December 23

Holiday Specials


Even though the world’s ended, some people try to keep their sense of humor.

For most of the jokes, you want to tsk, tsk, say “Too Soon.”

For instance, some amateur comedian found a poster for a once-popular holiday movie, and taped it up in the town square.  Stuck it right on the side of the fallen monument.  With a bold black marker, the clown changed the verb tense of the title:  It Was a Wonderful Life.  He’d drawn a large X over Jimmy Stewart’s face, and Donna Reed got the same treatment.  Cartoon skulls covered each of the children’s heads.

You used to love watching that movie with your family.  It had such a beautiful message about the human spirit.

A bit too optimistic, as it turns out.

People couldn’t possibly find this humorous.  You consider tearing down the poster, but decide it’s not your place.

Free speech.  Maybe free speech is all we have left.

Later in the day, you find a second movie poster taped to the monument, and the style of artwork indicates a different culprit.  This film’s title has been altered to Mushroom Cloud on 34th Street.  In a black-and-white photo, a young girl sits on Santa’s lap, and through the department store window a large radioactive explosion appears in a skillful blend of red and orange pastels.

The girl reminds you of the daughter you lost.  The mushroom cloud reminds you of something recent, too, but you’d rather not think about it.

You stop by later in the evening, and find that more “comedians” have struck.  Some people chose to alter actual posters, salvaged from one of the Holiday Village displays in the area’s ransacked pawn shops or chain stores.  Others made their own signs from scratch, ranging in quality from block letters and stick figures, to stencils and collages and impressionistic water colors.

You shiver as you look at the once proud monument, now fallen and plastered with disrespectful, broadsides:


The Deaths Before Christmas

The 99 Years Without a Santa Claus

Frost-Eaten the Snowman

Rudolph, the Plague-Nosed Reindeer


Tsk, tsk.  The jokes are all terrible.  Terribly unfunny.

You shiver again as you reach beneath your overcoat to retrieve a rolled up sheet of posterboard and a few loose strips of tape.  Unrolling your creation, which you’ve been working on all afternoon, you step forward to add it to the growing display.