Earlier today, I stumbled upon a Facebook “discussion” about whether the reindeer that stands next to Blitzen is named “Donner” or “Donder”. My friend Dan opined that the correct name is Donder, which means “thunder” in German, to go along with Blitzen, which means “lightning”. My friend Mookie countered that Donner means “thunder” in Dutch, to go along with Blitzen, which means “lightning” in Dutch.
I have no position on this issue, other than to point out that this is what Facebook should be used for, rather than most of the things people use it for.
However, my brain, with malice aforethought, conjured up the following response:
In the Old West, the word Donner means “cannibal”, as in “A bunch of us went to a Donner party last weekend, but I was the only one to make it home in one piece.”
Thankfully, Christmas vacation is right around the corner. I clearly need it.
Side note: When I first started this post, I wrote that I had “overheard” the conversation. Since Facebook is (mercifully) silent, I decided to change the wording. It was at that moment that it occurred to me that “overhearing” something has a very different connotation than “overseeing” something.
Corollary: It was my friend Mookie who first pointed out to me that while the words terrify and horrify are synonyms, the words terrific and horrific are not.
(Editor’s Note: The statement above is not a corollary in any way, shape or form. Not even a little bit. It is at best a non sequitur, and at worst a hallucination. We regret the error.)
As I was leaving the grocery store, I walked past the little bank embedded in the front wall. To give it that homey, “We’re the faceless corporate behemoth that cares!” vibe, sometimes they put out a whiteboard with a handwritten message.
This was the whiteboard message today:
(Author’s note: For those unfamiliar with the terms, a “Christmas list” is a list of all the gifts a child (or adult) wants Santa to bring them. A “bucket list” a to-do list of all the experiences a person wants to achieve before they “kick the bucket” (i.e. die). A “Christmas Bucket List”, by extrapolation, is a list of all the things and experiences a person wants have before they die on December 25th.)
I’m still trying to wrap my head around some of these items. As I write this, today is October 29th. Christmas is 8 weeks away. If I found out I had two months to live, here are some of the painful conversations I would have with my friends and loved ones:
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The song You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch was performed by the incomparable Thurl Ravenscroft, also the voice of Tony the Tiger. Last Christmas, I heard it on the radio, immediately followed by Let It Snow. As I listened to the first line, “Oh, the weather outside is frightful…”, I found myself singing along, mimicking Thurl’s over-enunciated basso voice. I soon discovered that doing so makes any Christmas song immediately horrifying. Now I do this with every song I hear after the Grinch, and it has worked out every time. I now wish there was an album of A Very Thurl Ravenscroft Christmas, with such timeless classics as:
– the frightening Blue Christmas (“…Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree…”)
– the menacing I’ll Be Home for Christmas (“…if only in your dreams!”)
– the macabre Do You Hear What I Hear? (“Said the talking lamb to the shepherd boy…”)
– and my favorite, the horrifying Christmas Song (“…Jack Frost nipping at your nose…”)