F*** You, It’s Christmas

I was in a jaunty mood and didn’t know why. Jaunty typically doesn’t correspond to seven in the morning, 31 degrees outside, while walking to visit your dad living in an assisted living center.

Nevertheless, jaunty it was. Maybe the streaks of red, orange and purple in the sunrise were responsible.

I strode the sidewalk and passed the usual miscreants congregated in front of the convenience store. I crossed the street and assessed the range of facial expressions of the commuters idling at the stoplight: vacant to grim.

A man walked toward me. Gradually I took him in: sixty or seventy years old, long unkempt red hair, beard, filthy red-colored Arctic coat, a pronounced scowl on his visage. Clearly a man of the streets. I’ve seen enough on my neighborhood walks to know the look and sense the vibe.

We were on the verge of passing one another. Our eyes met.

He said, “You want to share a cigarette?”

Share? I wasn’t smoking.

“No,” I said. “I don’t smoke.”

He didn’t slow down. He shot me a glance

“Fuck you,” he said with anger. “It’s Christmas.”

I stopped, turned. He passed me. He didn’t look back. I exclaimed, “I don’t smoke!”

He kept walking. I called out, “I don’t smoke!”


I started laughing. It was wonderfully absurd. He was so surly, such an asshole, and I relished every moment of his asshole character.

I continued on my way and started writing a Christmas song called “Fuck You, It’s Christmas,” right then and there. That’s always the best time to write a song.

(Song begins with a slowly strumming nylon-stringed guitar. Some variation of a G, D, C chord progression)

Walkin’ to see the old man at the Portland old folks home

Red, purple and orange streak the December morning sky. Beavers build dams nearby.

It’s colder than a Republican Senator’s corroded heart but I feel good ’cause Willie Nelson’s still alive

An old homeless man wearing red walks toward me. He’s got a Grinch scowl on his face

He says, You want to share a smoke?

I say, I don’t smoke.

He says, (Big choir blast here, singing the chorus, really a Stones “You Can’t Always Get Want You Want” thing)

Fuck you, it’s Christmas / Fuck you you don’t smoke

Fuck you it’s Christmas / I hope Santa fucks you up

Okay, it’s a work in progress.

I told dad the story at breakfast. He laughed a big laugh. He quoted something by Jesus to me and I knew I’d have to work that into the song.