My aunt’s friend Lou has a passion for snowmen – not the kind you build, but the decorative kind. Over the years he has amassed an impressive collection of ornaments, figurines and snow globes featuring these jolly snow-folk frolicking through a winter wonderland.
One year Lou found a type of snowman figurine that he liked at Bass Pro Shop. Most people would have bought one or two to briefly admire and then put in a box with their other Christmas decorations, but Lou is a visionary and he considers moderation a weakness of lesser men. He scooped up every box on the shelf and kept going back whenever they restocked until he had hundreds of the things, all packed neatly in boxes. I don’t know where they are now – and I’m not sure he does either – but the acquisition bought him great satisfaction.
Lou also has about a dozen big plastic snowmen that he puts out in his yard every year at Christmas, the kind that come with plastic brooms and top hats and jolly expressions. One year an anonymous Scrooge stole one of them, and Lou was utterly outraged. For days, every conversation turned into a rant about the lawless immorality running rampant in society. I got the impression that as far as Lou was concerned, there had been nothing to rival this egregious theft since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah.
Eventually Lou solved his problem by purchasing a giant chain that he wrapped around the whole parade of snowmen and padlocked. No doubt it made an effective deterrent to would-be thieves, but the chain-gang effect did rather spoil the jollity (see picture below).
You see, Lou has difficulty letting go of snowmen. As soon as one comes into his possession he forms a sentimental attachment and it’s hard to break the bond. One time Lou gave my aunt a snowman figurine for Christmas. The next day he realized that he liked it so much that he absolutely had to have one of his own. He went back to the store, but they were sold out. He tried badgering Carrie to give hers back, but she refused. (Lou has badgered her into a lot of things over the years, after all; she had to draw the line somewhere.)
So Lou did what any reasonable man would do in such a situation: he spent the next eight years scouring eBay and dropping pointed hints every chance he got that if Carrie didn’t return his heart’s desire, it was only a matter of time before he withered away from sorrow and deprivation.
He worked hard at it, and at one point even managed to guilt Carrie into helping him with his eBay search, but I am proud to report that so far she has stood firm and Lou has not been able to pester her into surrendering the coveted snowman.