All humans born into this world are all packaged with a hint of strange. I was gifted a double dose.
Take music, for example. I can’t listen to Christmas songs January to Thanksgiving.
If “Deck the Halls” or “Jingle Bells” or “I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus” comes up on iTunes outside the season, my swift move to fast-forward would impress Speed Racer.
I like Christmas music. I do. That’s why I have full CDs of Mariah Carey and Amy Grant and Nat King Cole, the Carpenters, and more available on my phone.
I’m pretty savvy with technology except when it comes to holiday music and iTunes. A couple of days after each Christmas, I grab my laptop, open my music library, and uncheck all the Christmas songs I activated Thanksgiving Day.
Once unchecked, the songs no longer play on my computer, but the change never—as in ever—syncs with my phone. My phone is my primary source for music.
On a typical drive on a non-holiday day, I tap open my library, select “random” and maybe hear the Beatles, then Van Morrison followed by Alison Krauss. I settle in, even sing along at times.
I like “random” because it leaves me guessing which fabulous song will come up next. I like it until the surprise tune is Karen Carpenter crooning, “I’ll be Home for Christmas”—in March.
Now, I like Karen. I do. But she is unchecked. She gets her checkmark back after I sit down with my family to eat turkey and dressing.
I think my nonconforming cell phone—the way it refuses to sync with my music commands—is payback for all the times I, along with my brother Donald, traumatized our brother John.
When we were growing up, John was the music guy. He could tell you everything about bands—Bread and Yes and Little River Band and Chicago and Electric Light Orchestra. The list is endless and diverse.
John possessed a photographic mind for sports statistics and musical lyrics. He knew the words to every song—including the long version of American Pie.
On family trips, our oldest brother did not want his siblings to sing along with the radio unless we knew—really knew—the words to the songs. Donald and I happily disobeyed.
We drove our brother crazy, singing—on purpose—“Money for nothing and your chips (chicks) for free” and “Dancing Queen, feel the beat from a tangerine (tambourine).”
Sometimes we were downright merciless: “…blinded by the light…wrapped (cut) like a dude (deuce), another rover (runner) in the night…”
John was quiet by nature and not easily angered—unless you messed up his music.
I like holiday music. I do. Why else would I take the time and spend the dollars to download so much of it?
I just don’t want to hear “Frosty the Snowman” in August. I’ve never been a Christmas in July or April or September person—at least not when it comes to music.
The weeks between Halloween and Thanksgiving are tough on me. In the wee hours of Halloween night, ghouls descend upon all the stores. In a flip of a switch, Halloween is replaced by Christmas—everything turns red and green and silver and gold.
They sneak into retail shops and medical and business offices and replace all playlists with Christmas songs—24-7.
Walk into any public place the day after Halloween, and strands of The Little Drummer Boy are swift to greet you.
Just now, my Bose speaker transitioned from “Uptown Funk” to “Carol of the Bells.”
Someone save my life tonight. Where’s Elton when I need him?