Rich Wilhelm

Archive for December, 2013|Monthly archive page

A Half-Assed Anniversary

In Christmas music, Christmas songs, holiday shopping on December 15, 2013 at 5:14 pm

While this doesn’t seem possible, it’s been ten years since I scribbled a bunch of words that expressed my frustration at the oncoming holiday season. Words that, in the hands of composer and musician named Fox Sullivan, became an actual song called “Half-Assed Christmas.”

Here’s how it all went down. It’s a story I’ve told before but, seeing as it’s been ten years, I’ll tell it one more time:

Driving into work one December morning in 2003, I was feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of having to do Christmas. I think there were financial concerns-when isn’t there, really?-but it wasn’t just that. Dad had died in August, and at the particular moment, during that particular ride into work on that particular morning, I dreaded the idea of celebration.

It was a temporary moment, passing quickly, but not before the thought that this was going to be a “half-assed Christmas” flashed through my head. Once I got to work, I thought that phrase was funny and quickly wrote a bunch of verses about what my half-assed Christmas was going to be like. I then posted it to my blog and went on about the business of the day.

Flash forward a few weeks later. A co-worker of mine, Susan, had passed my lyrics on to her friend Fox, and asked him what he could do with them. The song you hear in the video at the top of this entry is the result. Susan and other co-workers presented me with a CD, which they played for me. I was amazed and as touched as one can be while listening to a song called “Half-Assed Christmas.”

I realize that not everybody likes this song and I’m OK with that. I go from Christmas to another liking it less or more each season. Some years I’ve been embarrassed by the fact that I wrote the words; other holiday seasons, I’ve been cool with it.

I guess “Half-Assed Christmas” was my way of expressing a forbidden feeling: that the holidays can be really hard sometimes. And that we may not always feel like we have the strength to “do Christmas right.” We’re not supposed to admit to those kind of feelings, but that doesn’t mean they’re not valid.

Plus, I wanted the chance to mention the concept of Diet Spam in a song.

So, today, when I’m waiting for the ice to melt off the Christmas tree we left on our porch last night, and contemplating the packed agenda of holiday-related items that must be dealt with today, I’m taking a moment to revisit “Half-Assed Christmas.” I hope it brings you a smile. Just don’t take it too seriously.

Thanks to Cliff and Beth for the CD player boombox you see in the video. And thanks to Grandma-Great for the crocheted Santa Claus that accompanies the boombox.

Finally, thanks always to Fox for writing and recording a bitchin’ tune to accompany my words and to Susan for facilitating this collaboration of two guys who have never met.


Peppermint Zen Piano

In Facebook status poem, poem on December 6, 2013 at 4:49 pm


Peppermint Zen Piano

Started the day by listening to
Julia Cameron and Natalie Goldberg
getting all Zen about writing
as a toy piano occasionally commented
with brief note clusters from my back seat.

(Plus a peppermint mocha.)

We’ll see where this all leads.

I’ll miss the toy piano when it goes,
but it belongs to Cliff Hillis and Beth Lennon.

And, besides, it’s taking up a spot
where a kid usually sits.

Patrick F. O'Donnell

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