Holiday music unwelcome to someby Peter Smith, Minnesota Public Radio
The holiday season is here and holiday music seems to be everywhere. But not everyone is crazy for Christmas carols. Peter Smith, for one, is a bit more Scrooge than jolly old elf.
It's started. The holiday music is everywhere. On the radio. In the stores. In elevators. In restaurants and restrooms. Everywhere.
It's as if the Happy Holiday People were trying to pull some way-too-festive red and green sweater over our heads and drag us into the Holiday spirit.
And, like Grampa Joad refusing to get on the truck and head to California in "The Grapes of Wrath," a lot of us want to hunker down right where we are -- to squat then and there, sift the dust from Holidays past through our fingers and mutter, "I ain't-uh-gonna-go. Nossir. I ain't-uh-gonna-go."
Don't get me wrong. There are some wonderful and elegant thoughts expressed in some of that music. But it never stops. Not one minute of one day from Thanksgiving through Christmas.
It's as if they took a tenderizing mallet, beat those songs flat, then put them in a blender and hit "puree." They have reduced them to an audio slurry. A veneer. A hodge-podge. A sop. A pablum.
At Disney World, supposedly the "Happiest Place On Earth," they use the same tactic to beat you about the head and ears with "It's a Small World After All."
Know where the real happiest place on earth is? In the car in the parking lot, on your way home from Disney World when you realize you're finally out of earshot of "It's a Small World After All."
And now here they come again. Every holiday song ever recorded on an endless loop. In every corner of every store. Trying too hard to make you feel happy.
Only yesterday, in the plumbing aisle at the hardware store, on a mission to fix a leaky toilet, I caught myself whistling along while the tinny speaker three feet over my head played "Silver Bells." For a moment there, new toilet flapper in hand, I felt almost festive.
Only so many more shopping days. Only so many more times through the catalog of Holiday songs.
I just can't wait for Christmas.
- Morning Edition, 12/01/2009, 8:45 a.m.
Peter Smith lives in Hopkins, Minn.