a rickety bridge of impossible crossing

no whammies

Recently -- I couldn't tell you how recently, but I would guess it's fewer than 10 years ago but no less than 5 -- I became aware of a game called "Whamageddon". It starts on the first of December, and the goal is to get through the month without hearing the song "Last Christmas" by the 1980s pop Duo "Wham!". As far as I know, I've never heard this song. If it's popular enough to be the subject of this sort of game, I imagine I must've been in a room while this song was playing on the radio at some point in my life, but I have no memory of explicitly being told I was listening to the song (by, say, a DJ announcement), and I have no memory of any song where the words "last christmas" are sung clearly and repeatedly, which is the only other way I'd be able to recognize that I was listening to a song by that name. As far as I know, the only Wham! song I've ever heard is "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go", which I was exposed to on VH1's pop-up video. It's a totally unremarkable pop song, and I have no strong feelings about it either way.

Since the goal of the game is to avoid hearing "Last Christmas", I assumed it was because the song is bad. But anecdotally, I've heard of people playing the same game with Mariah Carey's "All I Want For Christmas Is You". I have heard that song, and it rules, so maybe the songs are being chosen for their popularity rather than their quality -- i.e., to make the game harder to win, they chose songs that are harder to avoid.

If people are avoiding "All I Want For Christmas Is You" because they think it's bad, that's absurd. There are a billion worse Christmas songs one could pick. The worst Christmas song ever written is "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney,1 so if you're playing a game about avoiding the worst Christmas song, that would be my pick. But I don't know if it makes sense to base the game around that song, because I don't know if it still gets a ton of radio play. And the reason I don't know that is that I never hear any music played on the radio or any kind of public sound system, because, uh...

it is impossible for me to lose whamageddon

Statistically speaking, I don't go to places; and when I do go to places, I'm wearing headphones. Even if I did know what "Last Christmas" sounds like and had the ability to recognize when I lost, I never hear any music being played in a public place. This isn't a flex, this isn't like "haha you fools, I've discovered the ultimate secret strategy to winning Whamageddon, no one can defeat me"; I know winning and losing doesn't actually matter and it's just a silly bit of fun. But the thing is, "I don't go anywhere and I wear headphones when I do" is how I operate year-round. It's my M.O. It helps me avoid bad Christmas music, and yes, there is a lot of it that I'm happy not to hear -- mostly the boomer christmas canon but also "Wonderful Christmastime" by Paul McCartney -- but the main reason I wear headphones is to protect myself from all the other noise pollution I don't want to endure. Cars, the bus engine, cars, people yelling at each other, cars, loudspeaker advertisements, cars, the inescapable cacophonous automotive hellscape we're all trapped in, crowd noises... and, well, I'm not giving up my noise protection to play a game about avoiding a song that might not even be that bad.

That said, I won't go looking up "Last Christmas" any time soon, because in light of Whamageddon my lifelong streak of not having heard it seems somewhat significant. I've transcended the game. I'm free.

You know what would be fun though? Invert the objective. Play a game where the goal is to hear "Last Christmas" being played in a public place. And "All I Want For Christmas is You". And any other non-boomercanon Christmas song. It could be like a scavenger hunt. Maybe you could have a bingo card you bring with you when you go places, and post a picture of your card when you get bingo. A bingo card is 5 squares by 5 squares, or 25. There's 25 days til Christmas. Advent bingo. Eh? I think that's pretty good.

Unfortunately, the only place I go other than to work every day (which is a statistical outlier and should not be counted) is the big box grocery store, and that's one of the places I need headphones the most; I don't think I could even hear the audio system over the din of the crowd in that kind of echo-y warehouse environment.

If it made sense to visit quieter, nicer places right now, like the cafes and little restaurants and game stores and bookstores I used to visit occasionally, I think a Christmas music scavenger hunt could be fun, but of course, one of the big reasons I'm not going to places is because we're still in the middle of a global pandemic and statistically speaking I'd be the only person in any of these places wearing a mask. So... *shrug*

Maybe someday 🦝

  1. since I can't parse song lyrics very well, I'm basing this more on the sound of the music than the contents. Lyrically, "Christmas Shoes" is undoubtedly the most loathsome Christmas song, but as background music I don't know if I would register it being different than any other country song↩

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