The experiment to spread Christmas Gloom started just a couple of weeks prior to the holiday. The subject was our roommate, who displayed quite the penchant for seasonal consumerism and obligatory traditions in years prior. He and his girlfriend acquired a tree and erected it in the house. They continued to ordain it with generic ornaments, possibly to encourage ocular stimulation.
The theory was that we could gradually poison the tree and, ideally, render it unpleasing to the eye by Christmas Day, a day valued by both the religious and materialistic. We started light, by dissolving a heaping tablespoon of salt into hot water daily and pouring it into the reservoir that kept the evergreen hydrated.
Days passed, and the tree wasn't losing life very noticeably, so we decided to up the dose from salt to LA's TOTALLY AWESOME® PLUMBER LIQUID DRAIN OPENER.
The concern of course was that our precious, adorable, perfect kitty cat would drink from the reservoir and poison himself, but at this point the subject was out of town visiting family, so we could erect a small wall of broken concrete slabs around the base of the tree without raising questions.
The slabs would in turn keep our wonderful, snuggly, handsome, little companion from accidentally poisoning himself. Seriously, if curiosity even tries to kill this cat, we will fuck curiosity up beyond recognition because our kitty means everything to us.
The tree had barely dried out come Christmas Day, so there appeared to be a danger that Christmas Gloom might be at a minimum. At this point, measurements were taken of the tree and the data rendered was subjected to a process referred to in the scientific realm as "long division."
"Long division" informed us that one third of a 68-inch tree would be about 22.666 inches. Having gleaned this information, the tree was carefully undecorated and marks were made along the trunk of the tree exactly 22.666 inches from the top and bottom.
A selection of cutting tools was assembled to have their cutting powers tested against the tree. The Japanese refer to similar processes as "Tamashiwari," which translates to "trial by wood." The trunk was still very moist and even the seemingly capable bread knife was humbled by the resistance it met.
Finally, through persistence, a finely serrated kitchen knife succeeded in removing the top 33% of this unwilling festivity.
The bottom was of course even more challenging, and resisted both the finely serrated kitchen knife and the decorative katana sword. There was talk of applying the teachings of Steven Seagal from the 1994 environmental documentary, "On Deadly Ground" and fashioning a two-liter soda bottle to the barrel of a firearm and simply blowing through the trunk without waking the neighbors, though it was decided that the results would lack precision.
So, a machete-like kitchen knife was employed.
Gradually, our efforts came to fruition and the tree was in thirds. The middle third was of no use and was disposed of in a safe and sterile manner.
The top third and bottom third were surgically bound together using generic-brand duct tape.
This created a visual effect that some might refer to as "squatty" or "really un-majestic."
The tree remnants were carefully redecorated, rendering a festive holiday bush for all to enjoy and bask by its humble, radiant luminescence.
Upon the subject arriving home from his family obligations, he screamed profanity and dragged it angrily from the house. He claimed he didn't want his girlfriend to see the festive holiday bush because it would give her emotions he described that sounded similar to trauma. She wrote me an angry letter and they grieved together about their inanimate, dead plant being less presentable than ideal. They said I knew how hard they had worked on their tree, which instantly damaged the definitions of the words "hard" and "work." I almost argued that I'd probably worked harder to destroy it, so they should sympathize for my labor, but such arguments are wasted on such unscientific minds, so I just held my tongue. It was truly a Brown Christmas to remember.