One Day more than enough
NOTE: I’ve been running this piece for years as my last column before Christmas, and I see no reason to stop now, even though there have been a lot of changes in my life since this column was written. The thought is still there. Bah, and humbug, to you all.
This is my last column before Christmas, and I figure there may be some folks out there still wondering if I really am a Scrooge.
Well, to show that I am not all evil, I will tell you one good thing I know about Christmas: It is only one day.
This is not a bad thing to be glad of. People who say they wish every day was like Christmas have not thought about it. Consider the implications, for instance, of the Twelve Days of Christmas.
It doesn’t take a math whiz to figure out that by the end of the song, the hero or heroine has accumulated (if I remember my order correctly):
Twelve lords a-leaping;
Twenty-two pipers piping;
Thirty ladies dancing;
Thirty-six drummers drumming;
Forty maids a-milking;
Forty-two swans a-swimming;
Forty-two geese a-laying;
Forty gold rings;
Thirty-six calling birds;
Thirty French hens;
Twenty-two turtle doves; and
Twelve partridges in pear trees.
It does rather call to mind the scene at my folks’ house each Christmas, but usually by evening things do quiet down some. It isn’t permanent. What the song really represents is a sizable investment on the part of one’s True Love. It adds up to 364 separate items. This of course, is providing you count each partridge in a pear tree as one item and don’t count what the maids are milking. The merchants might love it, but think of the cost. And let us not forget the plight of the person who gets all this stuff.
Picture some comely lass who has the mouths of a half-dozen or so young men watering. Begin multiplying all the things in that song by six, and it soon becomes evident that every parent with a daughter of courting age would have to buy a country estate just to store the junk.
Actually, I have come up with my own version of the song, which I have graciously consented to share with you:
On the one day of Christmas,
Here’s what I think I’ll see:
Twelve dirty cookpans;
Eleven cousins scrapping;
Ten aunts a-yakking;
Nine uncles napping;
Eight eggnog cartons;
Seven heartburns flaming;
Six tons of wrappings;
Five football fans;
Four mincemeat pies;
Three stuffed birds;
Two antacid pills;
And a cat knocking balls off the three.
I believe my version is realistic, giving a much more accurate account of Christmas than lords a-leaping and maids a-milking. It is also considerably less expensive, and easier to clean up after.
The song demonstrates several things. First it shows that yes, Virginia, I am definitely a Scrooge. Second, it shows why I am a newspaperman instead of a songwriter. Third, it shows how sharp I am, because by doing this I filled a column with a lot less writing than it usually takes. Merry Christmas.
(EDITOR’S NOTE: David Nichol’s column appears in the Times-Herald on Thursdays. Nichol is a member of the Times-Herald news team. He can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.)