The Ruinous Nightmare of “The Twelve Days of Christmas”
John ShoreBesides here on Crosswalk, John blogs on JohnShore.com.
- 2010 Dec 17
As a child I never much cared for the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas." I didn't know what the lyrics meant. All I knew was that it seemed to be about someone receiving Christmas gifts so stupid even I wouldn't want them.
Six geese a-laying. Oh, boy. Fun for the whole family! Nothing says "Hooray, it's Christmas!" like six pregnant geese wandering around your living room dropping eggs.
Now that I'm older, though, I understand that the lyrics to this cherished Christmas carol are even stupider than I thought. I guess. I dunno. But I do know that this is what I would think if someone gave me one of those gifts every day for twelve days in a row:
Day 1: A Partridge in a Pear Tree. Wow. This little potted tree is lovely! I love pears! Wait. Is that a bird?
Day 2: Two turtle doves. Why is someone giving me birds? Oh, but they're so beautiful. I love doves. It's cool there's two of them; it'll give them something to do. But now my partridge looks lonely.
Day 3: Three French hens. What the ... ? Did I donate money to the Audubon society? A lot of money? Or maybe this is how they treat people who don't give them money. What are these, chickens? What do I know about chickens? I wonder what kind of chickens these are? They seem so arrogant.
Day 4: Four colly birds.* Great. Now someone's giving me birds that are coughing.
Day 5: Five golden rings. Whoa. These look like real gold. I don't know what going on here, but clearly someone has robbed a combination jewelery-pet store, and is now trying to get me to hold their stolen good. Should I call the police?
Day 6: Six geese a laying. Well, now I definitely need to call a janitorial service. Can I sell these eggs? Do people eat goose eggs? I don't see those hens producing anything. This is really getting out of control. I wonder if my mystery psycho Santa will send me any more jewelery?
Day 7: Seven Swans a Swimming. Okay, who the heck put these swans in my bathtub? This is insane. I'm calling the police. Oh, wait. The jewels. Well, I guess I can still take a shower---if these birds will just move over a little.
Day 8: Eight Maids a Milking. Great. And I'm lactose intolerant.
Day 9: Nine ladies dancing. There's no way my wife'll believe these women just showed up here. I shouldn't have signed for 'em. I wish they would at least all do the same dance. One's tapping; one's doing the hula---and, oh, great, one just pirouetted into my bookcase. And I don't know what that one is doing. It looks like she's being attacked by mosquitoes. God, I need a drink. Not that I could even reach the kitchen.
Day 10: Ten Lords a leaping. Oh, my God! They're killing the birds! Run, geese, run! It's Chorus Line of the Damned !
Day 11: Eleven pipers piping. I now officially hate parades. Oh, well, at least the "lords" have stopped leaping. Not that that's helping the poor, mangled geese any. Those milk maids look pretty hearty. Maybe they'd be willing to put the geese out of their misery. This is so horrible. Look at those birds with colic, or the plague, or whatever they have. They're beyond hope. And I'm never going in my bathroom again; the swans in there have gone berserk. What feathery carnage! You know what? This is ridiculous. We're moving. This home is ruined. We're outta here. I'll call my wife from the first motel I find. Those rings better be real gold, because they're all I'm taking with me. That, and the knowledge that I won't rest until I find out who destroyed my life.
Day 12: Twelve drummers drumming. Yeah, I'm gonna pretend I didn't see that. They're the neighbors' problem now!
*[It's colly, not calling. Over time, through usage, it became calling---and is, in fact, often printed as "calling." But originally it was colly. They're blackbirds. It's from "colliery," or "colly," the British word for a coal mine. Cuz the birds are black as coal, doncha know.]
If you like me, it'd be cool if you'd like me.