Sunday, November 21, 2004


I really suck at poetry - even when I'm lampooning a classic. THIS is the version that I turned in. The version that made the paper was edited by Dispatch/Argus copy editor Brian Nelson... who not only cleaned up the copy but ALSO rewrote the thing in MUCH better poetic meter and is my HERO for doing so. Sadly, I don't have Brian's version handy -- if you're a subscriber, you should be able to find it in the archives -- so for now, you're stuck with my sloppy original version. Still makes me laugh, though. And rest assured when I tell you this FAR AND AWAY took longer than any other column I've ever written to date.

Twas the month before Christmas, and all through the halls
Not a creature was stirring; they're all at the malls.
The stockings were hung by the chimney last week,
Even though it's November; I sure want to shriek.

Children everywhere are nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Toys-R-Us dance in their heads;
And I with my checkbook, about to be fleeced,
Had just managed to sit down for my Thanksgiving feast.

See, at cooking I'm still at the level of beginner,
Which explains my Thanksgiving Salisbury steak TV dinner.
In front of the TV, I plopped down like a brute,
grabbed the remote and I took it off 'mute'.

I flipped through the HBO's, Showtimes, CNN's,
before I finally settled in on a rerun of "Friends."
When, what to my wandering eyes should appear,
but ad after ad after ad... oh, dear.

As commercials flew by me so lively and quick,
I thought for a minute I was gonna be sick.
More rapid than eagles the endorsements they came
Filling my head with a thousand brand names:

"Shop Wal-Mart! Shop K-Mart! Shop Bed, Bath, Beyond!
Shop Northpark! Shop Southpark!" Me? I just yawned.
These non-stop ads I can barely believe,
I'd much rather be lazy and not shop til Christmas Eve.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly
The cash flows from my hands in the blink of an eye.
I need presents for Mom, Dad, and that girl I like, Kerry;
And the gift exchange at work which is always quite scary.

So even though Christmas is really nowhere near,
Let's go buy our trees and our plastic reindeer.
These greedy shopkeepers are likely the reason
Why they made up this month-long phrase, "holiday season."

So go buy your furs and your shoes for your feet,
And the plentiful Christmas candies so sweet,
Buy gift after gift 'til you hurt your bad back,
And wish you took to the mall a mule you could pack.

These ads make me want to just clench my teeth
As under their spell we are all trapped beneath.
We buy all their toys, clothes, and CD's by Nelly
And gift baskets with miniature jars full of jelly.

Christmas time is for families to be jolly and merry
Like on an Afterschool Special or "Little House on the Prairie"
But we don't have time to go play in the snow,
We're too busy giving retailers all of our dough.

See, the networks want us in a shopping mood
So they air holiday specials until we're all screwed.
Our shopping habits are what they constantly try to hasten
It's November and I've already seen Rudolph in Claymation.

I suppose that I really shouldn't complain
About this month-long holiday shopping campaign.
This Christmas bastardization doesn't give me any thrills;
But I work for a newspaper, and hey, those ads pay my bills.

So I'll keep my yap shut and stop this lampoon,
Until one day Christmas sales will start up mid-June.
And I say to you all with just a hint of fright,
"Merry Thanks-mas-O'ween, and to all a good night!"

No comments: