In Defense of Drunken Caroling
Canada: great at exporting comedians, pancake accoutrements and, apparently, fun. Last week, we stumbled across these photos of a 1930s songbook put together by the owners of the venerable Labatt Brewing Company. The book, filled with traditional drinking songs, was given to all employees—as a too-seldom-invoked method of ensuring company bonding.
It’s not that people don’t get drunk and sing anymore (that is the distilled essence of karaoke, after all), but it is rare that grown gentlemen sing together in spirited voice without accompaniment.
Sure, there are exceptions. There’s the occasional shouting of “Hey” during Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part II” at sporting events, fratty sing-alongs of “Sweet Caroline” when it’s closing time at a bar or, most dreadfully, the awkward, all-office version of “Happy Birthday” for that girl who may or may not work in Accounts Receivable.
But for the most part, that’s it. Which is why we’d like to defend drunken caroling…
First of all: this is a shockingly easy practice to revive. Pick your 10 favorite Christmas, Hanukkah or Festivus carols—or any nondenominational, vaguely wintry tunes that feature either chestnuts or snowmen. Google the lyrics. Print out copies of said lyrics and pass them out to your like-minded cohorts. Drink enough alcohol so that you feel a warmth in your cheeks, but not so much that you cannot walk a straight line (there will be walking involved). Leave the house as one merry band and commence with the vocalizing.
And that’s… pretty much it.
It works because everyone knows the songs, and the booze loosens up the vocal chords. Plus, according to 1950s medical wisdom, that cold air will do you some good.
As the evening goes on, the voices will get louder, and you may start to wonder if you’re being a little too loud…
But you will come to learn many things in such an outing, the most important being this: a group of staggering degenerates clutching sheets of lyrics and singing wholeheartedly is not a group of staggering degenerates at all. It is a merry band spreading holiday cheer, and you can pretty much get away with anything. People will smile, take pictures with you and occasionally even invite you into their homes, where they will offer you even more drinks and other holiday treats.
At which point, tell them you’re not planning on leaving until they bring you some figgy pudding. And no, you won’t go until you get some.
- — Andrew Bradbury