Oh, Crap

I’d use a stronger word, but Sledpress beat me to it a couple of years back.

Yes, it’s Christmas “music” time again. And already it’s clear that whoever is programming our collective soundtrack for the month of December hasn’t developed an imagination over the past eleven months.

I’m on record with my feelings about “The Little Drummer Boy”. This year I warned my cow-orkers that if I hear it 25 times, I will go postal*. I’m keeping track on the staff whiteboard, because I believe in giving fair warning. Granted, they’ll probably laugh and cheer me on–does anybody like that song–but if so, I wouldn’t want anyone to miss out on the fun.

* To be clear, the only potential victims are the speakers. After all, the music is programmed by someone at company headquarters. Though if I find out who keeps cranking the volume up, a kneecapping or other non-fatal remonstrance might be on the table.

Nor is TLDB the worst we have to face this year. Early returns suggest that “Last Christmas” will be the go-to song this year. The season only started a week ago, and I’ve heard that piece of tripe* played multiple times within an hour. Once might have been a bit of carelessness in building the playlist, but it’s happened twice. Normally the rule is that once is chance, twice is coincidence, and three times is enemy action. But when it comes to Christmas music and other deadly weapons, I prefer to play it safe: I’m assuming malice aforethought.

* No offense intended to anyone who likes actual tripe–you know, that white honeycomb stuff that’s the foundation of menudo.

Music programmers, consider this a warning: I have a copy of “Christmas at Ground Zero” and I’m not afraid to use it. Bluetooth speakers are cheap and can be scattered around as necessary.

On the bright side, I’ve made it through the first week without hearing “White Christmas”*. In fact, I haven’t heard any songs that explicitly mention snow. I don’t know if that’s a conscious decision on someone’s part. “Maybe if we don’t mention the white stuff, we won’t get any major blizzards this year.” Probably not; it’s too logical a connection to have been made by someone who thinks “My Favorite Things” is a Christmas song.

* Mind you, I don’t especially dislike “White Christmas”. I just don’t particularly like it. Call me Crosbynostic.

Come to think of it, I’ve yet to hear last year’s “most tolerable” award winner (“All I Want for Christmas Is You”). Has it fallen out of favor? Or are the programmers saving it for later in the season? Could be the latter. After all, we’re still in the early stages, when the Christmas songs are mixed in with the regular playlist. Once they come to dominate, the selection will expand.

At least I hope it will. Can you imagine spending eight hours a day listening to the same five songs over and over? I can. Consider: given five songs, there are 120 ways to arrange them. If the average length of a Christmas song is roughly four minutes, that’s eight hours before you have to repeat a sequence.

I’m terrified.

7 thoughts on “Oh, Crap

  1. I first hear the saying “Once is chance, twice is coincidence…” and so on, in a 1952 film called “Five Fingers”. I’ve quoted it many times, since, and I’ve always wondered if it originated with that film. I suppose I could Google it, but sometimes it’s more fun to wonder.


    • I’m seeing a lot of online sources crediting it to Ian Fleming in “Goldfinger”, which came out in 1959. Clearly, the notion was in the zeitgeist.

      Interestingly, there was a short-lived “Five Fingers” TV series which aired in–wait for it—1959.


  2. I feel the same way this year as I did then, though my local station hasn’t inflicted much more on me yet than a few carol settings by the Washington Saxophone Quartet. I just am not posting anything these days because everything I write turns into a Covid rant. One benefit of not going into shared spaces unless it’s absolutely necessary, which is the way I’m living now, is that I don’t get exposed to the endless round of Christmas schlock.

    My late and ex had a corollary saying: “If you’re walking down the street and a safe falls on you, it’s a tragedy. If it happens a second time, it’s a coincidence. If a safe falls on you three times, it’s a habit.” It was a nice way of encapsulating the way some people seem to always have the same bad “luck,” which has nothing to do with Christmas music, but you reminded me of it.


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