Monday, December 02, 2013

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 95

The Time Mookie Learned To Hate "The Little Drummer Boy"

Due to the fact I am short on time in part because of the holiday, AND because I was reminded of this hatred this past Saturday night...I felt the need to revisit this topic. My previous (and somewhat mysteriously similar) rant about this song can be found HERE.

I'm going to share something that my family and a few close friends know: 

I HATE the Christmas song "Little Drummer Boy." 

Hate it. Hate it. Hate it. Of all the terrible Christmas songs out there - and there are many (I'm looking right at you "Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer) - "Little Drummer Boy" is by far the worst one ever made.

Now you are probably thinking to yourself, "Mookie, how can you hate such a wonderful song? It is beautiful and carries the joyous story about the birth of Jesus."

My reply is: That's great, but the song sucks and it is the most annoying thing ever. I shall explain my reasoning.

First, a little history on the song itself.
According to my friends at Wikipedia, the song "Little Drummer Boy" (originally titled "Carol of the Drum") was composed in 1941 by Katherine K. Davis. It became popular in 1958 after the Harry Simeone Chorale recorded it and released it again, and again and again.  The current version is credited to Davis, Simeone and Henry Onorati. As of now it has been recorded by anyone and everyone that has contributed to a Christmas compilation album.  There is allegedly over 220 versions of this song in at least 7 different languages and different genres of music. GOOD GOD.

As you know, the basis of the song is that a poor drummer boy was summoned to the nativity scene to see the new King and he had no gift for the baby Jesus. So with the old Virgin Mary's approval, the drummer boy played the best little drum solo he had ever played for the new King. The end result of course was that the little drummer boy's drum solo was so awesome that the infant/baby Jesus smiled at the drummer boy. Oh, and his drum.

Yeah sure. The baby Jesus smiled at you because you went "pa rum pum pum pum" on your drum. Wait...I'm didn't do it just once....If you count the number of times "pa rum pum pum pum" is uttered in the song, it counts up to TWENTY ONE *%#ing times. I'm not much for repeating something that much.  Do you know what I would do if my 6 year old played that on his little drum set more than 5 times? Smile? Hardly.

For whatever the reason, I can trace my deep dislike of that song as far back as the age of 5. I remember sitting in a music class in Kindergarten and singing that song every day for weeks. I'm not sure if it was all the "pa rum pum pum pum"-ming or if it was the seemingly absurdity of the lyrics like the line "the ox and lamb kept time - pa rum pum pum pum."  All I know is that I did not like the song and my utter hatred of it has only grown since then.

I think the song finally became a true Hell for me at the tender age of 20 when I was an "Associate" working at Wal-Mart. While that store is a Hell in itself, throw in the fact that during the Christmas Season (typically Thanksgiving until December 27th) the overhead PA played Christmas music ALL day and ALL night. I worked at Wal-Mart for 6 straight Christmas seasons. In reflecting on that time, I can honestly say that I probably heard at least some version of EVERY Christmas song ever made up until that time.

Most Christmas songs as you know are cheery and up-tempo. "Santa Claus Is Coming To Town," "Jingle Bells," and "Deck The Halls" are prime examples of this. Even some of the low-tempo songs like "Silent Night," "White Christmas," and even "The Christmas Song(Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire)" are tolerable. The song "Little Drummer Boy" is dreary as hell. The long drawn out syllables in short sentences ("IIIIIIIMMMMMM a poor boy tooooo") and of course the repeated "pa rum pum pum pum" 21 times is more than I can handle.

As I said before, there are over 220 versions in the world of this song. I'm pretty certain I heard all of them in my 6 years at Wal-Mart.  In an 8-hour shift, I bet it was played in some fashion at least 8 times. I have yet to hear someone I like sing it and change my view on it.  Johnny Cash, Chicago, Bob Seger, and even the Brady Bunch have all tried and failed to make the song listenable to me. To make matters worse, when I heard that Justin Bieber has also released a version of it on his Christmas album - I almost drove my car off a bridge. As you know, Bieber is the worst. Add "The Little Drummer Boy" to the equation and you are talking cruel and unusual punishment.

So you are probably thinking, "Mookie, you are just being silly" or possibly "Mookie, you need serious help." I whole-heartedly agree.  I do need help. I need people to help me get that song banned. It is awful. Someone needs to put a hole in the Little Drummer Boy's drum and break his sticks.  NOW.

Sadly, that song and the 6-year term at Wal-Mart caused me to dislike most Christmas music for many years thereafter. However in recent years I have somewhat recovered from the post-traumatic-stress syndrome caused by the Wal-Mart/Drummer Boy Hell years and do enjoy Christmas music in moderation.  "The 12 Days of Christmas" is a somewhat horrible song but when I hear the versions done by John Denver with the Muppets, and Bob and Doug McKenzie, it gets me in the Christmas mood. Throw in Bruce Springsteen's version of "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" with Clarence Clemons on the sax and it is great. It makes me like Christmas again.  

So these days if I get an inkling that the next song I hear is going to be "Little Drummer Boy, you can be sure I will do everything in my power not hear that God-forsaken song. It is a horrible and traumatizing song and it ruins whats left of my Christmas spirit. 

Just the other night I was working my third-shift gig and some wise guy decided to play the Christmas music station over the P.A. I knew it was only a matter of time before it happened....and sure enough...they played it. Naturally, the lady I was working with goes "Oh this is my favorite Christmas song." I just looked at her with a face like someone just shat their pants. She goes "What, you don't like this song?" With as much respect and consideration as I could muster for 3:30 in the morning, I went:
"No. This song sucks."
She asked why, so I told her this very same story. Afterwards she said she could understand why I felt the way I did, but I think she was just being nice. 

So it goes without saying that my fight to end the broadcast of "The Little Drummer Boy" is one I probably won't win due to the fact that so many people love it.  BUT..if I should succeed some day, please know that "Do You Hear What I Hear" (by everyone) and that horrible 80's song by Band Aid - "Do They Know Its Christmas" are next on my list of songs to eradicate. You're welcome.

Thank you for time. I now have to go back to listening to my kid on his drum set.
Pa rum pum pum pum.

Miss a previous episode of Monday Morning Stories?  CLICK HERE!

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