So, along with many of the other unfortunate Christmas songs that we will be subjected to this year, the Twelve Days of Christmas is upon us. There are a few things about this song that are always kind of disturbing: the fact that they usually have a reasonably large group of exceedingly earnest people practically yelling it at us, the pace of the song which makes everyone nervous enough to have to hum the parts they forget or get out of order (except for the gold rings), and the fact that unless you are Catholic and also very up on your saints and events, you have no idea what the actual days are. Like my children asking if Hanukkah would count towards eight of the days, and if New Year’s and the two eves round out to twelve. And does that mean that they get twelve times the stuff?

The exact origins and the meaning of the song are unknown, but it is suspected that it came from a children’s memory and forfeit game that would have been played in Europe and England around the 14th century or so. But I mean, imagine how that would work?

December 25.

On the first day of Christmas my true love sent to me a partridge in a pear tree. Well, okay, thanks babe, I guess I will put that out in the yard. I like pears. Maybe we could can some jelly or something or make pies.

December 26.

The next day I wake up and for the second day of Christmas my true love sent to me two turtle doves, and another partridge in another pear tree. Wow. I guess we have a matched set now. Although you didn’t send me a cage, so I lost the turtle doves. They are in the house somewhere.

December 27.

Wait, what? On the third day of Christmas my true love sent to me three French hens, two more turtle doves, and again with the partridge in a pear tree. I mean, I love you and all, and don’t take this the wrong way, but what’s with all the birds? Seriously, it is kinda starting to smell here, and when I turned to make myself coffee, they came over and knocked the box on the floor and pecked the crap out of the donuts.

December 28.

Now also, when are you coming home? All this stuff just keeps showing up. On the fourth day of Christmas my true love sent to me four calling birds, three French hens, two more turtle doves, and yet another the partridge in a pear tree. Seriously, with the birds? Is your name secretly Tippi Hedren? I can’t get to the sink, because they are all there, I am stepping on bird crap and freshly laid eggs, there is no room in the yard for any more trees, the dog ripped up one of the hens, and raccoons are waiting at the sliding glass doors all night.

December 29.

Please answer my texts! When is this going to stop? On the fifth day of Christmas you sent to me five gold rings, which was nice but unexpected; I thought we were already married? But also four calling birds, three French hens, two more turtle doves, and the apparently obligatory partridge in a pear tree. I left that outside. Imma eat one of the hens tonight. Soon you will have to send me whisky instead, because this is a problem. ENOUGH BIRDS.

December 30.

On the sixth day of Christmas my “true” love sent to me six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two more turtle doves, and the damn tree with the partridge in it. Okay, so here’s the thing. Geese attack everything. They have herded the other 23 inside birds into the bathroom, where they are roosting all over everything in a chirpy little bunch, except for the calling birds, who are constantly yelling their little song. I think the lyrics are “I’m a bird, I’m a bird, I’m a bird, I’m a bird, sing it with me, I’m a bird, I’m a bird…” Also, there are a bunch of rotting pears on the ground in the yard, and again, we are having CHICKEN TONIGHT, and also a buttload of beer.

December 31.

Today, day 7 of fricking bird-a-palooza, I got seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two more turtle doves, and the next tree. Is this like a weird stalker ghosting thing? Oh yeah, Animal Control came by and posted a thing on the door saying that I needed to call them immediately because of complaints from the neighbors. I let a bunch of birds outside last night, and the raccoons massacred them, and knocked over some of the trees that I didn’t plant. There are feathers and blood and odd carcass bits all over the yard. At least the swans came with a huge blow-up pool. I am going to kick them out of it and swim around a bit, before I pick up all the junk in the yard. Happy New Year.

January 1.

Okay, weirdest day ever. Today, I wake up to eight women in maid outfits trying to milk the birds. Also, another delivery of seven swans a-swimming, six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two more turtle doves, and the next tree. After some negotiations, I got a few of the maids to clean the yard and the house with me, and some to take some of the hens and get stuff to make dinner. I also got an Instant Pot from my aunt for Christmas, so that was cool, and we used that. At least the place is clean now, and we are down quite a few birds. Tomorrow I am going to get a restraining order.

January 2.

Now, if you ever loved me at one time, I gotta assume one of two things happened. One, there was something I did to piss you off so bad that you hate me now, or two, you have gone completely nuts. For today, we have nine ladies dancing, eight more maids who are really looking for something to milk, and again seven swans a-swimming which makes me understand why that pool is so big, six geese a-laying, five gold rings, four calling birds, three French hens, two more turtle doves, and tree number nine. We are nearly out of hens, but all this poultry for dinner is getting kind of old. They said a judge has to rule on the restraining order and won’t be back until the sixth. Sorry, I have to go, I have to cook dinner for 26 people.

January 3.

Okay, so tonight is medieval feast night. We have to deal with the swans, and the songbirds, and everything better end up tasting good with the giant vat of pear-bourbon sauce I made last night. Also, these ten jumpy guys showed up.

January 4.

ENOUGH. I just got eleven pipers. Seriously, eleven guys walking around like Ian Anderson from Jethro Tull, and it is even worse than the birds. I finally put them all in the bedroom, and gave them a set list to learn before they come out.

And also ten more parkour dudes showed up, along with nine more dancers, (who I hired a choreographer for so they could all perform during the flute concert), eight more maids so at least the house is spotless, and seven more swans, which is okay I guess, because there were only a few left from last night, six more geese (who I made go look at all the bones in the compost bin, so they are kinda low key at the moment), five more gold rings which I have been selling online to pay for this whole nightmare, four more calling birds, three more French hens, two more turtle doves, and guess what? A tree! With a bird in it! Just what I always wanted. NOT!

January 5.

So guess what? I am still laughing. So I went to her parents house, although we had to hire two charter buses and a truck to do it. First, this morning, what shows up but twelve guys drumming.

I guess that is par for the course. So I got them with the now 22 flautists, and the 36 dancers. The thirty parkour dudes are also working with the choreographer to do this wild breakdance hip-hop routine with them. The band does sound kinda tight, I have to admit. Some of the maids have asked if they can also be dancers, and bring their own instruments, but the rest of them are now setup and catering staff. They prepared a giant poultry-themed feast, and we set up in the street out front of her parent’s house and cordoned off both ends for a block party. It was actually pretty awesome as the 40 piece band, and the 70-person dance troupe, went into their routine. I wrote out a detailed letter to her, accompanied by the restraining order, saying that if I ever saw her again I was calling the police. I put the letter on top of the boxes of her stuff from the house, grabbed a fried goose leg and went home.

I changed the locks and listed the house as an Airbnb, and I am currently on a plane to Hawaii, but you know what? Although it was the weirdest twelve days of my life, I still kind of miss the pears.

Tony Moir is a cyborg who holds world records in synchronized luge and panda steeplechase. Or maybe he isn’t. But he lives in San Francisco with his lovely wife and three outstanding sons.

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