My Week 11 – Creepy Christmas Carols and Smelly Chairs

Wednesday: I realize that there are some really creepy Christmas carols out there.

Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. Twinkly lights (which Ken calls “twerking lights”), home baking, holidays, and presents. For those of you who know me well, you are aware that my love of presents was the deal breaker in that whole “conversion to Jehovah’s Witness” debacle. But the thing that really captures the spirit of the season for me is Christmas music. I start playing Christmas music on the first of December, and I drive Ken crazy by listening to A Charlie Brown Christmas almost continuously (and when the music for the party scene comes on, I always dance like Snoopy. It’s FUN). Then there’s Loreena McKennit and her traditional Celtic Christmas stylings, as well as some instrumental stuff we got years ago with cool sound effects in the background, like birds chirping, sleigh bells jingling, or the sound of skates on ice. But on the other hand, there are some really creepy Christmas songs out there.

1) The other day, a friend of mine was all excited because Sheryl Crow had put out a new version of “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” with Darius Rucker, and she played it for me. At which point, I thought, Wow, this is one hella creepy song. If you listen carefully to the lyrics, you start to wonder if THIS is where Bill Cosby learned the fine art of seduction AKA “drugging women to make them pliable”. This is a song about a woman who wants to leave a man’s apartment, but he doesn’t want her to go. At one point, he convinces her to stay a little longer, and pours her a drink, prompting her soon after to ask, “Say, what’s in this drink?” I’ll tell you what’s in your drink—A ROOFIE. Here’s a newsflash, lady—if you have to ask that question, your next move should be running for the door. But no. As he takes off her hat, she tells him she really ought to say No, No, No, at which point he “moves in closer”. This guy obviously doesn’t understand CONSENT, but then again, neither does she, because when you tell someone you OUGHT to say no, doesn’t that imply that you’re really saying, “Well, OK”? Maybe it’s just the drugs talking. Then he tells her that she’s “hurting his pride”. Is this not the epitome of a guy who is about to be involved in a major #MeToo scandal? How did this song even get to be a “Christmas carol”? It’s not about Christmas; it’s about a guy trying to get into a girl’s pants. I think Jesus would have a serious objection to a song like that being used to celebrate his birthday. (I was going to say “because Jesus never tried to get into anyone’s pants”, but then Ken just reminded me that some people say that Jesus was married to Mary Magdalene, and that’s why he appeared to her first when he was reincarnated or whatever. So maybe Jesus was a bit of a player after all). But there are other carols which are actually more Christmas-ey that, when you think about them, are equally ridiculous. Here are a couple:

2) Jingle Bells: In what possible world is it FUN to dash around in an open sleigh? This song could not possibly have been written in Canada, where it’s regularly -30 degrees. If you’re dashing around without some kind of shield from the wind-chill, you’re going to get frostbite and your nose will fall off. This is only Christmas-ey if you hang the nose on your Christmas tree. On second thought, that’s not actually festive, it’s just kind of gross.

3) Last Christmas I Gave You My Heart: This is a contemporary tune by George Michael. The first two lines are “Last Christmas I gave you my heart/The very next day, you gave it away.” Is this not the ultimate in regifting? I myself have been known to pass on a mug or a bottle of red wine (cuz I only drink white wine), but even I wouldn’t stoop so low as to regift a human heart. This is like the worst Secret Santa gift ever, like “It’s decomposing a little, but if you keep it on ice for a few days, you can hang it on the tree next to that piece of nose you’ve got there. It’s a nice theme.”

4) Christmas Tree by Lady Gaga: This is my new favourite. Thanks to Gaga, the phrases “let’s fa-la-la-la-la” and “underneath my Christmas tree” are now sexual innuendo. If she got together with the guy from “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” I doubt there would be a lawsuit pending—there would just be one very merry gentleman.

Friday: I worry that my love of a good deal can sometimes be a problem.

I love a bargain. We all know how K gives me a dirty look at the grocery store when I buy 30 rolls of toilet paper to get the extra points. And I only ever buy something from Lancome if there’s a “gift with purchase”, which means that I have more eye make-up remover and sample size mascara than I could possibly use in one lifetime. But sometimes, my love of a bargain has its downside. Well, downside mostly for Ken:

Me: I need you to go into Ayr tonight around 7 o’clock.
Ken: What? Why?
Me: I bought a 7 foot column.
Ken: What do you mean a column?
Me: You know, like a pillar. It was a really good price.
Ken: What do you want it for?
Me: I don’t know yet. But it’s awesome, and I told them you’d be by around 7. Here’s the address.

And the column WAS awesome, even Ken agreed. Right now it’s in the corner of my office, but one day, it will be used for something really cool, like a super-tall pedestal for a bust of Shakespeare, or to hold up a low ceiling or something. I do this to Ken all the time, and I’m glad he’s the kind of guy who sees into the future for this stuff. Last week, I made him go and buy a vacuum cleaner hose for the upstairs of our central vacuum cleaner. He gave me a hard time, which is par for the course, but he later agreed that for $30, it was worth the drive to Cambridge so that he didn’t have to drag the downstairs hose up the stairs anymore. See, I’m always thinking of ways to make his life easier.

I’ve gotten many amazing bargains over the years, but I’ve learned some lessons the hard way. Like, don’t buy furniture from chain smokers. About three years ago, we were looking for a certain kind of chair for in front of our fireplace. I was on Kijiji, and I saw the perfect chair: dark brown leather, tufted back, recliner—perfect for Ken after a hard day, and very match-ey with the rest of the room’s motif. So I called the owners, and arranged to go and see it. When I got to their house, I was immediately overwhelmed by the smell of cigarette smoke. I looked at the chair, which was gorgeous, but told them I’d have to talk to my husband first and would let them know (because I didn’t want to buy it, but also didn’t want to be mean to this nice old couple who were, apparently, well on their way to lung cancer). Well, when Ken saw the picture of it, he fell in chair-love. “Their house reeks,” I said. “It’s leather,” he replied. “We can just wipe it down.” Well, OK then. So we drove back out, paid for it, and loaded it up. He kept saying things like, “See, it’s not so bad,” to which I would reply, “It’s on the trailer and I can still smell it.” We got it in the house, and it looked amazing. “See,” said Ken, “it’s perfect. And it hardly smells at all.” So we went to bed that night, feeling pretty good about our great deal. Then in the morning, I came downstairs. My living room smelled like a BROTHEL. I kid you not, it was like a bunch of emphysemic wenches had set up shop in front of my fireplace. The chair spent the next three days out on the front porch.
After three days, we brought it back in. It became immediately clear that the problem had NOT been solved, so out came the leather cleaner and the Febreeze. For those of you who are aware of my obsession with the wonderful world of Febreeze scents, this is where it began. Day after day, I cleaned and sprayed that damn chair with a variety of floral and geographic scent-sations. One night, Ken was so simultaneously sad about the smell, but happy about the comfort level of the chair that he spread a blanket over the entire thing to mask the odour and fell blissfully asleep in it. At this point, I realized that no matter how much the chair smelled, Ken loved it like a child—a smelly, poorly behaved child—and I could never convince him to part with it. Over the years, the smell has faded to the point where it’s barely detectable, unless it’s particularly warm and damp outside. And we still call it the Smelly Chair. But it was a great deal, and if nothing else, I’m all about a bargain. Just ask my students, to whom I was bragging the other day that the sweater I was wearing cost $129.00 in a boutique I’d been in on the weekend, but I had found it for $6.99 in a consignment store. “What’s a consignment store?” they asked. When I told them, the general consensus was that it was a little strange to be happy about wearing someone else’s clothes, but I assured them I had washed it first. And then I reminded them about the song “Thrift Shop” by Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, and we all agreed that it was awesome.

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