When I was a kid growing up in Pittsburgh, each Christmas we went downtown to Buhl Planetarium to see the miniature railroad exhibition. It was pretty great. The exhibit included several trains running along tracks and making lovely clickety-clack sounds, houses, cars, people–everything on a teeny scale. It was always a delight.
So imagine my surprise when I arrived at the hospital in early December for one of my daily zaps and discovered a whole Christmas village set up on a table in the lobby. It only had one train, but it was merrily clickety-clacking along an oval track.
From a distance, it was absolutely charming but upon looking closer, I discovered an odd assortment of elements. There were a couple of Hallmark looking houses, a Lincoln Log church, a fort made of blocks with a chimpanzee on its roof, a train station (nowhere near the train) with a bride and broom in front of it, a chicken coop, a polar bear, some pandas and, of course, Santa and a moose having a cookout. I could smell the hot dogs and ‘smores.
All I could think was, “Why not?”
I grew up with certain cultural prejudices, certain beliefs that things were a certain way and set in stone. But even now I am discovering how wrong I was about some things. For example, the Virgin Mary, not her son, was herself the Immaculate Conception with her immaculacy having been brought about at her conception by virtue of the birth of her son. (Huh?) Somehow that made it possible for her to get pregnant without exposing herself to a) a doorknob, b) a toilet seat, or c) sperm. I’m no scientist but I have a hard time swallowing that. I contend that either Mary was a liar or doorknob and toilet seat sanitation left a lot to be desired in those days. At any rate, despite what my high school sex ed instructor said, that was entirely possible, a good thing, and much to be admired. (Uh…all right. If you say so.)
But lets move on.
Somehow, this son of hers came about and grew up to be a carpenter and really swell guy. When he wasn’t building oxcarts or cobbling tables or creating sperm-infested doorknobs, he spent his time telling people to be nice to each other, which so enraged the Romans that they nailed him to a cross. (Come on now.)
But wait. It gets better.
Even swell guys die, and he did, but three days later he got better. He arose from his pallet, single-handedly and in true Superman style moved a five ton stone blocking the entrance to his tomb, popped into an impromptu supper with a few of his mates, then sailed off to heaven a la ET, and now we commemorate that equally hard to swallow tale by worshiping a bunny wearing a bow tie and carrying a basket full of plastic grass, chocolate eggs and jelly beans. (Say what???)
So what have we learned? Miniature train exhibitions are often not what they seem, love and marriage might go together like a horse and carriage but sex and pregnancy are another story, and people do not like being told to be nice to each other. Oh, and as long as sugar and plastic are involved, people will swallow just about anything.
If you have issues with any of that, I offer an alternative. I give you the Unimoose.
The Unimoose is wise. He is strong. He has courage and a wicked sense of humor. He can make you smile and stop taking yourself so seriously. He can help you take a step back and see that so many things in your life are good, so many things in you are good. He can see into the future and assure you that this, too, will pass.
Since 2017 has sucked worse than wet socks on a cold day and stale potato chips in rancid onion dip, the Unimoose has donned his hat and scarf and straddled his glimmering pink unicorn to ride bravely into the future and bring you hope. Such a teeny word, just four little letters, but for me, at least, it makes all the difference.