I thought I'd enjoyed Easter, but my boss straightened me out.
"You really need kids around to get full enjoyment from a holiday," he said. "Did you have an Easter basket or play any games?"Well, no, but I did eat some Haagen Daz ice cream directly from the container and I watched a bad television movie.
"You need some kids," my boss said, then he told me all about tying his leg back so he could play pirate with his older son and zooming his baby around the house in the dirty-clothes hamper.
It sounded like fun and I already have the dirty clothes, but where would I find the kids? My mother always told me I should get married before giving birth. She was quite specific on that point.
Then I saw it in the paper. The perfect solution. The "adopt a highway" program.
Individuals or groups can be responsible for a strip of highway, keeping it clean and taking care of its needs. It sounded like satisfying work.
The streets are pretty quiet on Easter. Spending time with my road would make for a restful holiday. I wouldn't have to tie my leg back and hop. There would be no need for sugary candy, and I wouldn't have to pay the dental bills that follow. Roads don't get cavities.
Then I remembered potholes. No, I can't afford to mother a highway.
My sister's kids adopted bricks. A civic fund-raising group in Portland, Ore., decided to pave Pioneer Courthouse Square with monogrammed bricks at $20 a piece.
"We bought a brick for each child," my sister said. "The trick is, to find out where your bricks are, you also need a $10 map. The bricks cover an entire city block."
She denied spending holidays with the family bricks, but said she did show them off to out-of-town guests.
It sounded perfect. A "chip off the old block" to show to my friends; a place to spend holidays; a low-maintenance relationship. I asked her if there were any drawbacks.
"Well, they're not for the oversensitive," she said. "If you're going to lie awake nights wondering who's walking all over your brick or what a dog may leave on it, `adopt a brick' is not for you."
She suggested "adopt a sugar maple," but it turned out to be a scam. The Vermont natives aren't a bit concerned with the trees' welfare. They just abuse the trees in order to sell syrup. I was tempted to head east with a buzz saw and liberate a few of the poor enslaved perennials.
Another option for the childless is the "adopt a book" program available through some city libraries. In exchange for money to purchase or restore a book, the proud parents get their names written inside the cover.
You can check your volume out on holiday weekends or when you just want to curl up in bed with it. On weekends when you have a better offer, you can leave it at the library. The only danger is that some other family will check it out and refuse to return it. Custody battles can get nasty.
A friend adopted a whale for a year.
"You send them money, then you never hear from them," she said. "He could be in Alaska, trapped under the oil for all I know. It's enough to break a mother's heart. If I could do it again, I'd choose a pet rock."
But the best adoptee of all may be offered by people "selling" stars.
"After an initial investment, you never send money again," said one proud papa. "If you are not in the mood to see your star, just don't look up. On the other hand, you always know where your `baby' is at 1 a.m.
"You can wish on a star with about the same success rate as wishing that a human child would clean her room. You can navigate your sailboat by your star. You can picnic under it on Easter or other special occasions. Your star can even perform in your church Christmas pageant.
"And best of all, if your star has any problems, you won't get a hysterical call in the middle of the night. As a matter of fact, you won't know anything about it for billions of light years."