are still holding it, though.

This wasn't an eye opener, it was a gut opener. He reached right into your chest and ripped out your heart, and he did it to hurt you. Your mom was even worse, choosing him in his cruelty over little you in your vulnerability.

The hamster tale is by far the worst thing you've yet talked about that other people have done to you. The flogging was more extreme, but that was adult to adult, and as evil as it was, it had a purpose in the minds of those doing it. This... this was a drunk fool being cruel to a kid. There was no purpose to the cruelty here, no war being waged. This guy didn't have the guts of those fighting race wars. He picked on the easiest, most vulnerable target around and wasn't even smart enough to realize just what he was getting into by declaring war on a little child like that.

You made him pay for it, but at what cost? The guy he blamed and shot took it for you. You did HIM a wrong, for your revenge.

Maybe, all in all, that was for the best. It got rid of an evil man out of your life, with whom you may have been otherwise destined to die at his hands. Just think if he had been smart enough to figure out the true culprit. That would have been you he'd have shot. In my view, you got awfully lucky there. Not that you didn't make your own luck, too -- you played your hand well enough not to get caught -- but wow, what a dangerous situation.


But your eyes opened? It needed to happen? BS. That didn't need to happen at all. There was no grand plan at play. There was only choice. No divinity guided the hands of that man to wring the life from a helpless critter or the hope from a helpless child. Your response to it may have been needed, as a way to survive, and who knows? Maybe THAT part was guided in some way, as to give you a road out of there that the winds of destiny did not otherwise have in store for you. A way to live, in a situation in which you OUGHT TO have died.

However, what happened there was not an eye opening, but an eye closing. You shut down your vulnerability, in a world in which any vulnerability was a weakness to be exploited by those around you. How can you love anything, even a little animal, when you can't trust those with the power and authority not to kill it just to taunt you? I was surprised you didn't mention the obvious reason not to go buy another hamster: for the hamster's sake, so that the next one wouldn't also be killed. Don't tell me that didn't cross your mind.

You're right about one thing. This explains a lot. I'm glad you shared this. It's a miracle you didn't turn into all these other people after all, even though you DID turn more into them than you're comfortable with.

Because to me, you sound like this guy, even now. There is more to you than that, but he's in there, in the mix of who you became. "Give you a present" by teaching you "life ain't fair"? A lie. A bald-faced, evil lie.

That sounds like a lie that was imposed on him, too, from somewhere. He bought it and passed it on. You haven't passed on the cruelty, but you HAVE continued over the years to inflict all sorts of collateral damage in your passive-aggressive retaliations. You're good enough at surviving your escapades, but sometimes other get the blame and suffer for it. A lot of your friends who fought back vs the hate groups are dead now, you've said.

Are you sure you've peeled off all the layers of this onion? Has your analysis reached its true conclusion? Or are you still fiddling around with a bunch of those old lies rattling around in your head, yet to be cleared out of the way? Are you really "seeing clearly" now? Or are there a few more layers of dirt still on the window, and you so used to looking through them you think they're part of the window itself?

You made some decisions that night, Doc. As a child, you reached some conclusions that night. Choices that somehow got you through, still breating, still halfway sane in an insane little subsection of the world, but... not intact. Not whole. Wounded.

You bought the lie. The "lesson" you were "being taught", you learned it well, didn't you? The world ain't a friendly place, is it, Doc? THAT is where you cemented that belief, isn't it? And when I came too close to that one, you lashed out at me as living in an ivory tower. Remember? I was willing to walk on you over that one. Not because I didn't like you any more or that it hurt too much, but because it really is your choice to make, which world you want to live in. And if you can't abide even the IDEA that this belief of yours you've clung to since the gerbil incident, about the world being cruel, about it being your enemy and something against which you MUST struggle without end... if just that idea either scares you too much, or seems so patently ridiculous to you as to be intolerable... I was not going to fight you to rid you of that belief "for your own good". I'm no martyr, no savior, no crusader. Nobody in my world is dragged along against their will. Your choice, I was ready to respect it. But you reconsidered. You stopped. You apologized and we went back to the previous arrangement, in which we meet in many places, but wherein I confront you adversarially only within the confines of the crucible.

There are no lessons to be learned, Doc. Be wary of those who purport to be hurting you for your own good. As a child you were unequipped to cope, but now it is different. And isn't it about time now that you finally and completely repudiate the lie that was burned into you that night? There was no higher meaning or hidden purpose to it. You didn't need it at all. (By that standard, the more pain one suffers, the better off they are. Oh, wait, that's another belief you've held, isn't it?) Opened your eyes? Hardly. You turned into a cold warrior, whipped out your sword and cut the asshole's life into ribbons and scattered them to the winds. Did he deserve it? Maybe. He got back what he had dished out: a serious, life-altering punishment. Did the friend he shot "cosmically deserve it" in karmic fashion for some other evil that he had "gotten away with"? Not likely, but who knows. You were too busy "learning to play the game" to be stopped by that sort of collateral damage.

That you set boundaries on yourself, lines past which you would not cross, has been your saving grace. You had your own code of honor, your own commandments and rule sets, your own emotional compass. You helped them as you saw to be good, and felt no ill conscience about harming them as you saw to be evil. You, the judge, jury, and... well, close enough sometimes, eh?


Where do excuses end? Where does accountability and responsibility begin?

We all, in our faults, have walked in these shoes, of doing wrongs to somebody. We all have our reasons, even when those are as evil and pathetic as tormenting someone for a brief sense of having power over them, hurting them just because... just because we can. But if you justify your actions because of the harm done to you by the cruelty, would you not expect some similar thread of wrongs done to and suffered by that drunk? Maybe he was just sharing the misery. Maybe he had suffered similarly, and was stupidly just passing it on to you. I mean, hey, you bought it, didn't you? Hook line and sinker. If you bought the lie when it was passed to you, maybe he did the same when it was passed to him. SOMEBODY did to him what your mom did there to you: turn a blind eye and nod in approval when wrongs were done.

Don't you feel any pity for him now? Look what a sad excuse for a human being this guy was. He betrayed you, then in his stupidity and paranoia, betrayed some other innocent (in this case) friend of his, almost to the point of death. If it weren't for the evil involved, being done back and forth to one another and catching others in the crossfire, the whole sad lot of you would be candidates for comedy, pity, or both.

Perhaps even it was jealousy. There might have been a wounded little kid still inside of him, who was so hurt, that seeing you being given a gift the likes of which he never got for himself, was just too much, and in the "guise" of "teaching you an important lesson" he ripped it away so you wouldn't have something nice that he didn't have. Rather like he saw you climbing out the cesspit in which you both lived, uplifted by someone else reaching down a hand to you, and he grabbed hold of your leg and dragged you back down into the muck. Jealousy? Maybe not, but if that WAS it, then at least it would put some semblance of reason to what he did. There had to be some reason why he was moved to mistreat you, some part of him that knew he was taking something of great value away from you. You both knew it, even if neither knew why.

We all have some of that in us. That's not civilized, it just is. "Civilization" is not always civilized, is it? But that's no reason to buy the lie that the idea of civilization itself is a sham. It doesn't have to be. If enough of us set responsible boundaries and adhere to them, we can create our own pockets of civilization... for our families, communities, counties, countries. It's hard, it's work, and there are forces that work against it, but it's doable.

The hamster killing was flat out savage. Savage. And it went on because nobody there had the character to oppose it. They all just went along, like the fearful weak peoples of many nations throughout history have just gone along, or have been too few to stem the tide. The tide of blood, the tide of misery.

Savage.

So savage it made you into a savage, Doc. A savage with a kind heart, but still savage, living with a clear set of definitions of that which is "friend" and that which is "enemy", and pulling no punches vs the enemy. You still define yourself in that savage way, feeling lost and useless now that you are physically too feeble to wage war on your various enemies.


I was with you through this story, Doc, right up to the point at which you revealed that you still haven't figured it all out. Heck, in some sense, you don't even have a clue yet, still wandering around in this general mess of your past and all its baggage. But then, you wouldn't be moved to share it and write through it if you had it all figured out. You'd have been moved to write about something else. Yes?

Roland advised you to let it go, but in my view that's another of those platitudes. It's in the same category of conventional wisdom, of things repeated so often by so many folks that our culture has embraced it as a Foundation Truth. Rather like... well, like the phrase "Life ain't fair". That's something we tell ourselves when we don't have a bleeding clue as to what to do about something. So is "just let it go". That is true enough at times, but not always. In fact, if a wound is poisoned and you don't get the poison out of there, just keeping it bandaged isn't going to help, and neither will bleeding you with leeches.

You will never be able to let this go until you UNDO the choices you made there, the beliefs that you embraced there. You don't have to "go back" to do that, but you also cannot go forward until you make that change. You got stabbed with a poison dagger right in the heart, and some of that poison has been with you ever since. You're chained to it, and to me you don't yet seem to have identified the root cause of your situation.

The new black hamster won't be able to make up for it. It doesn't bring back the hamster that was killed, or give you back those years, or erase the scars. What it can do, though, is remind you of the original gift. It is a new opportunity to choose a path someone else ripped away from you back then. Love works that way, you know, because life really can be a friendly, embracing place if you allow for it. Opportunity lost can come again, as Love and Light will endure, will always be there for you to choose if you dare. There was kindness toward you and care for you in the heart of that boss man who gave you the hamster. That was ripped away from you, but THAT was the only thing of worth that took place there, the original gift. Now you have a new chance to choose. Which of those two acts was greater? The gift being given? Or it being taken away? You've defined yourself by THIS choice, Doc, defined yourself by which you believe in the most, which you believe is stronger and truer. You've passed up half a dozen chances just counting our exchanges to change this belief, to choose differently, but more opportunities keep coming. Maybe now you can finally re-open the eyes that were shut with tears so long ago.


- Sirian
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Occhi
Occhi

December 17th, 2002, 2:56 pm #8

Thanks Occhi, that is one hell of a sentence.

c2
But I forget at the moment which sage of the ages came up with that quote. It sure aint original from me.
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LemmingofGlory
LemmingofGlory

December 17th, 2002, 5:30 pm #9

I have no idea why I feel the need to share this, but, I do. Possibly because somebody might get something from it, or, perhaps, this might bring the closure I need from an event that spanned several decades and is only now resolved.

The hardest part of writing anything is knowing how to start. My writing skills have vastly improved since hanging out here, my college proffs would be proud, or, maybe baffled, since all of them believed I would never amount to much of a writer. It was never my forte. This is a story, an amazing story, one as I mentioned spanned several decades, and, provided one of those moments in my life where a whole lot changed, shaped my philosophies, and, made me very bitter. It also might explain my love for animals, I don't know. It might explain a lot of things.

I was a little kid. This was a long time ago. It was close to Christmas, and, for once, it looked like Christmas was going to be halfway decent. My mother had a job, one that paid well, and, her boss was a rather generous fellow considering the business. We even had a home of sorts, a trailer out behind the roadhouse where my mother worked. It was not a spare room upstairs or a corner down in a cellar, it was I think, just about the first actual home of sorts that I can remember. The fact that we shared it with about 6 (Sometimes more, some times less, folks moved in and out constantly) other folks did nothing to dampen my spirits. I had a little empty broom closet right off the laundry room that I had staked out as my own. There was even a Christmas tree that year, with lights, a few glass balls, and candy canes. Everybody had pitched in.

I did not get anything from my mother that year. However, her boss, being a half way decent sort, also being thankful for all of the odd jobs I did, went out and did what was, at the time, just about the nicest thing anybody had done for me. On Christmas day, he gave me a box. There was no wrapping paper, no bows, but, I did not care. I was happy just getting something. Inside the box was a cage. And a bag of wood chips along with a sack of grains and seeds. Inside the cage was a little cream coloured hampster with pink eyes.

I was, needless to say, overjoyed. I wanted to name him, and, it had to be something special. I pulled out my battered copy of the Collected Works of Shakespear, one of the few books I owned, the book I treasured most, and, thumbed around a bit. It might sound silly now, but, I chose the name of Romeo. As a kid, well, I guess it sounded pretty good way back when.

By noon, most of the adults were of course, drunk. Everybody was. And folks wanted to see my hampster.

My mother had a boyfriend at that time. Sober, he was a terror. Drunk, well, it was a two sided coin. He was either the nicest fellow you would ever hope to meet or he was even worse then when he was sober. He was a mechanic. His hands were always black and greasy. I hated him. He was on my list of people I did not want to be like when I grew up.

The grown ups, drunk and three sheets to the wind, were delighted with the little hampster. For a moment, I thought I had bridged the gap. I was hoping I would not spend the day alone, I was happy, it would have been nice to have somebody to share that with.

But it was not to be.

Leonard told me had a Christmas gift for me. He had the little hampster in his hands. He squeezed, then twisted. There was the disgusting crunch of little bones. A little squeak. He laughed a bit and said "Life's not fair. The sooner you learn that, the better off your life will be." He, and the other drunks around him, thought this was pretty funny. My own mother thought was hysterical. He tossed the little crushed body back to me.

I was out in the back burying him while they had their dinner, what ever it was. Like so many other days, I went hungry that day. I was in no mood to be around people. Once again, people had proven to be the enemy, people had proven to be untrustworthy ugly dispicable sorts to be hated.

Late that night, when everybody had passed out, I did what I did best. I snuck into my mother's and Leonard's room. I looted his pockets. Stole about 50 bucks. About a whole weeks worth of pay. I stole his nice gold watch. I stole his rings. I emptied him of anything remotely valuable. The next day, pawned off the watch and the jewelry to my mom's boss, told him I had swiped it from some of his customers and had forgotten to give it to him because I was excited over Christmas. He gave me a pretty decent chunk of money for all my ill gotten gains. Leonard blamed his friend, who was living with us. There was a nasty fight. Said friend was booted out. Later, I also slashed his tires and dumped a sack of sugar into his gas tank. Once again, he blamed his friend, thinking it to be an act of revenge for being booted out. A few days later, when he had gone on a real bender and was totally comatose, and, there was nobody around who would actually take notice, I slashed all the nice leather seats and broke out all the windows in his car. Smashed the head lights and the tail lights. Keyed the car. The shiny black paint took on a whole new look. It was a new car, by the way, a chevy, just about the only thing he took pride in. I grabbed a cinderblock and managed to put some good sized dents in.

Leonard went balistic. He shot his friend a few times, nearly killed him. Leonard got busted and was sent to prison for a long time. My mom never told me how long, she had just told me that Leonard was taking a vacation and would not be back for a long time, as if I would believe that.

Inspite of everything I had done, I still felt the need for revenge. I felt hollow and burned out for a long time. I knew I had crossed some sort of line, but, I did not know for sure at that age what it was. A long time later, I realized I was turning out just like the folks I did not want to be like, but, there was a part of me that just did not care at the time.

Fast forward many years later.

During the very first Christmas with my wife, she asked me why I became so distant during the holidays. Oh I would play santa for the kids, help the Shriners out, I would do all sorts of stuff, but under all of that she saw that I was not happy. After giving it some thought, I finally dumped it all out in her lap. This, along with many other events had really soured me on Christmas. She cried a good bit. Her only reply was "That's horrible. How do you live with it?"

And now, fast forward again, this year.

This Saturday just past, my wife gave me my Christmas present early. She, her sister, and a friend took off, as they are prone to do on a Saturday. When they got back, many hours later, my wife made me sit on the couch and close my eyes. She told me to hold out my hands. She then herded our other critters, the fox and the cat into the bedroom and shut the door.

When that was done she dropped something warm and fuzzy in my hands. When I opened my eyes, there was a little black ball of fur with black eyes, black whiskers, and a pink nose staring at me intently. It was sitting on it's hindpaws, staring up at me expectantly, curiously, cautiously. It held out it's little paw, as if it was waiting for something. I reached out to the coffee table and grabbed one of the Christmas nuts from the dish. There was an odd silence, my wife, her sister, and her friend all looking at me. I offered the nut to the little black lump of coal sitting in my hand. It was taken, and, promptly stuffed into a cheek pouch. It, as it turned out, was girl. A black teddy bear hampster, a specialty breed. (The darn thing actually comes with pedigree papers, and, she seems aware of her status. She is a bit of a snob) My wife told me since I had been a cranky cuss all year she figured all I deserved for Christmas was a lump of coal, and, she had found one. I named her Peekaboo, well, because she loves to play peekaboo. She is jet matte black. There is no shine in her fur. She has little white rings around her ankles and little pink feet. Black as pitch in all other places. She is still a baby infact, just weened and getting started on solid foods.

What can I say? One simple act of kindness. It is during moments such as these that I feel my general distrust and dislike of my fellow human beings in general is misplaced.

It's about ten in the morning. The wife is still asleep, last night she attended a Christmas quilting party and is totally wiped out. The cat and the fox is in bed with her, and, I am sitting here typing this, and, in my shirt pocket there is a little black lump of coal, curled up, asleep, (It's daytime) her cheeks stuffed full of peanuts and cashews. Earlier, Peekaboo was awake, sitting on my shoulder eating banana chips, watching what I was doing intently, at 5 AM, as I take care of my many tasks in preparation for Christmas.

There is a moral in all of this somewhere. The old saying is true. It is not the gift, it is the thought that counts. We would all do well to remember this during the Holidays.

Merry Christmas (And this time, I actually mean it, not just saying it to be sociable) and may your days be festive and happy.
Firstly, there's something very wrong with people who get their jollies killing a child's pet. Perhaps "wrong" is not strong enough. "Fucked up" isn't either. It's... ugh. The result was bred by the circumstances. A child trapped, surrounded by people who condone cruelty, has what choices? Withdrawl and lashing out. Neither is healthy; they're just methods of coping. No options. A child cannot deal with that kind of emotional abuse by himself. I wouldn't hold you responsible. I do hope you learned from the trauma.

Peekaboo, eh? We gonna have to call you DocMinsc now?

I remember my Teddybear Hamster. He wasn't as sociable as Peekaboo was at first. Rascal tamed quickly, though, and became the nicest rodent I've had the pleasure of owning. He was grey/black (lighter/darker areas) with a white belly and some brown sprinkled on top. He earned the nickname "Dingleberries" because his litter always got caught in his long fur. Sometimes the thump-bump of his wheel would put me to sleep at night.

Teddy's are a great breed. Best wishes to Peekaboo.

[o: LEMMING :o]
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Caos2
Caos2

December 18th, 2002, 8:54 am #10

But I forget at the moment which sage of the ages came up with that quote. It sure aint original from me.
Messages are eternal, authors are mortals.
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