Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Wassailing is not ass wailing. Or is it?

My boyfriend ("J") is the Grinch and hates Christmas songs like some kind of Communist, so we were of course naming as many as we could think of the other night (over the Giants fans whopping at same bar as mentioned before, also over the music that was trying to block out the Giants fans, so we were yelling too which just contributed to the problem) and our buddy brought up "Here we come a wassailing."

Which brought us to how we all thought we were terribly clever back in the day when we figured out Santa was an anagram for Satan.

And then I thought I was terribly clever because I realized Wassailing is an anagram for ass wailing. Mostly because that's what they're doing, right? Going around wailing Christmas songs at your door &c, and you're hiding in the backroom because you don't know if it's like trick or treating, or that St Stephen's day thing, like do you have to give them candy or money or your good china?

Well it turns out wassail is a punch. But don't worry-- wassailing, as a verb, is about still going around irritating your neighbors, presumably drunk. With suggested Anglo-Saxon origins, it was a way during the so-called feudal period to irritate the lord of your manor and, yes, he did have to give you something to eat. If he wasn't a douchebag, presumably. Or if he didn't set his hounds or gangs of color-bearing mercenaries after you. The songs were meant to invoke blessings, good cheer, etc, for the coming year-- which is why you wish people Merry Christmases. In England, the orchard-wassailing was to promote a good harvest.

Naturally, the practice took a violent turn, as if this wasn't a surprise since you were giving people alcohol and sending them around to harass people, with reports of obnoxious drunken early New England versions of the hey-bra types to bust into houses and demand food & drink. Think in "We Wish You a Merry Christmas"-- "we won't go until we got some." Sinister. This should give J. the Grinch, Mr NYHC, something to appreciate about Christmas songs, and all you punk rocker kids, you. (Which means I can start playing the songs in the house, right?)

So I guess maybe you should stay in that back room. Because it's not ass-wailing. It could be ass-whaling. And while you're at it, brew some of that wassail punch stuff. Modcloth has got the recipe up.

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