Once, when I was 10, I was celebrating Christmas in Miami at my grandparent’s house after returning to the US from living in South America. I no longer believed in Santa, so it was just opening presents with family, no grand magic other than the innate selfishness of ‘gimme gimme’ that kids at that age have around Christmas.
The tree was situated under the covered part of an open area that sat between the bedroom and the living/dining wings of the meandering house plan. There was also a kidney-shaped swimming pool with a diving board in there, and two stories of much-needed mosquito screening. Beyond that was 10 acres of studiously unkempt avocado trees.
Shirtless in the south Florida muggy morning air, wearing only pajama bottoms, I sat with my brothers, waiting to be told we could begin the attack on Christmas. And at the ‘go’ signal, me and my siblings jumped at the tree, tearing into our gifts like famished dogs with their own bowl of kibble. There were GI Joes, hot wheels, you know, kid shit. All mine. Mine. And like a famished dog mid-meal, I decided to chance a fart rather than interrupt my once-a-year monomania.
And I sharted, right in my PJs. Face frozen in a silent Munch scream. Reverie ruined. Underwear ruined. I trotted off to the bathroom to get my shit in order and returned to where I had left off. Jammies were OK. Pretty sure no one noticed or cared.
I don’t remember what I got that year, other than a mixed message from Buddha and Christ about avarice.