The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

November 24, 2012

Mike Pound: ’Tis the season for tug of war

By Mike Pound

— The annual tug of war has begun.

On one end of the rope are my wife and our 14-year-old daughter, Emma, and I am on the other end. On the surface it might seem that I am outnumbered in this tug of war, but Emma and my wife aren’t that big and I have the strength of 10 men. Granted, they aren’t very big men, but still I can handle myself in a tug of war against my wife and Emma.

Or I would if this particular tug of war was physical, but, unfortunately, it’s not. This tug of war is a tug of war of wills, which means I’m toast. What sort of toast you ask?


The battle of wills we are engaged in is the battle of when to buy and decorate our Christmas tree. It’s an annual battle that, so far, has resulted in somewhat of a standoff. In general, my wife and Emma are of the opinion that our Christmas tree should go up in July and not come down until June. I, on the other tinsel, am of the opinion that our Christmas tree should go up at noon on Christmas day and come down at 2:30 Christmas afternoon.

Now, that might be an exaggeration of our respective stances on our Christmas tree dispute, but if it is, it’s a slight exaggeration.

My wife and Emma love to get what I consider a head start on Christmas. As I type this, my wife and Emma are home putting up Christmas decorations both inside and outside of our house. I guess I don’t mind the indoor decorations so much, but I’m not much for outdoor decorations.

I have sort of an ongoing reverse Fox News war on Christmas is what I have.

But because I’m not a Congress creature, I have learned, over the years, to compromise a bit on our outdoor Christmas decorations. Sometimes, in the past, I have even helped my wife put up our outdoor decorations. At least, I think I have. If not, I’m sure my wife will let me know when she reads this.

As always, call it a hunch.

The one area where I refused to compromise is the area of outdoor Christmas lights. I think outdoor Christmas lights are beautiful and festive — on someone else’s house. On our house, I think they are of the devil.

For one thing, someone else would have to put the outdoor lights on our house. I’ve never done it, but it seems to me putting outdoor lights on a house would be a lot of work. First of all, there would be the matter of finding the lights every year. Of course, if I ever did put up outdoor Christmas lights, finding them every year wouldn’t be too difficult because they would still be on our house.

See, that’s the other thing about outdoor Christmas lights: After spending hours putting them up, you have to spend hours taking them down.

It doesn’t make sense. I mean you don’t build a house and then tear it down, do you?

Once my wife and Emma have our house decorated (inside and out), they start whining about getting the Christmas tree. My wife and Emma say it’s not truly “’Tis the season” until we put up our Christmas tree. To that, I always say “’Tis too.”

I like to wait until closer to Christmas to set up the tree. See, I like having a Christmas tree, it makes the house feel festive. But if we were to put it up — say — today, I think I would get so used to having the Christmas tree around that by the time the actual day rolled around I wouldn’t notice the tree.

I would develop Christmas tree amnesia is what I would do.

So what my wife, Emma and I likely will do is compromise and put our Christmas tree up sometime in the middle of December and everyone will be sort of happy.

Now if we could just agree on letting the tax breaks for rich people expire.