So I was idly flipping through the Target flyer in the Sunday paper when I spotted them.
The “A Christmas Story” pajamas with the leg lamp on them.
On sale for $15, no less.
I’ve been a member of the Cult of “A Christmas Story” since my mom took me to see the movie at the old Hoover Square theater on my Christmas vacation from elementary school. Then TNT or USA or TBS or some cable channel started playing the marathon around Christmas, and I rejoiced at the chance to see it again and again. Even now, I always catch bits of pieces of the movie as it plays and replays. I feel like I never get to see the whole movie from start to finish, but that’s okay. I know the whole story by heart. Also, I have the DVD anyway.
In fact, I’d go so far as to say it’s my favorite Christmas movie. I’m (heretic alert!) really not that fond of all those claymation-animatronic-style movies like “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” and “Frosty the Snowman.” I’m not sure I’ve ever even seen all of “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street,” or at least if I have, I don’t remember them evoking particularly strong feelings in me. And yes, this may sound hard to believe, coming from someone of my generation, but I’ve never seen “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.” Or “Elf.” Someday, kids, someday. I do adore the beloved “A Charlie Brown Christmas,” too, so it probably is the most likely candidate for the top spot on my list. But I think “A Christmas Story” may just edge it out, just barely.
I mean, how else would I have learned that it’s a Really Bad Idea to stick your tongue to a flagpole? Or that “f-r-a-g-i-l-e” spells “fragile,” and no, it’s not Italian? Or that you really need to be careful or you’ll shoot your eye out? Or that soap tastes really, really, really bad?
I’m grinning, even as I think about it. The movie, I mean. Not shooting my eye out or taking a bite of some Lifeboy.
So now I have the pajamas, too. I’m so happy. They’re kind of ugly, I have to admit, but that’s not the point. They feature the leg lamp. THAT’s the point. How could I not have gotten them? The leg lamp is perhaps the scene most associated with people’s memories of the movie. “It’s a lamp,” the dad says dreamily, after he puts that sassy little lampshade with the fringed skirt on top of the base of the “lamp,” clad in fishnet stockings. And the mom reaches down to smack Ralphie’s hand away as he caresses the leg…I mean the lamp. The the neighbors come by to gawk at it, and the dad puffs up with pride and tells them, “It’s a major award.”
And I have to say, I’ve won a few awards in my time but I’ve never won anything, not anything, even close to as memorable as a leg lamp. I’ve got some plaques for stories I wrote, a few certificates for articles I had published, and I even still have a few ribbons from swim meets that I competed in decades ago. But no one’s ever given me a lamp. Or a leg. Or a leg lamp. Or anything Italian. Maybe one day…