Archive for November 16th, 2013

Season’s Bleatings

They’ve started in with the Christmas music. Three stores I’m in yesterday, and in every one, some plodding, soul-marauding version of “The Little Drummer Boy.”

Why? Why is that song everywhere? What does it even mean? I can never remember. It is a trauma, and so I’ve blocked it all out. I know there’sthe horror. the horror. a kid. And he has a drum. And he bangs on it. Other than that, it’s all a blur.

It can’t be a Real song of the season. For if it were, there would be some well-known, artful, true-life documentary film about it. Like Mr. Magoo’s Christmas Carol, or Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer. But no. It is just a sound. A plodding, noxious sound. An aural incubus, that attaches itself to the rear of the year, to drive us all mad.

Even as a youth, the drum beast, he soiled my soul. The thing has these hideous refrains: “do you hear what I hear?” “do you know what I know?” Etc. My brother and I, while still wee tykes, in order to Survive, whenever we were set upon by this demon, with his sticks and his skin, would recite “do you smell what I smell?” And then hold our noses, or make some disgusting farting noises with our lips. It was like a charm. To ward off the Horror.

This is still my automatic response, when assaulted by the drumming one. And so, yesterday, while shuffling through the feed store, bearing a bag of crickets, to reenact with the bearded dragon The Wild Bunch, and the kid starts in with his drumming, over the store sound system, I hear myself, audibly mumbling: “do you smell what I smell?”

People looked askance. Some of them moved away. A couple clutched their children.

Fuck ’em. They don’t know what it’s like. Living in this brain.

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