The Twelfth Pain

Dearest Rachel –

I remember your calling me at some point while I was at the ‘office’ last year on this day.

“Do you know what’s going on in Washington?”

To be sure, I was keeping up with the news feed, but there’s always a lag between the activity and the written word describing it; believe me, I know. I do recall thinking that, while it seemed that the red team might be entitled to a ‘peaceful protest’ not unlike those the blue team had been engaged in throughout the previous year, it wasn’t going to go over well. These folks were walking into a “burning of the Reichstag” moment that would justify the powers that be clamping down on conservatives from that point on.

And sure enough, from what I can tell, that’s exactly what’s about to happen. Bad enough that the folks who have been prosecuted for their parts in the Capitol incursion have received sentences considerably harsher than those meted out on those participating in the ‘fiery but peaceful protests’ that burned whole sections of Portland, Seattle, and of course, Minneapolis throughout 2020 – if those folks were even arraigned at all – but the clampdown on anyone else who might be considered guilty of wrongthink is getting more and more ominous. It’s been recently reported on the mainstream news (granted, consider the source) that the euphemistic exhortation to a mythical ‘Brandon’ (which was created by a mainstream news reporter in an effort to deny the rude suggestion for our sitting president that was actually being chanted by a NASCAR crowd) is no less than a call to insurrection itself – and presumably, anyone who dares to utter it ought to be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.

Daniel insists that the Deep State is just desperate, like a cornered animal in a last-ditch but futile effort to preserve itself. That may be true, but that doesn’t mean its claws aren’t sharp. I’d stay away from it if I could. Trouble is, it seems more and more intent to be a part of everyone’s day and life. It is such a pain, I can’t escape it.

But I can try. And here’s how I can start.

Today is not so much the anniversary of ‘the worstest event in American history, worster than Pearl Harbor and Nine-Eleven combined,’ as it is Epiphany, the Twelfth Day of Christmas. You know, like that interminable song (which should be a reasonable segue, considering how everything I’ve been talking about thus far has been equally interminable). And while I don’t have any great hatred for that song as such – nor is it necessarily a painful reminder of our days together – I do have memories of several parodies of it, and a mix tape we put together to listen to on our travels over the holidays. And if anything could be a tonic from the moronic babbleroar of the new high holy day of Conservative-Stomping Day out east, it’s something to make us all laugh.

I’ve already mentioned one of Bob Rivers’ Twisted Christmas carol parodies; sometimes, it’s the only thing that keeps the original song from being too depressing over these particular holidays… although that’s kind of debatable, as I have a lot of memories of listening to the parodies more than we would the original songs, especially as we would drive to and from your folks’ place each winter. That’s no longer going to be a thing, after all.

But regardless, the fact that it’s humorous stuff makes it at least a little more palatable; you can’t really cry while you’re laughing (to paraphrase Abraham Lincoln). The celebrity impressions are amazingly spot on, I Karen Carpenter, Nat King Cole, Frank Sinatra, and Dave Seville and the chipmunks. And on top of everything else, I was always pleased about how the mix tape came out; the Twelve Pains of Christmas gave me a framework to work with that had parodies applying to literally every single pain (although there were a few that only had one applicable song, but that was quite sufficient). So with that being said, anyone who comes across this letter can turn off the news, and give a listen to a secular Christmas as she is rightfully mocked, and enjoy.

Oh, and here’s the playlist in order, complete with a breakdown as to how everything corresponds to one of those pains of Christmas.

  • The Twelve Pains of Christmas – the main theme of the mix
  • 1. Finding a Christmas tree
    • Shoppin’ Around For a Christmas Tree
    • O Christmas Tree (chain saw & spotted owl instrumental)
  • 2. Rigging up the lights
    • Decorations
  • 3. Hangovers
    • The Christmas Party Song
    • Carol of the Bartenders
    • I’ll Be Stoned for Christmas
    • Police Stop My Car
  • 4. Sending Christmas cards
    • A Letter to Santa (by the Godfather)
    • A Message from The King
  • 5. Five months of bills
    • Tight Christmas
    • 12 Days of Layoffs (I couldn’t find a video for this one to add to the playlist, so this link will have to do)
  • 6. Facing my in-laws
    • It’s The Most Fattening Time of the Year
    • White Trash Christmas (okay, this was a stretch)
  • 7. Charities!
    • Homeless for the Holidays
    • I’m Dressing Up Like Santa Claus (When I Get Out On Parole)
  • 8. Daddy, buy me somethin’!
    • Pokémon
    • Toy Sack
  • 9. Finding parking spaces
    • Parking Spaces
  • 10. Batteries not included
    • All You Need are Elves
  • 11. Stale TV specials
    • The Magical Kingdom of Claus
    • The Under-the-tree World of Jacques Cousteau
  • 12. Singing Christmas carols (how meta – and also, a catch-all for the rest of Bob Rivers’ holiday oeuvre)
    • Joy to the World (instrumental)
    • Wreck the Malls
    • O Little Town of Bethlehem
    • Didn’t I Get This Last Year?
    • Little Hooters Girl (admittedly, a little tasteless, like their wings)
    • The Restroom Door Said ‘Gentlemen’
    • Flu Ride
    • Twisted Chipmunk Song
    • Chipmunks Roasting on an Open Fire (a companion piece to the song previous; again, a little tasteless, but add some barbeque sauce and it perks right up)
    • Snow Satisfaction
    • Yellow Snow, Yellow Snow, Yellow Snow
    • I Came Upon a Roadkill Deer
    • Jesus’ Birthday
    • Manger 6
    • (Not So) Silent Night
    • Smells Like the Night Before Christmas
    • Holidaze (‘Scuse Me, I’ve Got Gifts to Buy)
    • He’s So Jolly
    • Hey You! Get Off of My House!
    • Christmas Money (That’s What I Want)
    • Goin’ Up to Bethlehem (this one was always a favorite of yours; not that you were a fan of Creedence Clearwater Revival, but the line “someday, He’ll come again” is an acknowledgement you don’t get from a lot of Christmas songs even in church. To hear it stated in a parody song is quite remarkable)
    • There’s Another Santa Claus
    • Walkin’ Round in Women’s Underwear
    • The What’s It To Ya Chorus

I did leave out one of his biggest hits, “The Chimney Song,” since you always hated it (and I wasn’t fond of it either). Some of the ones I left in could be pretty tasteless, but the idea of a little girl wondering why Santa didn’t show up last Christmas while wondering what’s been stuck in their chimney since whenever is just a bit too much. It’s the same reason you didn’t like the movie Gremlins when it came out, because it references that urban legend as part of the female lead’s tragic backstory. Yeah, that would be a lousy reason to be grieving over a loss.

Anyway, now we can put Christmas 2021 to bed, while ignoring the newest holiday on the coastal calendar, and I guess that could count as a win-win situation. Talk to you later, honey.

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I am Rachel's husband. Was. I'm still trying to deal with it. I probably always will be.

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