I prefer my suicidal helliday songs to be of the Carpenter variety. Because at least then I’m reminded to put down the eggnog and pop an ex-lax to maintain this mannish figure.
I was on my way into work the other day when I had the unfortunate experience of hearing Dan Fogelberg’s Same Old Lang Syne on the radio. I was torn between trying to figure out what in the hell it had to do with my holidays and wanting to drive into a light pole.
Met my old lover in the grocery store
The snow was falling Christmas Eve
I stood behind her in the frozen foods
And I touched her on the sleeve
First and foremost, I hate the word lover. Put it right up there with moist and slacks. There’s just no need for it. You can easily say old friend or ex. Lover makes it creepy.
And to add to the level of creepiness is a strange man standing behind a woman in the frozen foods section. Touch my sleeve when I’m knee deep in thoughts of breakfast sausages and there will need to be a clean up in aisle five. I startle easily.
She didn’t recognize the face at first
But then her eyes flew open wide
She went to hug me and she spilled her purse
And we laughed until we cried
If the contents of my purse fell out in front of an old flame, I’d being crying all right. Real tears. Tampons, Tums, Pepto Bismol tears. The story of what my life has become splattered all over the floor for the world to judge. Mortification.
We took her groceries to the check out stand
The food was totaled up and bagged
We stood there lost in our embarrassment
As the conversation dragged
The convo would definitely drag right about the time my credit card got denied. Because that always happens in the most inopportune situations. I’d be lost in my embarrassment, all right.
We went to have ourselves a drink or two
But couldn’t find an open bar
We bought a six-pack at the liquor store
And we drank it in her car
Now this part I understand. Catching up over drinks with an old friend. Drinking on Christmas Eve. Drinking in my car. Although we’d probably have to look no further than my shopping cart for the booze.
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to now
We tried to reach beyond the emptiness
But neither one knew how
And I’m back to wanting to take a long walk off a short pier. I try to drink beyond the emptiness pretty much on a nightly basis. And I’ve come to terms with that. But hearing someone sing about it makes me actually feel again.
She said she’s married to an architect
Who kept her warm and safe and dry
She would have liked to say she loved the man
But she didn’t like to lie
What was she looking for? Someone to keep her cold, in danger, and wet? But I do appreciate her honesty. No one likes a liar. No one.
I said the years had been a friend to her
And that her eyes were still as blue
But in those eyes I wasn’t sure if I saw
Doubt or gratitude
I’ll believe anything after a few drinks. You think I look the same as I did twenty years ago? Guess what, so do I. I’ll drink to that.
She said she saw me in the record stores
And that I must be doing well
I said the audience was heavenly
But the traveling was Hell
When someone asks you how you are doing, they don’t really want to know. You’re just supposed to say I’m well, thanks. That’s it. Move on. Never is it necessary to include heaven AND hell in your response. Ever.
We drank a toast to innocence
We drank a toast to time
Reliving, in our eloquence
Another “Auld Lang Syne”
Finally a reference to Christmas. Or New Years. Or whatever. But at least I’m thinking, okay, this is a holiday song. For a hot minute. Before it turns right back into one of the most depressing ballad love songs of all time.
The beer was empty and our tongues were tired
And running out of things to say
She gave a kiss to me as I got out
And I watched her drive away
Pass the freaking tissue. She gave him a kiss. He watched her drive away. I can only hope he found an open bar and got properly hammered after this.
Just for a moment I was back at school
And felt that old familiar pain
And, as I turned to make my way back home
The snow turned into rain
That is quite possibly the saddest freaking ending to a song that I have ever heard. Ever. Good luck not having to reapply your face after listening to this one. I prefer my carols to include words like Holly, Jolly, Merry and Bright, and Rockin’.
The snow turned into rain. Just like that. The end.
Go ahead and have a listen to Same Old Lang Syne.