WITH the usual apologies to Clement C. Moore . . .
'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the room
The sound of my cursing added much to the gloom.
A Phillip's head screwdriver I twirled now with care,
A Fisher-Price dollhouse causing all this despair.
The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of Super Nintendo danced in their heads.
And mama with her Salems and I in my Bears cap,
Tried to figure how much this would set us all back.
When out near the garbage cans there arose such a clatter,
"That damn raccoon!" said I. "Get my shotgun; have at 'er!"
Away to the window I flew like a steed,
Tore open the shutters and drew a quick bead,
The moon off a soup can in the new-fallen snow
Perfectly illuminated the target below,
When what to my wondering eyes should appear,
But a miniature sleigh and some old guy with a beer,
His eyes were so rheumy, all red with a tic,
I knew in a moment: "This guy must be sick."
More rapid than an Uzi his curses they came,
As he lurched and staggered and called me some names:
"You're silly and ugly, with a face like a hound,
"You got the IQ of a turnip; you're really a clown.
"Got a pointy lil' head, which I ought to maul,
"Now go away, go away, go away y'all!"
With dry heaves that made me turn away with a shudder,
He swayed to and fro and continued to mutter
So into the house again I fairly flew,
"Dial 911!" I cried. "An ambulance, too!"
Then in an instant, I heard on the roof:
A tree crashing through the gutter and my savings going poof!
As I popped two quick Bayer and was turning around,
Through the doorway and foyer this dude he did bound.
He was dressed all in red, like a bellboy at Caesars
Only with lots more fur; not like other old geezers.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
As he pushed me and mumbled: "Watch yourself now, Jack."
His eyes looked much clearer; the coffee was working.
His cheeks showed some life, the color was lurking.
His showed me his card and said: "Claus is the name,
"And son, I was fine 'til this damn recession came."
The stub of an El Producto he held tight in his teeth.
And the tale that he told, well, it just made you weep.
"My 'Workshop' is reeling, with lay-offs and pay cuts,
"The elves are revolting; reindeer sit on their fat butts,
"The Mrs. and I live on dried fish and kelp."
And I shivered when I heard it, in spite of myself.
The tremble in his hands and that tic all but said:
The economy was stuck; there was still much to dread,
So he left a few toys, going straight to his work,
Then tripped over the hassock and called me a jerk.
"But things will get better!" he said as he arose,
Then rushed out the door, stepping first on my toes.
He left his sleigh there; to a cab gave a whistle,
And away they both flew like a Patriot missile.
But I heard him exclaim, as they ran a red light:
"Happy Christmas to all; boy, it's been a long night . . . !"