DEC 19 Have yourself a Gaudy Little Christmas

Eons ago, I took Latin in high school, because it looked good on a college application, because it was a trip back to Mr Chipsville handing out As for just showing up, because it satisfied an admittedly useless and sublimely aristocratic yearning to know more about the roots of our adulterated Franco-Norman-Anglo-Saxon-idiom, because it pleased highly educated and idealistic parents, I came across an intriguing expression: gaudeamus igitur. My father, a former Latin scholar who taught American literature when Latin was no longer « cool » in our res publica, made a guessing game of gaudeamus igitur with the hint that igitur meant “therefore,” a useless piece of information as all give aways are. « Now, think long and hard, what English word do you see in gaudeamus? » he asked me, setting aside a tome of forgotten lore. « Hmmm, » I responded after a moment’s thinking long and hard, « I sorta see the beginning of the word gaudy. » « Correct! » reacted my erudite Dad, pushing the heavy leather bound tome of forgotten lore to the far side of his desk as he launched into a fascinating lecture on how certain « common, everyday, » (his opinion, not mine) words like gaudy underwent a change or a « corruption »- as they sped through time, to emerge, faithless to their original meanings, but like Irish eyes or a Greek nose, the “corrupted” words retained a hint of their former innocence. Gaudy, from the Latin gaudere or joy, bubbles up in loud colors. If you are joyous you dress “like a Christmas tree?” Right? Gaudeamus igitur equals “therefore let us enjoy,” and illuminate the streets with every type of Christmas iconography, including and especially of the most endearingly kitschy variety, and I am not being ironic. – Rosy cheeked Saint Nicks and red-nosed reindeers, filmy fiberglass angels, sequined stars and cotton snow glisten gaudily against the gloom… I wish them always to be gaudy and never in good taste, or otherwise, I might spend my holidays in a gloomy museum and a soulless concert hall. No, this Christmas, I reject the subtle, the nuanced, the refined. I peal in the gaudy, the dazzle, the blaze, the unmusical shout of merriment, and I wish it to light up all the Christmases I have left in my life. And yours. That is my Christmas wish, so have yourself a gaudy little Christmas, and have it long and hard.

Posted in News and events, this is my blog