Monday, February 20, 2006

A RARIE HOME COMPANION (an original seasonal shaggy dog story)

All rabid fans of the shaggy dog story genre (a.k.a. "groaners") will recall the tired old tale of the frustrated fellow who sought to unceremoniously dispose of his troublesome pet "Rarie." ("A rarie home companion," if you will) The punch line to that gem goes something like this..."It's a long way to tip a rarie." Likely very few readers will remember or revere this far more bizarre tale involving some other creatures of the same species. It goes something like this...

Saint Nicholas was one fellow who recognized the true talents of the raries and thus one year undertook the task of training a number of them as seasonal workers at his North Pole workshop. Probably few folks realize that the elves are specialists at making toys but many extra hands are still needed to wrap and load the millions of packages into the sleigh on Christmas eve. The raries were cute, worked cheap and if they became a nuisance, well, they could easily be pushed off a cliff. (See original story) Being somewhat diminutive like an elf, the raries were also able to negotiate the small working quarters and handle the same small tools, so raries and elves seemed a good fit. To more quickly distinguish these raries from the actual elves, St. Nick decided to outfit each of the creatures with a lightweight pull-over cotton undershirt that featured a colorful image of his own jolly old face.

The raries and the elves seemed to work well together and all was fairly harmonious until the big Christmas eve rush. Things were getting quite hectic and some of the elves grew impatient with the clumsy raries who, unfamiliar with the procedures were botching many things up and slowing down the process in the way that only a seasonal worker can do. You know the type! One particular rarie was especially inept in his tasks and was constantly being corrected and berated by the head elf. It almost seemed as if the elf was deliberately trying to tick a rarie off. As the final frantic hour arrived and the frenzy of activities rapidly built to a crescendo, this one beleaguered little rarie could take the elf's harassment and criticism no more.

Nobody actually saw the moment when it happened but the sullen little rarie must have just suddenly snapped. In a fit of rage and fury he pounced on the belligerent little elf and savagely beat him to a pulp. By the time the other elves managed to pull the creature off the top of his tormentor and subdue him, his cute little Kris Kringle shirt had become splattered with the green blood of the battered elf who had provoked him so. Naturally the entire North Pole was abuzz with the news of this outrageous event and it really did put quite a damper on the remainder of the season's celebrations. In an atmosphere of shame and distrust, the rest of the raries were relocated to California to work as fruit and vegetable pickers. Of course they were forced to leave behind the single offending rarie who had gone berserk. He was jailed, accused of aggravated assault and was held for trial. Lucky for him he was able to retain a very good lawyer who discovered a seldom used loophole in the law that seemed to address just such a situation. What was his defense? "Temp, a rarie in Santa tee."

Happy holidays,

Gary Hallock


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