The World According to Rico – Just me and the tree

Something strange arrived at my house this week and I don’t know what to think or how to handle it.

I’ve grown accustomed to the way things are in my house so when there is something new, it presents a huge learning curve.

And this latest thing has me reeling with conflicting feelings.

It’s tall and skinny, fuzzy and shiny, sparkly and just plain odd. It sort of looks like a tree one would see in a park, but it’s now in my living room. It’s beyond me why the folks would bring a fake tree into the house, seeing how there are plenty of real ones outside.

There are certain things about a tree, especially one of this type. For example, when they are outside, I pee on them because I’m a puppy and that’s really my only job. I look for forbidden pinecones around their base. I like to rub up against the branches because they smell weird. But for some reason, I’ve been told I can’t do any of those things with the strange one they placed in our dwelling. It’s completely and unnecessarily controversial, taboo and contradictory of all their teachings.

There is also the issue of me having to taste everything in my house. If it’s within my reach, I’m going to taste it. I have licked everything in this building and I’m not about to stop now. Why would I? But there is that word “no” again, when it comes to this stupid tree in my living room. They say I can’t lick, bite or chew on the branches. That is a ridiculous expectation! So far, I’ve avoided doing it, because my mom hasn’t left the house since it was installed. She is sitting at her desk, right now, typing on the computer – and that dang tree is only feet away. So there is no way I can sneak any sort of taste test without getting caught.

Last night, I was told I should be thankful. This is not their normal tree. The other one, I hear, is a big green one Mom usually fills with lights and glass bulbs hanging down. That one is staying in the basement, the folks decided, until I’m “old enough to deal with it.” I don’t know what that means, but apparently I would attack the other one if I saw it. And the carnage would be legendary.

This new one, bought on clearance last year before I was even born, is a simple, tall, skinny flocked tree which I guess will remain without the glass bulbs. It will just be a sparkly little reminder that Christmas is coming, Mom said last night. And I suppose when I’m old and boring, without any drive to destroy things or live my best life, she’ll bust out the traditional decorations. I don’t know if that will ever happen, as the motivation inside me to dive into that lighted thing is consuming me with temptation.

This is my first Christmas, so I don’t know what to expect. I hope no more holiday-related things arrive because I will surely go bonkers before Dec. 25.

This morning, Mom explained to me how the Christmas tree symbolizes Jesus Christ’s birth and resurrection. The tree branches are regarded as a sign of immortality. I find it highly interesting a Christmas tree is a symbol of immortality, yet she threatens to kill me if I tear it to shreds.

Oh Lord in heaven! Mom is putting on her coat! She only does that when she’s about to go outside.

Good God, she’s grabbing her purse. She only does that when she’s going to be gone for a little while.

She’s not taking my leash. That means I’m staying here.

Can it be real? She just rubbed my little face and told me to be good. She says she’ll be right back.

Heavens to Betsy, she’s touching the door handle.

I’m about to be alone.

“Remember, little Rico,” she just said. “Don’t you dare touch that Christmas tree! Be a sweet boy! And if you are good, I’ll give you a treat.”

The door just closed.

I hear her car start.

There’s near silence now, in this house of mine. The only thing I hear is some far-too-cheerful music coming from the television with advertising about Lifetime holiday movies.

Oh, and there’s the sound of my heartbeat as this very excited puppy’s eyes gaze upon the beauty of that strange, sparkly, 7-foot stick by the window.

Don’t look at it, I tell myself. Don’t look at it.

I will need to actively coach myself to do the right thing.

Focus on Lammy, your stuffed animal. She’ll keep your mind off it. Remember, if you don’t touch the tree, you will not only live to see Advent but you will also get a bite of chicken jerky when Mom comes back.

Lammy is boring. I have to look at the tree.

Chew on the stuffed ferret. I have to look at the tree.

Bounce my blue ball. I have to look at the tree.

Toss my red ball. I have to look at the tree.

Bite on Dad’s mangled sunglasses. I have to look at the tree.

Lick the old remote control I hid under the bed. I have to look at the tree.

Drink water. Jump on the couch. Look for mismanaged toilet paper rolls. Lick the patio door. Lay on my baby bed. Lay on my Big Boy Bed. Flip over on my back. Chew on firewood bark. Practice my grown-up voice. Crawl behind the toilet. Run laps between the kitchen and bedroom.

Santa save me, all roads lead back to that tantalizing tree. It’s calling to me – I swear I just heard it say my name. I can’t take my eyes off it. I long to touch it, taste it, wrestle with it. The demons of destruction are oozing out my fuzzy little ears and I find myself inching toward that beacon of adventure.

Forgive me St. Nick. Not even Rudolf could stop me now. The pivotal moment is upon us. My middle name is no longer Control – it’s Christmas Catastrophe.

I’m not sure what’s about to happen. Stay tuned. It’s my first time – it’s just me and the tree.




Thanks for reading this article. content is free and never behind a paywall.
We believe in trustworthy, local journalism that is accessible to everyone.