Thoughts On The Dead

Musings on the Most Ridiculous Band I Can't Stop Listening To

Tag: christmas

Christmas Squattings

“Put me down, man.”

I know that voice.

“It’s me, man.”

Soup? Are you living in Bill Walton’s comically oversized Christmas stocking?

“It’s cozy in here. And all the oranges I can eat, man.”

That’s good for your scurvy.

“My gums are the pinkest they’ve ever been, man.”

Does Bill Walton know you’re in there?

“Shit, yeah, man. I know Big Bill since forever, man. I used to live in his van.”

I remember that.

“Big Bill’s good people, man.”

He is. Merry Christmas, Soup.

“Back atcha. I’m glad we can finally say ‘Merry Christmas’ again, man.”

Oh, no. Don’t tell me you’re on that Fox News ‘War on Christmas’ bullshit.

“No, man. I meant since last December. You say ‘Merry Christmas’ for, like, eleven-and-a-half months out of the year, and people think you’re nuts, man.”

Never change, buddy.

“I only got one set of clothes, man.”

A Feeling That Will Last All Through The Year

The very first Christmas song was written by Joseph Christ not an hour after the birth of the Messiah.

“Greetings, Joseph of Nazareth! We are the Three Wise Men: Porthos, Athos, and Aramis.”

“Those aren’t your names.”

“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego?”

“That’s from an entirely different part of the Bible.”

“Larry, Darryl, and my other Wise Man, Darryl?”

“How do you not know this?”

GOOGLING NOISE

“Caspar, Melchior, and Balthazar.”

“That sounds right. Hey, how did you guys get in here?”

“It’s a manger. There’s no door.”

“Sure.”

“We have brought gifts for the Christ! Gold!”

“Yeah? Wow, great. Thank you.”

“Frankincense!”

“Okay.”

“And myrrh!”

“What now?”

“Myrrh!”

“How do you spell that?”

“It depends. What language are we speaking?”

“Aramaic, I suppose.”

“Listen, don’t worry about it. You’re gonna love the myrrh.”

“If you say so.”

“You, uh, you didn’t get us anything?”

“Excuse me?”

“Not to be rude, but it’s Christmas. You exchange gifts.”

“Riiiiiight. Of course I got you something. And it’s better than, you know, stuff. Because…I…made it. It…is…a…song.”

“You wrote us a song?”

“I did, yes, I did. That’s what I did, yes.”

“Oh. Well, great. Let’s hear it.”

“I would love to sing it for you. But I need a piano. And since this is a manger–”

“Leon!”

LEON RUSSELL AND A PIANO ENTERING  A MANGER NOISE

“You can give him the sheet music.”

“Great, great.”

And then Joseph of Nazareth did improvise a few verses of a song entitled Christmas Is For Step-Dads, Too until Mary, who had delivered a Messiah in a pile of hay not an hour before, yelled at them all to get out of the manger and take Leon Russell with them.

A tiny bit less than two millennia later, Bing Crosby was beating his children viciously when a Wise Man appeared.

“Hullo. I’m David Bowie.”

“How’d you get in here, longhair?”

“It’s a manger. There’s no door.”

“So it is. Let’s sing some Christmas tunes, hippie.”

Excuse me.

Yes?

None of this is how it happened. None of this is true.

It feels true, though, doesn’t it?

Not even. 

No, not really.

Why do you do this? You had a point when you sat down and then you started in with the little dialogues and the stupid jokes and got waylaid from your topic.

In my defense, my topic was a rightfully semi-discarded holiday tune from Billy Squier. It’s not like it would be a huge loss to the literary community if I didn’t get to it.

Get to it.

Fine.

Christmas Is The Time To Say “I Love You” is the greatest Christmas song of all time. Fuck Silent Night–which, much like 99 Luftballoons, sounds better in the original German–and Little Drummer Boy and Jingle Bells (which is apparently racist now) and Dominick the Christmas Donkey (which has always been racist) and Frosty The Snowman, which introduces children to the occult via hat-based summoning spells. CITTTSILY is also better than White Christmas and Blue Christmas and Red, White, and Blue Christmas.

(I just assume there is a song called Red, White, and Blue Christmas.)

(Yup.)

But simply saying “Fuck those other guys” isn’t really an argument, except on Reddit, so allow me to walk you through the facts:

FACT: No Jesus

Enthusiasts, you know TotD loves himself some Jesus, but not when it comes to Christmas songs. First of all, they just remind me that I might be thrown into a concentration camp at any second. (All Jews believe this.) Second, religious Xmas tunes only sound right when sung by masses of young children and fuck them. Christmas is not about children. It is about rocking.

FACT: Guitar solo

Does Rudolph The Bullied Reindeer With Rosacea have a guitar solo? No, and neither does Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses. Winner: Billy Squier.

FACT: Fuck Christmas Wrapping by The Waitresses.

God, I hate that song.

FACT: Billy Squier’s hair is awesome.

As I have remarked before, that was my haircut when I was 25. Exactly the same length, color, texture. And I miss my old haircut, so when I see Billy Squier killing the ‘do game like that, it makes me nostalgic and induces fondness. Ipso facto: CITTTSILY is the best Christmas song ever.

FACT: Original VJs in the video.

Paul McCartney’s Simply Havin’ A Wonderful Christmastime is both a dreadful song and is accompanied by a video starring Paul’s wife, Linda. I have never for a second had a crush on Linda McCartney, even when she was alive. CITTTSILSY’s video features both Nina Blackwood and Martha Quinn, both of whom were very special women in my sticky little teenage heart. Winner: Billy Squier.

How much longer we doing this, chief?

I was wrapping up.

For the best.

What say you, Enthusiasts? Best Christmas song?

(DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Do not be waltzing up in here with The Pogues or Darlene Love. Everyone knows about that shit. We’re talking about the bench players on the Christmas song roster.)

TotD’s Christmas List

Let’s take “World Peace” off the table; it ain’t happening, and certainly not this year. Asking for world peace in 2018? Why don’t you ask for hairy lizards, or a non-humiliating end to Brexit, or bowling balls made of fudge and promises? This coming year will be rambunctious at best, decoherent at worst. Ill winds blow, Enthusiasts, and it doesn’t take a weatherman, etc.

And absolute power over all. Let’s remove that from the list as well, as it’s not going to happen and I don’t even want the job. Can you imagine it? Being king? Think of the paperwork. The meetings! Have you ever seen a briefing book, Enthusiasts? Thick binders full of facts and figures and single-spaced memorandum on places you don’t want to go, people you don’t care to meet, and concepts so boring that one of them is called quantitative easing. That would be part of being the king in 2018: you’d have to make some sort of decision on quantitative easing. And whether AI deserved rights. And cleaning up the Pacific Trash Gyre. Oh, and the Middle East. If you were named king of the world, then you’d have to deal with the Middle East, and if Jared Kushner couldn’t solve the problems over there, then what chance do you have? Now, if someone offers you the chance to be king and a Time Sheath, then you should absolutely jump at the offer. Being the king of the world in the past was a sweet gig: feasts and armies and big thrones made of gold–lapis lazuli would be involved–and crowns and you could chop heads off. Now? In 2018? King of the world is the opposite of a sweet gig. Telling people what to do was a lot more fun a couple hundred years ago.

So what does one ask for on a Christmas so dire?

I have pared my list down, Enthusiasts, to two items: money and whatever. Let us discuss each.

Money is delightful; I don’t know if you’re aware. Having it makes you better than those that do not, and it is almost as nice to have in your pants as a boner, but more useful. Far more problems can be solved with cash than with an erection. Money can create a forest, did you ever think of that? The very trees felled to make the bank notes transformed back into themselves. Buy the land, the seed, and spread and till and water and nurture: in just a few decades, a mighty wood will rise. Now, I will certainly not do that with any moneys you might see to giving me for Christmas, but I still think it is a fine idea to hit up the Donate Button.

Whatever is also lovely. Some of you live in places where whatever is legal, and you can walk into a shop on the Main Drag and choose between this whatever and that whatever. Oh, how a man stuck in a swamp envies you. It is an errand, whatever! You stop at the library, and then the dry cleaners, and then the post office, and then the shop that sells whatever. The door goes TINKadink and there is a counter and a cash register and an attractive and pretentious young person who attends to your needs. There are different strains of whatever, and varying delivery methods, and everything is weighed and sorted in front of you so there is no tomfoolery. Mingus is playing on the shop’s stereo, or Buck Owens. The whatever is lovely this year, and pairs well with a Valpolicella.

So: this is my Christmas list, Enthusiasts: money or whatever. If I am worthy of a gift, then please send it in either of those manifestations. If, in this dreadful year of bottomless pits and mountainous monstrosities, this bullshit has provided a moment of solace and you’ve placed me among your loved ones, then hit the Donate Button or send me an e-mail full of euphemisms. If not, keep reading for free.

Although, you know: two fucking novels (almost) and all the little bullshit is worth something.

Now you’re just begging.

No, I was haranguing. Much worse.

I hope you have a tombstone Christmas.

Poetic.

You’re a loathsome toad.

Regardless: Christmas is the season for giving, Enthusiasts, and I should be on top of your lists. Hit up the Donate Button. Or whatever

And to all a good night!

You should die in your sleep.

God, I hope so.

Something Pleasantly Pleasant

Yeah, yeah, yeah: Louis Armstrong’s version is better. Sue me for growing up in the 80’s.

Christmas All Around The World

In a few hours, the sun will rise–weakly and with effort–over the British Isles. Families will wake early to have the traditional British Christmas breakfast: eggs, something they claim to be bacon, and a knife fight. After that is a long day of drinking and literary references, followed by some sort of reminder that the country’s best days are over. The real fun is the next day, Boxing Day, in which the entire population beats the living shit out of each other. It’s like The Purge, but in metric.

In Jerusalem, there is more of an emphasis on religion, which is to be expected. The city of Jerusalem is like a 4/chan thread with public transit that occasionally explodes. Christmas is no different: the Christians want access to someplace that was a church before Saladin took a shit there; the Jews will be picking fights with everyone in sight, each other, and Rome (just for old time’s sake); and American Protestants will be antagonizing everyone into starting Armageddon. Christmas is a lot like every day in Jerusalem.

Australians–at the moment of this sentence’s writing–either celebrated Christmas yesterday, or maybe last month, or possibly not until next week. (You know about my inability to understand time zones.) Aussies sleep in on Christmas, and then assemble in great droves to get in fist fights about whether Ford or Holden has better cars, and sing the beloved Australian carol Santa’s Not Such A Bad Cunt. Each year, around a dozen people are killed by their Christmas trees because in Australia, Christmas trees are venomous.

German Christmas begins promptly at dawn: there is a sunrise service and all attend. After this, state TV broadcasts a Scorpions concert from 1982; the entire country watches while they eat breakfast, which is composed of nine different kinds of sausage. One of the sausages has a crucifix concealed within it, and the family member who receives the prize is declared der OberGruppenKristmasKommisar (such a beautiful language) and he or she is in charge of the day’s rations of pretzels and collective guilt.

Chinese Christmas is also known as Friday, and people celebrate going to work, or taking care of the kids, or shooting dope. Just another day, basically. The Apple Store in Beijing probably has its halls all decked out, but Wu Ming or Zhang San out in the boondocks? Friday.

On Christmas morning, Albanians return the chickens they have stolen throughout the year.

In Ancient Rome, it’s not Christmas at all, but Saturnalia. It marked the end of the Roman year, and has since turned into Christmas and New Year’s, in a cultural-evolutionary and syncretic kinda way. There were gifts and feasts and parties, and the usual taboos on drunkenness and gambling were lifted. Slaves got served dinner by their masters–the slaves still had to cook, but the serving was the important thing–and all the markets were closed. Various animals were sacrificed for various reasons.

It is now the month of December, when the greatest part of the city is in a bustle. Loose reins are given to public dissipation; everywhere you may hear the sound of great preparations, as if there were some real difference between the days devoted to Saturn and those for transacting business.

That was Seneca in a letter to a friend, but it should be remembered that Seneca was one in a long line of scolds that populate the history of Rome. (Also: Seneca wrote the original letter in Latin. Seneca spoke Latin because he had a classical education.)

The plebeians knew the difference between a market day and Saturnalia. Slaves certainly knew the difference: if a slave could, he would keep Saturnalia in his heart all year round.

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