I was never much of a family person during my first five decades; anyone familiar with the family of my childhood will understand why I spent a half-century running in horror from the prospect of having to deal with another one of the fucking things. As a result, I’m a bit of a virgin when it comes to these Christmas Concert doohickeys that always seem to pop up in elementary schools this time of year. I didn’t know quite what to expect when I arrived at the one hosted by Micropone’s school the other night.
I do know, though, that I wasn’t expecting anything directed by David Lynch.
I thought maybe we’d be in for the usual saccharine Baby-Jesus pap that inundates the rest of North America from Halloween straight through to Boxing Day. (I keep waiting for this “War on Christmas” thing to escape from Fox News and make it up here, perhaps knocking Gretchen Carlson into a coma during the break-out; now that would bring some measure of Joy to the World.) What I witnessed, though, was something more out of Blue Velvet. It started with a small parade of kids who were obviously too old to believe in Santa Claus, reciting that infamous New York Sun editorial “Yes, Virginia, There Is A Santa Claus”. There followed some kind of jazz-blues Christmas number which, as far as I could make out, exhorted us all to “Follow that car and pet the ham”, which I guess is what the kids are calling it these days (although doing so while driving is not the kind of thing I’d expect to see celebrated at an elementary school concert). Next up was a rousing dirge-like Hannukah song in a minor key, whose verses I couldn’t quite make out but whose chorus consisted solely of the word Die! Die! Die! chanted repeatedly for thirty-second intervals.
There was some sort of Bollywood Christmas medley, which struck me as something of a contradiction in terms. Kwanzaa (not the Australian airline) got a mention. All in all, it reminded me a little of those reprogrammed POWs and political prisoners that used to be all the rage — the ones who’d show up on camera with bruised faces and broken arms to dutifully decry the violence of US intervention, while simultaneously lauding the charity and beneficence of their current hosts. Except without the missing fingers, of course; when you’re ten years old, the threat of being sent to the principle’s office is generally enough to keep you in line even if you don’t believe that ridiculous Cabbage-Patch-Deity stuff they tell you to sing about.
After the festivities had ended, the BUG and I adjourned to a pub down the street to try and get a bit of writing done. We weren’t expecting to see the school’s staff trickling in after us in ones and twos. We weren’t expecting to watch them pile up in the darkest, most distant corner of the Rose & Crown as the night wore on. But there they were, hanging their heads morosely over their drinks and the evening’s accomplishments. And that unguarded yuletide tableaux gave me the most cause for hope and cheer I’d had all week.
 Whose most rigorously-logical argument — “Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that’s no proof that they are not there” — has been a staple of religious belief ever since The Enlightenment.