I had a serious conversation with Managing Editor Craig before writing this column. He didn't want me to write it; he's a hockey fan and says every time I write a column about hockey, someone on our mutual favorite team gets injured.
"No columns about (redacting name of player to avoid notice by the Injury Fairy)," Craig said.
"But I don't have anything else to write about," I whined. (I jot down column ideas as they come to me, but if I wrote myself a note this week, it's buried under roughly a metric ton of paper on my desk.)
"If you want to risk it ... " he said.
He didn't want to anger the hockey gods, but we have to appease the deadline gods every day, and we're more afraid of them. If the Team-That-Must-Not-Be-Named loses, it's a bummer, but if we miss deadline, that's a disaster.
I suggest the team wrap its players in several layers of bubble wrap. Maybe throw some packing peanuts and Styrofoam in there, too. Just in case.
If you haven't been living under a rock, you know a player whose name starts with "Cro" and ends with "sby" has returned.
My Little Professor is a huge fan and wanted to stay up to watch the game. I asked the LSH for his consent, noting this was "a historical event." The LSH pointed out I used similar reasoning on a previous comeback. He also advanced the suspicion the children were more interested in staying up than in watching hockey. He was so opposed to it, I wondered if he was a secret Flyers fan. (Perhaps he's been whispering in the Injury Fairy's ear?)
In honor of the occasion, the Professor wore his favorite hockey sweater - it's 10 sizes too big, hangs down to his bony little knees and the sleeves extend a good eight inches past the tips of his fingers. When he gets particularly excited - whenever his team scores a goal or delivers a punishing hit - he hops up and down and waves his arms, looking weirdly like a crow on a sugar high.
"Can we make a cake?" he asked.
"Heck yeah." (Life lesson: Never pass up an excuse for cake.)
"Can we have candles? Number candles - can we have (numbers redacted; I'm serious, if he gets hurt, I'll never write about hockey again, so help me God).
"If it makes you happy."
"Can we ice it with white and red icing? It's the colors of the (country redacted) flag."
"Cool with me."
"Will you ice it to look like the flag?"
"It's red on the ends and white in the middle. And it has a maple leaf."
"You want me to put a maple leaf on this? In icing? Seriously?"
Cake decorating is not a particular skill of mine. I did take a cake decorating class, but I was an abysmal failure. I couldn't make an icing flower to save my life or a straight line, for that matter. In fact, I've been known to distribute high fives when I manage to ice a cake without a major mishap. Like destroying the cake.
"Please?" He hit me with the Sad Eyes. I regret teaching the kids that trick. I meant it to be used on the Long Suffering Husband, but they're equal opportunity guilters.
"OK, I'll try."
I tried my best. I didn't exactly have the right tools for it. Or really know what I was doing.
Dear residents of (redacted country), I apologize for dishonoring your flag in icing. It vaguely looked like a maple leaf. Vaguely. However, you could have gone with a simpler flag.
(Wallace-Minger is The Weirton Daily Times community editor and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)