Christmas carols not always music to everyone’s ears

By Ryn Gargulinski: Columnist

Now that the holiday season is in full gear — whether one likes it or not — it’s less painful to fight it than make the best of it. I only say this because my brain is mush from being beaten down from endless streams of seasonal songs.

While Christmas carols are meant to infuse one with the tender grace of a loving season, I’ve seen far more people block their ears in frustration, flick off the radio in disgust or kick a speaker when they hear the opening tinkle of “Jingle Bells.” This was in August.

Carols have, by far, become one of the most obnoxious aspects of the whole holiday season.

Just ask my dog, who starts to spin in hyperactive circles every time he hears the “rump a pum pum” of the “Little Drummer Boy” or whimper when he hears grandma’s destruction by a reindeer.

The worst carol infiltration is in Sheepshead Bay, a neighborhood in Brooklyn, N.Y.

Perhaps to offset the gruesome image of the place name, they feel it appropriate not only to blast the carols in every store on the block, but they actually install outdoor speakers through which to pipe the tinny tunes. I once even heard something about harking herald angels bubbling up from under a sidewalk.

While New Yorkers never took the time to improve the carols by regionalizing them, perhaps because New Yorkers don’t have the time for anything other than to glare at their watches, Eastern New Mexico could really benefit from making the carols more hometown.

For instance, “Jingle Bells” has so many possibilities when it comes to ruralization. The title could be amended to “Copper Bells,” “Gold Cow Bells” or “Jingle Spurs.”

Another bell song, “Silver Bells,” has lyrics that don’t fit the region at all.

The opening lines proclaim, “City sidewalks, busy sidewalks.” A mere glance down Tucumcari’s First Street will put a stop to that. Unless, of course, the construction that has been going on for 12 years is still bustling about. But that’s still not city stuff. Thus, the lines could be improved to “rural back roads, dusty back roads” or, particularly in Clovis, “bumpy side streets, dips in side streets.”

“Silent Night,” which may work well if one has thick wall insulation, also needs some tinkering. “Freight Train Night” and “Coyote Night” are just a couple of titles that come to mind.

And surely kids everywhere have much better things to want for Christmas than their two front teeth. Perhaps the Eastern New Mexico title could be changed to “All I Want for Christmas is an Off-Road Jeep.”
Good King Wenceslas? I have to say I once met Gov. Bill Richardson and, although he made fun of my nose ring, he seemed like a fine fellow. His name could definitely be substituted for the Wenceslas guy. Maybe such a nod would even elate Richardson enough to make all December shopping tax free.