Edgar Heard the Bells, All Right

xmas bells

by Erin Abernethy,
with apologies to Mr. Longfellow and Mr. Poe

I heard the bells on Christmas Day
Their old familiar carols play.

YA’LL HUSH FOR TWO MINUTES AND PLAY NICE!
AND QUIT MAKIN’ THE DOG PEE ON THE CHRISTMAS TREE!

Hear the loud alarum bells–
Brazen bells!
What a tale of terror, now their turbulency tells!

MAMA! MAMA! MAMA! HE TOOK MY FIRE TRUCK!
YOU PUT THAT DOWN RIGHT NOW!

And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

WAH! WAH! WAAAHH! WAAAAHHHHH! WWWAAAAAAAHHHHHH!
HUSH, OR I’LL GIVE YOU SOMETHIN’ TO CRY ABOUT!

In the startled ear of night
How they scream out their affright!

DADDY, SHE HIT ME! MAKE HER QUIT!

I thought how as the day had come
The belfries of all Christendom
Had roll’d along th’ unbroken song
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.

SOMEBODY TAKE THE DAMN BATTERY OUT OF THE SMOKE DETECTOR!
IT GOES OFF EVERY TIME I OPEN THE OVEN DOOR!

Too much horrified to speak,
They can only shriek, shriek,
Out of tune
In a clamorous appealing to the mercy of the fire

MAMA, THE CENTERPIECE IS BURNIN’!
SISSY KNOCKED THE CANDLE OVER!

And in despair, I bow’d my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,

YA’LL BETTER SETTLE DOWN RIGHT NOW OR AIN’T NONE OF YA GOIN’ TO THE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE WITH ME AN’ MAMMAW!

Oh, the bells, the bells, the bells!
What a tale their terror tells
Of Despair!

IF YOU DON’T GET TO GO TO THE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE, SANTY CLAUS WON’T COME AN’ BABY JESUS WON’T LOVE YOU AND YOU’LL GO TO HELL!

“For hate is strong and mocks the song,
Of Peace on earth, good will to men.”

MAMA SAYS YOU’RE GOIN’ TO HELL, SO THERE!
OPEN THE KITCHEN WINDOW AND CLEAR SOME OF THIS SMOKE OUT!

How they clang, and crash, and roar!
What a horror they outpour

GRAMPAW SMELLS FUNNY, AND HE AIN’T SNORIN’. IS HE DEAD?

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep;
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;

WHAT’S A SEIZURE? CAN I HAVE ONE TOO?

And he dances, and he yells;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a Runic sort of rhyme

I AIN’T TAKIN’ NONE OF YA’LL ANYWHERE WITH ME EVER AGAIN–
NOWHERE, NO WAY, NO HOW!

The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With Peace on earth, good will to men.”

NOW HUSH AND SAY THE BLESSING!
HURRY UP BEFORE IT GETS COLD!

Keeping time, time, time,
As he knells, knells, knells,
To the tolling of the bells
To the moaning and the groaning of the bells.

AMEN. YA’LL DIG IN.

© Copyright 2004 by Erin Abernethy. Republished 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015.

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Winter Holiday Affective Disorder (WHAD)

xmasmeds

by Patrick Redding & Rob Colfax

Memo to staff psychologists: please insert the following sheet into your copies of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). At this time of year, it is likely that you may see an increase in complaints of depression. Be aware of the diagnostic criteria for the specifier Seasonal Affective Disorder (or SAD) as well as this new category, Winter Holiday Affective Disorder (or WHAD).

Criteria for Winter Holiday Affective Disorder (WHAD):

At least five of the following symptoms have been present over the majority of a two-week period, and represent a change from previous functioning. At least one of the symptoms is either (1) Winter holiday-related complaints or (2) general lack of jolliness.

NOTE: Do not include symptoms that are clearly due to a general medical condition (for example, pregnancy) or delusions or hallucinations (for example, seeing dancing sugarplums during alcohol withdrawal).

1. Winter holiday-related complaints

2. Marked lack of jolliness and good will

3. Loss of interest in nearly all activities (do not include sitting in a stupor in front of the TV during football playoffs)

4. Significant weight gain or increase in appetite (especially cravings for “special” foods such as turkey, fudge, rum balls, etc.)

5. Insomnia (including sleeplessness due to carolers outside who just won’t shut up) or hypersomnia (including overdoses of tryptophan from excessive turkey consumption as well as repeated viewings of “Frosty the Snowman” reruns)

6. Psychomotor agitation (including twitching and “bite reflex” exhibited at the sight or sound of Salvation Army bell-ringers, but not including seizures due to those little chasing lights)

7. Repetitive vocalizations (such as “fa-la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la” or “Ho ho ho!”)

8. Fatigue or loss of energy at the mention of weekend shopping at the mall

9. Feelings of worthlessness or excessive or inappropriate guilt when unable to come up with “the perfect gift”

10. Discoloration of extremities (such as red nose – do not include redness due to excessive alcohol consumption from self-medication)

11. Paranoia, as evidenced by random vocalizations such as “He knows when you’re sleeping! He knows when you’re awake!”

12. Diminished ability to think or concentrate, or indecisiveness, particularly when changing lanes in downtown traffic

13. Recurrent homicidal ideation without a specific plan, or a homicide attempt (including attacking the mall Santa with a picket from the fence around the “Santaland” display) or a specific plan for committing homicide (do not include shooting at the neighbor’s plastic rooftop reindeer)

14. Bizarre ideations (including, but not limited to, belief in elves, talking reindeer, and peace on earth)
Keep Calm and Hibernate

Statistics indicate that WHAD symptoms may be more apparent in individuals employed in retail occupations, but WHAD has been diagnosed over a widespread range of demographics.

In most cases, WHAD symptoms decrease significantly after 6-8 weeks, though flare-ups may continue until St. Patrick’s Day.

There is currently no treatment for WHAD, although symptoms may be alleviated by mild sedatives, antipsychotics, or a weekend in the Bahamas.

© Copyright 2003 by Patrick Redding & Rob Colfax. Republished 2007, 2011, 2014, 2015.

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