Sunday, December 14, 2014

Here they come a-wassailing

There you are, going about your normal day's business, when, suddenly, costumed performers troop in through the front door, assume their formation and start singing.

Caroling seems quaint and delightful in the movies, or when it's happening to someone else a comfortable distance away. But when you're staring at the uvula of an enthusiastic performer just a couple of feet in front of you the whole thing starts to seem weird pretty quickly. And it only gets weirder the longer it goes on.

Maybe its just me. I have a real problem being sung at.

Wolfeboro has its own group of Dickens Carolers. Search the Internet and you will find that it's probably a franchise by now. These roving gangs go about in Victorian garb, entering businesses at will to harmonize without warning.

At my usual post in the backshop I can usually bolt into a crevice like a frightened reef dwelling crustacean at the sound of the first note. Today I even found some skates to sharpen back there, so I had a legitimate excuse to put in ear plugs and operate noisy machinery. Cocooned in industrial noise I meticulously put a gleaming edge on two or three pairs of blades.

Big G had been trying to sell snowshoes. He said it was pretty funny trying to explain everything over the noise of loud singing. Our fearless leader had been caught manning the register, so he bore the brunt of expressing our corporate appreciation .

Am I ashamed for cutting and running? Not at all. Next time it could be me out there, pinned down with no cover as incoming merriment bursts all around me.

I vaguely remembered that caroling had at least some of its roots in wassailing, the practice of the lowly going around to sing for their social superiors, hoping to receive food, drink or perhaps a few coins to make them shut up and go away. So the Caroling Defense Kit will consist of a small bag full of scrap metal with a few coins on top. When the singing starts, wing it at the loudest one as hard as you can. Aim for the face or the solar plexus. Canned goods might work well, too. Be sure to wish them good health and holiday cheer as you do this. It helps your plausible deniability if someone complains about the ballistics of your donation.

Then again, since I'm really a peace-loving type, I could go with Plan B, which is simply to scream and run away.


John said...


cafiend said...

A bit, I suppose, but really it has more to do with my reaction to any public performance that tries to reach out and invade my space. I have to be ready for something like that, and if I'm not, I'm not.