Calm, collected holiday shopper, what's on your iPod? (Part VII)

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Calm? Collected? Oh, brother. If you're still trolling web sites and department stores for stocking stuffers now, you're beyond desperate, and possibly beyond help. If you're arguing with postal workers about whether that French designer scarf you mailed to Munich will arrive at its intended destination by Friday - when you mailed it just yesterday - Gimme Noise cannot help you, sporto. You're a lost, lost cause.

Perry Como, "Jingle Bells"

The prototypical version of "Jingle Bells" - perpetually cherub-cheeked, disturbingly perky, with all those damned sleigh bells jingling and jangling psychopathically in the background, as though Como and the musicians and the studio engineers and the mangy mutts with oversized antlers attached to their heads had bulky sleigh bells hot-glued to their skin and were performing their duties under extreme, decidedly un-Christmas-y duress, at gun point.

"Wassail, Wassail"

Basically, "Wassail, Wassail" is a rousing, blustery song about visiting friends and family at Christmastime and getting plastered drunk; you know, rejoicing, being merry, wearing furry antlers without irony. Given how many rock bands and rap icons enjoy and regularly celebrate the virtues of quaffing copious quantities of sophisticated adult beverages, it's a wonder that "Wassail" hasn't been covered in hundreds of thousands of unique ways. Yep, that's a hint, you red-nosed head-bangers.

A Random Canadian Flash Mob, "Hallelujah Chorus"

Gimme Noise doesn't go in much for shout-outs, but today - through a wild series of circumstances that I never could have come close to predicting - I wound up spending several minutes in the office of a local gazebo/playset retailer watching something pretty amazing via You Tube: a group of kamikaze carolers breaking into the "Hallelujah Chorus" in the middle of a mall food court. An eruption that registered initially as simultaneously calculated and random somehow became something awesome and splendid, as the wonder of onlookers mirrored my own, all of us whisked for a few moments away from our many, varied worries and cares and transported beyond fear and cynicism and indebtedness to a special nook inside where we could feel like children all over again, or something.

If my car's transmission hadn't chosen to crap out at that one particular moment, I wouldn't have wound up fretting and cell-phoning in a certain parking lot, and I wouldn't have wandered into this office to warm up, and the proprietor wouldn't have told me to cancel my cab, because he was more than willing to give me a ride where I needed to go so I could make it the rest of the way to work, and he wouldn't have regaled me with this amazing You Tube video.

So now, I'm going to shout out Sam Smucker, owner of HomePlace Structures in Austin, Texas, for being a generous human being, a model Christian, and helping out a total stranger.

You, sir, are what Christmas is all about.


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