A Christmas Wish To A Worst Enemy

‘Tis the season to recall a “fun assignment” we had in Grade 9 English for Christmas — the assumption of ubiquitous landlines shows its age. I never did hand it in, but I sure had fun with it. (The final pastiche on “Have A Very Happy Holiday,” my friends and I had made up back in Grade 5 or 6.)

A Christmas Wish To A Worst Enemy

After you’ve dragged in the Christmas tree
(Outside it’s minus fifty-three)
And set it up all prettily
With all those glass balls and doilies too,
All fragile as Cinderella’s shoe,
And take a step back to the side
To admire it with a smile of pride
And have everyone round say “Ooh!”…
May it just wobble round and round
And finally come toppling down
Complete with a crashing sound
To wake all in the nearest town.

May every two minutes by the clock
Your phone ring in a tone designed to annoy
To find Great Aunt Melissa Crock
Exclaiming in great bliss and joy:
“Oh, you must hear about my find!
This little darling of delight!
To tell you I’ve got half a mind…
But no! You must wait for the sight!
It is just right for Uncle Joe
And Cousin Cindy! Can’t you see her?!…”
You let out a moan of anguish and woe
As you slam down the receiver
Only to be forced again to talk
In two more minutes by the clock.

When all of this seems to be over
May a dreadful howling ensue
And: “Oh no! Listen! Poor dear Rover!
Who’ll take him outside? Oh, you!”
And off you’ll trudge into the dark,
Into the blizzard, dark and drear,
With poor dear Rover to the park,
Enjoying some more Christmas cheer
While snow never seems to cease
(I told you it was minus fifty-three degrees.)

After Rover answered Nature’s call
And you crawl in, all frozen dumb,
May you think outside best of all
For now – COMPANY HAS COME!!!
You put up a valiant, losing fight
But you are forced to sing “Silent Night”
Accompanied, when it comes to that,
By Uncle Joe’s bass (four tones flat)
And Aunt Ann screaming like a scalded cat.

Dinner fills the house with its smell –
You’d rather face all Dante’s Hell.
The dining room’s adorned with Christmas cheer –
“Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.”
“Turkey’s on the table, look!”
Yes, and Cousin Cindy was the cook,
It is therefore safest to stay
Fifteen kilometres away
But you have to eat it anyway
(You must eat all before you set
According to the rules of etiquette.)

By the time Aunt Melissa’s lemon tarts are seen
Your stomach feels like it has gangrene,
You turn a shade of bread-mould green,
You choke on the bowl of your spoon
And tumble to the floor in a swoon.

And when you’re lying in bed with an aching head –
I hope you realise, all the same,
That all this tormentation
Is all for calling me a name
Unfit for publication.

Have a very dreadful holiday,
May your home be filled with awfulness,
May your Christmas be a dreadful day
For everyone you hate and curse,
May your troubles be enormous ones,
May your faults be much worth mentioning,
May your New Year be the very worst it possibly could be!

— Tamara Vardomskaya, December 1999

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God Rest You Merry, Math Teachers

Silly Verse Series, 1/?

I happened to find a document of my old poetry, from late elementary school to early university, and convert it from WordPerfect to cruder and less refined programs that modern computers can actually read. My love poetry of the time shall never again see the light of day, but I am still rather fond of the silly verse. Here is a pastiche appropriate to the season (both the Christmas season and the exam season), inspired by what “let nothing you dismay” would actually mean, and by the events of my high school years up to autumn of grade 12. (It ended up being published in the yearbook of my high school graduating year.)

All examples are based on real events.

***

God rest you merry, math teachers, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed all the horrors one can write or say,
From “seven times seven is fourteen” to limits gone astray…
All you ask is for equations to be true and defined,
And for all the equals signs to be aligned.

God rest you merry, English teachers, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed all the horrors one can write or say,
In rules of grammar and common sense that students disobey…
All you ask is that commas go in their proper place
And that Hamlet’s not misquoted to his face.

God rest you merry, language teachers, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed all the horrors one can write or say,
From misspellings to brutal forms of passé composé
All you ask is not to use vocab whose meaning is in doubt
And to at least get what the story was about.

God rest you, social science teachers, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed all the horrors one can write or say,
From “where is the Atlantic?” to a thesis-less essay…
All you ask is for a clear, logical and balanced view
And for all the facts to be confirmed and true.

God rest you merry, science teachers, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed all the horrors one can write or say,
From graphs on hand-drawn graph paper to vectors the wrong way…
All you ask is for the sig figs to be valid and trim
And for no one in the lab to lose a limb.

God rest you merry, arts teachers, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed all the horrors one can draw or play,
From art not worth the paper to A-flat instead of A…
All you ask is that they practice, — just a little, is that fair?
All you ask is that they work and try and care.

God rest you merry, high school students, let nothing you dismay,
For you have witnessed tortures one can’t even begin to say,
And four tests and a summative set all on the same day…
All you ask is for the answers to be marked fair and right
And for at least eight hours of sleep a night.

– Tamara Vardomskaya, December 2002.