I keep a baseball bat tucked away under the bed on my side. Aside from a chainsaw and a few knives, it’s about as far as my arsenal goes. The thinking is, if somebody breaks into the house, I’ll be awakened by the sound of the alarm or the barking of the dogs or both. I’ll snap to, realize we’re under attack, then roll out of bed, grab the bat, and charge into the fray, ready for clobberin’ time. It’s not a great plan, and it’s not made any better by the fact that I’ve never rehearsed it, as evidenced by the events of several nights ago.

I was awakened by the sound of an immense crash from downstairs, followed by the barking of one of our dogs. The other one was apparently on a smoke break. I snapped to, as per procedure, realizing nothing but that the dog was barking and that something loud had just jarred me out of my sleep, like an explosion or a boulder smashing through the back door. I rolled out of bed, thinking that somebody was breaking in, but I must not have really believed it because I forgot all about the bat. I just ran out of the room, down the stairs and flipped on the light in the living room where I found an enormous tree laying on its side, surrounded by a puddle of water and shards of broken glass in a variety of colors. The goddamn Christmas tree had chosen 1:00 AM to keel over.