I'll Have A Shoe Christmas Without You
Let me share a little holiday story with y'all. It's Christmastime, 2000, and I am speeding down Interstate 95, my lovely new bride at my side, on our way to her parents' house to spend our first married Christmas together. We have the rental car's AM-FM tuner fixed on a local D.C. station, which, for the month before Christmas, plays nothing but holiday music 24-7. This is both a blessing and a curse, for the dirty little secret that the recording industry doesn't want you to hear is that most holiday songs are unspeakably awful. Banal paeans to the horrors of commercialism. Insipid gimmick records with irritating lyrics that will stick in your brain long after stores are taking down their Valentine's Day decorations. Ill-advised vanity projects by not-too-talented pop stars looking to make a fast buck off your holiday cheer. For every delightful holiday tune you can name -- "Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas," say -- I can name three that will have you reaching for the nearest awl to puncture your tympanic membrane just to put an end to the agony -- Rosie O'Donnell's malodorous duet with Elmo on "Do You Hear What I Hear," Band Aid's well-intentioned-though-lyrically-nonsensical "Do They Known It's Christmas?," and any cut off of Jessica Simpson's recent holiday-themed crime against humanity. And that is not a tradeoff I am generally willing to make. Yet, holiday music puts the missus in the Christmas mood, and this is the time of year to put others ahead of yourself, so if it makes my wife happy, what's a little "Snoopy's Christmas" by the Royal Guardsmen between friends?
Anyhow, we're driving down the interstate when a song comes over the airwaves that... well, let us just say that if there is ever a competition held to determine the worst song in all the English-speaking world, the second that this number was performed, the judges would declare an immediate end to the contest, proclaiming its composers the winner by acclimation -- and locking them in the darkest dungeon where they would never bother anyone again. The song is called "The Christmas Shoes," and it is about a man who feels harried and put out by the hustle and bustle of the holidays. That is until one day, when he comes across a little boy who is dirty from head to toe -- the lyricist's description, not mine -- who has a curious request:
Sir, I want to buy these shoes
For my mama, please
It's Christmas Eve, and these shoes are just her size
Could you hurry, sir?
Daddy says there's not much time
You see, she's been sick for quite a while
And I know these shoes will make her smile
And I want her to look beautiful
If Mama meets Jesus tonight