The Eighth Page

Ramon and His Shopping Cart

My parents sit, eyes open wide with amazement, reading through the thick, laminated portfolio – my Christmas list. They are intensely focused on the items on the list, but every so often a question like, “A jet ski?” or “What do you need an industrial-sized barrel of caviar for?” can be heard. Creating the list was no small feat. I worked tirelessly for days, searching my brain for the gifts that would make the Holiday season special (this is why I decided against a llama – it isn’t festive enough). I revised the list over and over again, relying on Mountain Dew and Culture Club music to keep me awake and alert, until I had finally assembled a Christmas wish list that towered above all others in radiant glory. Apparently, my parents thought otherwise. For some odd reason, they seemed to think that a cell phone and clothes were gifts aplenty for a caviar-loving man like myself. So, after listening to my numerous post-unwrapping complaints (“But mom, my own personal butler would have made Christmas perfect!”), my parents decided to show me the real meaning of Christmas. The car came to a stop and a voice I recognized as my father’s told me to get out. My mother came up behind me and untied the bandana that had been covering my eyes and the rope that had bound my hands together before hurrying back into the passenger seat of my parents’ car. “We’ll pick you up tomorrow. Love you, sweetie. Merry Christmas!” With those words, my parents left me shivering, frightened, and alone, my only friend being the turkey sandwich that my mother had slipped into my coat pocket. I thought the first priority should be to find out exactly where I was. Looking around, I noticed a man pushing a shopping cart down the sidewalk toward me. “Yo. What’s up, my homie?” “What?” “I feel you, home slice. I was just hoping you could give me the DL on where our crib is right now.” “We in the ghetto, son.” With that, it all became clear. My parents dropped me off in a less-privileged neighborhood in the hope that I would see through all the material things like expensive, exotic gifts and find the true meaning of Christmas. It seemed that their plan was working. “You don’t happen to enjoy caviar, do you?” asked the man with the shopping cart. “Word, homie. I feel you.” “Great. I’m Ramon. Hop in the shopping cart and we’ll go get a Christmas meal.” So I climbed into Ramon’s glistening chariot and was whisked off to his ‘crib’ (crib means house, for all you people who aren’t in on the DL). Oddly enough, it turns out that Ramon was not a homeless man living out of a shopping cart, after all. In fact, he was a millionaire who only pretended to be homeless in the hopes that a situation such as this might present itself. So, I spent Christmas day eating caviar by Ramon’s pool listening to P Diddy. I returned home the next day a wiser (and more blinged-out) boy than the day before. Maybe I didn’t find the true meaning of Christmas after all, but at least I learned that homeless people with shopping carts aren’t always truly homeless. They might sometimes be millionaires.