For several years in my life the Gilbert Chemistry set was "the" Christmas Gift to get from Santa. I never got a Gilbert Chemistry Experiment Lab because Santa seemed to know every year... "A Kid like you with a chemistry set like that would blow himself up."
My parents would tell me that Santa was only thinking of my safety.
Nonetheless, my friend Lindsay a couple of years older than me,who lived just up the street did receive the Deluxe Gilbert Chemistry Set for Christmas one year. Before we went back to school Lindsay allowed me to come over and assist in some "Experiments".
We decided to make gun powder. Yes the ingredients to make gun powder were contained in the Deluxe Gilbert Chemistry Set. It was not one of the experiments that came with the Deluxe Gilbert Chemistry Set instruction booklet. However, Lindsay found the formula, at the Library and realized we could actually make black powder. This was supposed to be a Children's "Educational" Toy, so... making gun powder was a learning experience to me. Fortunately there was a limited amount of chemicals in the Deluxe Gilbert Chemistry Set to make an excess of gun powder. I do remember being shocked at the height to which a Desenex foot powder can flew when propelled by our home made gun powder.
But that is Christmas past here is a story of Christmas Present. I love the dual meaning of the word "present": it is a gift and it is also the moment. Perhaps our greatest gift is the present.
Today was a busy day at the post office. Our Christmas mailing is done, this was a business mailing I had to post. I knew the post office might be busy but, I thought I would use the automated stamp machine. Unfortunately the machine was out of service, I had to stand in the long line with one envelope.
Several customers ahead of me become upset that there were no more Christmas Stamps. Finally a Postal Clerk named Dale spoke loudly to the crowd.
"We are out of Christmas stamps. If you are in line for Christmas Stamps we don't have any."
A few people grumbled and left the line behind me. After a couple more customers Dale once again announces to the crowd,."There are no more Christmas Stamps, we are totally sold out." Then Dale yells to someone occupying the inner most part of the mail room. "Janice we need to get a sign out here that lets everyone know we are out of Christmas stamps."
Janice mumbled back in a way that indicated there would be no sign, it was all up to Dale alone to deal with the Christmas stamp mob. Once more Dale announced, "There are no more Christmas Theme stamps, we have lots of stamps just no Christmas themes."
I was at the moment thinking how much stress is heaped onto a bunch of days on the calendar. Hanukkah, Christmas, New Years Eve all crowd the same time of year. So here is this postal worker trying not to piss people off because they have sold out of Christmas stamps. The line behind me is now much longer than when I joined. Dale is dealing with packages that all needed to be somewhere before next week. It is obvious he would need to decompress after this day was over. Or perhaps he would have to wait until next week for things to return to normal.
I digress to say my wife believes that my joke radar is not calibrated properly in public situations. That's to say I am always going for a joke when the situation or the person in real life may not be in the mood for my humor. Sandi even questions the idea that it is humorous at those times. That said, it is a fine line that I don't always see clearly. This was one of those times.
I finally made my way up to Dale. With a 50 yard stare through the place I was standing he mechanically said, "What can I do for you today?" He was in a daze.
I only had a second to think about it and no time to filter what was about to come out of my mouth.
"Got any Christmas stamps?" I said.
Dale's distant stare was interrupted as he now clearly focused on me and what I had just said. Fortunately he got it. He burst out laughing and giggled through the words, "That's a good one you got me."
My Christmas is complete. I got a laugh from an over worked, stressed out postal worker. Perhaps I even saved lives.
As you were,