Thursday, December 29, 2011

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen In Peace

When I set out for a brief walk on that unseasonably warm Thursday afternoon just before Christmas, I had no idea I was about to discover a disturbing new trend in yard decorations.

I strolled through a small park just down the street from my office building in San Bruno, a suburb of San Francisco, and found myself in a middle-class neighborhood of single-family homes. On nearly every lawn lay the crumpled forms of Santas, snowmen, teddy bears and elves. It took me a while to realize that these sad tableaux, which resembled some holiday version of the St. Valentine's Day Massacre that had mown down the season's favorite icons with machine gun fire, were simply inflatable decorations, their compressors shut off during the daylight hours.

The company I work for does a healthy business in what it calls inflatable decor items, selling giant blow-up haunted houses in October and giant Easter Bunnies in April. But it had never occurred to me before that for most of the day these pressurized plastic figures would have so opposite an effect, lying unfestively together on the grass like victims of the Manson family.

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