Monday, December 18, 2017

A Modern Christmas Carol

The story of Scrooge that Dickens told
Has a lesson we need, but the story is old.
What we should do is try to run
A new tale of Scrooge for the year ’71.

For our modern Carol, our “Scrooge” must be new.
Let’s say, just for fun, that the new Scrooge is you.
He works in an office eight hours a day;
Doesn’t work hard’ draws pretty good pay.
“But I can’t be Scrooge,” you say with a shrug,
“Scrooge said that Christmas was just a humbug.”
You may be right, but let’ wait and see
What Scrooge would be like, if you were he.

It’s one week before Christmas as we begin.
You’re at work at you desk when the boss walks in.
You push your newspaper out of sight,
Say, “Good morning, boss,” in the tone that’s just right
And, “Scrooge,” says he (that’s your name, you see)
There’s a job I want you to do for me.”
Your most capable look comes shining through
As the boss explain what he wants you to do.
He wants you to plan as best you can
A Christmas party for the office clan.
“I know you can do it!” he says pumping your hand,
Then he leaves and you’re feeling just grand.
You speak not a word but go straight to your work;
You turn to the sports page, then stop with a jerk.
“What have I done?” you think with an ache.
“I missed the morning coffee break.”
“I’ll have it now.” You say standing up
And take from you pants the price of a cup.
Then off you go to the coffee machine,
Which seems like a good way to end this scene.

Five days have passed as we resume.
We find you sitting alone in a room.
Smoke spirals up form the pipe in your hand
And you think of the party, tomorrow, you’ve planned.
You know you’re sleepy, so you aren’t surprised
At the ghost who just suddenly materialized.
“I’m dreaming.” You say to yourself with a yawn.
“I’ll close my eyes, and the ghost will be gone.”
But the ghost is still there when you open your eyes,
So you tense yourself, ready for whatever he tries.
“I mean you no harm,” you hear the ghost say
(You still kinda wish he’d just go way.)
But “Who are you,” you ask, “And why are you here?”
He says, “I’m the ghost of True Christmas Cheer.”
“Then why ain’t you shaped like a flask of “Old Crow?”
You laugh at your joke, and the ghost turns to go.
You stop him with, “Wait, you can’t go yet.
What is the message that I am to get?”
“You’ll get it,” he says “from three friends of mine.”
Then he leaves before you can say your next line.
And another appears dressed just like the last.
Says, “I am the ghost of Christmas parties past.”
I’ll show you a scene I think you’ll recall.”
Then the lights go out and you can’t see at all.

The darkness dissolves and the mist melts away,
And you’re looking in on a party so gay.
The folks at the party are folks that you know,
But they look like you knew them two decades ago.
You see yourself standing there in the midst
And woops – oh – look out – you’re going to get kissed.
Office parties were calm in those days, you know
They didn’t last long – just an hour or so.
If you wanted some cheer, you sneaked a snort fast,
‘Cause that’ is how it was at Christmas parties past.

Then all of a sudden you are back in your room
With a new ghost beside you, humming a tune.
He’s dressed real neat, and he smiles kinda pleasant
As he says, I’m the ghost of Christmas present.
“I want you to dig a few scenes with me
And don’t be surprised at what you might see.”
In a blinding flash the scene appears
And, as your startled vision clears,
You see yourself just having a ball.
Santa is calling, “Merry Christmas to all.”
And on of his helpers is helping him stand.
He’s passed out the gifts to the reveling band
And is well over-due to pass out himself.
He pinches the cheek of his cute little elf,
Then, heaving a sigh, just rolls out of sight.
That’s when you note with a hint of fright
That you are Santa. You feel none too pleasant
But that’s how it is with Christmas parties present.

You’re back in your room with yet a new ghost.
This one, you might say, is really the most.
He’s dressed for a party from his head to his toe
And he says, “All right, Scrooge, come on, let’s go.”
“No more,” you cry, “I’ve had enough!”
But the ghost says, “Sorry, we’ve got to be tough.
I’m the ghost of Christmas parties future, you know.
Twenty years in the future is where we’ll go.”
Then the ghost disappears and you guess you do too
‘Cause you suddenly see yourself in a place strange and new.

There’s something familiar about the place.
A distinguished old man is wearing your face.
“Happy Holidays” signs are tacked on the wall
And a festive spirit is shared by all.
“What are we celebrating?” you hear someone ask.
“Who cares?” someone answers, “Here, fill up your flask.”

The girls are outnumbered, but they do what they can To kiss and what-have-you a bit with each man.
“Enough!” you scream. “Ghost take me home.”
“Do you get the point?” you hear him drone.
“I get the point, don’t make me see more.”

In an instant you’re back in your room as before.
Outside your window some carolers sing.
You listen: “Glory to the new-born King”
“peace on earth and mercy mild”

God and sinners reconciled.”
Smoke spirals up from the pipe in your hand
And you think of the party, tomorrow, you’ve planned.
“Plans can be changed,” you say and you smile.
You go to the window and listen awhile.
As the carols of Christmas drift up to you ear
You decide to ask Christ to the party this year.