This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Santa Claus is still on the roof of my house. Not the real one. He's in rehab. With 315 million deliveries in the U.S. alone, how could a guy not develop a serious substance-abuse problem?
The one on my roof is the plastic light-up version that I tie to the furnace pipe every December for the grandkids. It's how they know Swag Day is getting close.
This far past Christmas, the roof Santa has become an embarrassment. He's still up there like the last relative at a party who just won't leave.
Santa is the final item of our Christmas decorations and the most dangerous. The rest are boxed away in the basement where they'll stay until I can smuggle them into a Dumpster or the wife wants them upstairs again.
Most conscientious people have taken down their Christmas decorations by now.
Only holiday bliss ninnies, the socially indifferent and the lazy still have them on display.
I just went outside and checked the five homes that surround mine: Reyes, Short, Mauchley, Cundick and Thomas. All of them still have Christmas decorations up. Two of them will still have them up in April.
These could actually be the smart ones.
The roof of a house is no place to be for a guy right now, especially one who is only up there because his wife made him go.
Although she loves her Christmas decorations, my wife doesn't force me to go onto the roof anymore. I say this because we've been married nearly 40 years.
She's learned to balance what she wants on the roof against how much it will cost if I fall off putting it up there, especially if I drag the satellite dish and the rain gutter with me.
It's a particularly important point right now. Thanks to a stretch of vicious weather, most roofs still have snow on them. They're treacherous places even for coordinated people.
Unfortunately, the coordination factor works counter to nature. For example, a guy is at his most coordinated when he's young, before he gets married and is forced to worry about crap such as rooftop Christmas decorations.
Later, when he is married and becoming increasingly less coordinated, is ironically when he has to go up on the roof.
There are three reasons guys who have reached an age where they have no coordination at all will do this: They want their wife to be happy; they don't want their wife to be mad; and, finally, they have grandchildren.
For the first few years, I only loosely attached Santa to the furnace pipe. Getting him down was easy. I just picked up the extension cord and yanked him off the roof. That worked until the day the furnace pipe came with him.
Then we moved to Herriman, where the wind is relatively constant. Unless he's firmly attached to the furnace pipe, the wind will spin Santa around on it like a drunk on a lamppost.
Note: Rumors to the effect that I once tried to get Santa off the roof by shooting at him are only partially true.
Right now, I'm just watching the thermometer. Santa will stay up on the roof until the weather breaks and I won't.
Robert Kirby can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or facebook.com/stillnotpatbagley.