VANCOUVER publisher Pamela McColl, a smoking cessation coach, has produced a new version of Clement Clarke Moore’s classic Christmas poem, A Visit From St. Nicholas. This one wipes out any reference to Santa’s smoking a pipe.
As a fellow Vancouverite, I had to ask myself, why stop there? This obese, selfishly decadent so-called “saint” obviously needs a right proper scolding.
A Visit From a Sketchy, Misguided Drifter
’Twas the night before Crass-mas, and all through the yurt,
Not a creature was fried and no furry friend hurt,
Our plates were judiciously loaded with steamed greens,
Our discussions were centred on care of our spleens.
Our three children were reading tar sands exposés
While I crafted their gift, a crochet-ed bidet.
My partner in her muumuu and I in my dreds
Decided ’twas time we headed to our hemp beds.
When near the composter I heard such a clamour
I leapt to my feet and picked up my felt hammer
To the doorway I dashed like a rabid wild rat
Peered into the dark night, and called out “Who is that?”
I saw only the rain washing down like a sluice.
Contemplated my downing another beet juice…
When, what to my bleary, puzzled eyes should appear
But a miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer
With a driver -- quite chubby, his height I’d call “brief.”
His vehicle was fuel-free, I saw with relief.
His four-footed companions looked happy and fit
Like they didn’t mind hoisting this fellow a bit.
I couldn’t resist a most jovial greeting
I’d given up hope that we’d ever be meeting.
“Hail, traveller!” I shouted. “You’re Nick, are you not?
The world expert in combatting wooden yurt rot?
I thought you’d come last week, but it’s fine you’re now here.
Come in! I can offer you my homemade birch beer!”
At first Nick looked confused, like I’d made a mistake.
Though his yurt expertise simply couldn’t be faked.
He turned down my beer, and inspected my present
Then asked “Can’t you think of a gift that’s more … pleasant?”
Nick hailed from an Arctic town full of red steeples
And spoke fondly of its indigenous peoples.
He was oddly intent on my tales of my kids
Asked me when, how and why we had now hit the skids.
“Oh, we do quite well,” I assured him. Then I said,
“What with meditation and our gluten-free bread.”
Nick turned down a sample and asked me for a sweet
I frowned as I told him “That’s not healthy to eat!
Hey, sugar’s the devil and fat’s a disaster
Base desires are something each of us must master.”
Nick shook his head, and he looked up at me sadly.
“Young man,” he said. “Has life treated you so badly?
Are you used to the cold? Are you keen to suffer?
Are your birch beer and juices some modern buffer
Against other humans with pedestrian whims
Those who amuse themselves, say, by playing The Sims?”
I had no idea what Nick was implying
So quickly reminded him of what was dying
Our planet, just for one, I noted with great verve
Not to mention, in tennis, R. Federer’s serve.
Nick looked so depressed as I tallied this stuff up
All the things that were wrong, the Earth’s half-empty cup
I gave proof, cited facts, showed him charts by the score
And was shocked when he told me that I was a bore!
“Lighten up!” said he. “Who are you -- Debby Downer?
Birch beer?! Try a Guinness -- it’s better, and browner!
Eat some chocolate. Try TV -- might make you fat
But some shows are so funny and what’s wrong with that?
Play loud music, curse, and tell an off-colour joke
When the going gets tough, just cut out for a smoke!”
Well! As you can imagine, I was deeply hurt.
I’d invited Nick over to look at my yurt.
The rot was extensive, its fate now under threat
And quite frankly, at this point, we were getting wet.
“Excuse me,” I blustered, my face getting redder.
“You come in here wearing that cherry-red sweater,
You deride my good larder and soak in my yurt
And then anything rude you can think of, you blurt?
I guess you have your values and I have my own
But mine are the best and from them, I will not roam.”
Nick leapt to his feet and made straight for his reindeer.
“I cannot change your outlook or lifestyle, I fear.
Just know this: I am not just a guy who knows yurts.
I’m an elf and a gastronome -- who often flirts!
I like flying, and drinking, and even my pipe
And trust me, the smart children believe all the hype.
I’m not perfect but flawlessness, any kid knows,
Is a cold, wintry garden where little good grows.”
And with that, Nick and sled zipped off into the night.
And I crept to my drawer and I found a good light
I went into the garden and lit my cheroot
And yelled “Santa Claus Nick's a self-righteous old boot!”