Happy holidays, everyone!
Read more: This was the manger that almost wasn't...
I tell you, it's not always easy putting a tacky holiday manger together.
Other years have been much simpler. In 2007, the Britney Spears manger, with Kevin Federline waiting outside the door holding a restraining order, practically created itself. Last year, with Sarah Palin and John McCain giving birth to a little baby Barack Obama, my job was easy as pie. Even the three wise men--Joe the Plumber, Joe the Six Pack, and Joe the Biden--were pretty simple to assemble.
But 2009? Honestly, I waited and waited for someone to really stand out from among the usual pack of nitwits and boobs. And month after month, nothing really happened that really rose to the level of manger-hood.
Oh sure, I did consider Sarah Palin. Of course, I did. But it just seemed redundant to me, two years in a row. The only thing that I found tempting about it was the thought of a naked Levi Johnson standing in as the shepherd boy.
Then I thought of the health care bill, since it's literally taken at least nine months and Congress will likely "give birth" to it on Christmas eve. Even that didn't seem quite as much fun as I'd like. My conservative friends would be all up in arms and busy throwing nasty daggers at me about the bill, and it'd take all the fun out of the manger, frankly. Besides, most people wouldn't know who half the people were standing there, anyway.
I also considered Balloon Boy, surrounded by a gaggle of reality TV stars. Those two nitwits who crashed the White House. Those silly ass real housewives. A biggest loser or two. But then I thought, who would remember who they were, three months from now? Nope. Pass.
Thank God Tiger Woods came in in the nick of time and saved the day. I tell you, I have half a mind to mail him my holiday card, just to show my appreciation!
Even once I had settled on a theme, though, the process still took a while.
First off, there were the hos (and by the way, you've all heard that great Tiger joke by now, right? What's the difference between Tiger Woods and Santa Claus? Santa stops at three hos...). The problem was, they all looked exactly alike. No really, I spent hours, staring at the photos I had printed out, trying to make sure that the blond haired blue eyed tramp I was cutting out wasn't the exact same blond haired blue eyed tramp I had been cutting out an hour before that. And then there was the fact that Tiger's wife looked exactly the same as all the OTHER blond haired blue eyed tramps! I tell you, even now, I'm not sure that I don't have a duplicate or two in the photo...it's really, really hard to tell.
Then there was the backdrop. After I was done posing my lovely ladies in the manger, and had taped onto the manger dozens of Tiger text messages that I ripped off from the New York Post, I next had to figure out what to use as a setting.
My first thought was a golf course, so I sent my photos off to my friend, Doctor Al, with this simple request.
Unfortunately though, when I received the good doctor's finished product, I realized I had made a ghastly mistake. The backdrop was too bright. It made it so that the manger scene didn't make much sense (and you can just keep quiet, thank you very much, all you wise asses in the audience asking "since when have you EVER made any sense?")
In desperation, I woke up a sleeping Corb from a sound sleep at eleven o'clock at night, bemoaning my fate. After all those hours of clipping out photos and posing baby Jesus and the Virgin Mary, I was going to end up with a subprime mess!
Thankfully, I was able to torture Corb long enough that he blurted out, "Why don't you put the manger in front of the fireplace? That way it'll look like they're standing at the gates of hell."
And then, a bit of droll dribbled out of his mouth, and he started snoring. But I didn't care! I had my solution. Genius!
Quickly, I gathered up my manger and placed it in front of the fireplace. I posed everyone, turned the fireplace on, and lined up my shot quickly, before the manger caught fire. (Although the thought did have some appeal, I do want to save my manger for future use, after all...)
Unfortunately, even then, the photos didn't look quite right. They were either too dark, or too washed out, when I sued a flash. And then, just as I was about to lose all hope, I hit upon the idea of placing Corb's crystal lamp behind the camera, so that it cast a dull orangy light upon the entire manger scene. That did the trick. A manger was born!
The day after I took the photo, Corb and I were driving to pick up breakfast, and I asked, "So what do you think?"
Corb thought a minute before he replied. "Well, pretty much, I looked at it this morning and said, 'Oh look, Ted's gone and done something insane. It must be Saturday.'"
I grinned. "What do you mean by that?"
"I mean, I expect that you're going to do something certifiable, by now. Frankly, it wouldn't surprise me if one day I receive a call from the police telling me that they just arrested you for running around naked, with your whole body dyed purple, outside the local zoo. I'd be like, 'Oh, well, what's Ted done THIS time?"
I smiled, because I knew, deep down in his heart, that's why he loves me so. "Nonsense," I snorted. "I don't look good in purple. Now GREEN, on the other hand..."
Happy holidays, everyone! Here's hoping for lots more fun and games in 2010.