The spirit of Christmas lives on into the New Year, and on. A Christmas cautionary tale.
Jingaling, Hand ringing.
‘Hurry, Christmas is coming, there are gifts to be bought,
Don’t worry, your bank has an answer if money’s short,
Don’t stretch the stitching of your cash filled billfold,
Just take a card- any card- silver, platinum or gold,’
To a simple soul this sounded sage advice,
A few monthly payments seemed a small price,
My smiling solicitous bank manager is one of a kind,
He was happy to accept as my signature the X’s I signed.
In the twinkling of an eye he’d handed me my very own card,
I felt so special, knowing he held me in such high regard,
My frayed wallet now held untold purchasing power,
Impressive for someone paid seven bucks an hour.
My bank manager gave me a word of advice,
‘Having a limit of a thousand bucks sounds very nice
But remember the bank does charge a small handling fee-
A miniscule percentage, to compensate for our generosity.’
As he ushered me out the door he had one last thing to say;
‘Don’t forget your PIN number, bye, and have a nice day.’
How can I remember that when my memory is so poor?
So I wrote my number on my card, just to make sure.
Money worries over, I went out on the town,
Awash in presents, I slapped that plastic down,
What a joy it is hearing the merry chiming of the till,
Til there came a buzzing, then a ‘Declined,’ then the bill.
I reluctantly withdrew from my wallet most of my holiday pay;
This would mean a jolly Christmas but a lean New Years Day,
‘Joy To The World’ those happy carollers continued to sing,
But I never heard a jolly word over the tills hollow ring.
A final few purchases later, arms filled to overflowing,
My last nickel gone, my Christmas cheer rapidly going,
With parcels, spirits and finances in danger of falling
I was SO over those carollers and their caterwauling.
From the warmth of the Mall, out the sliding doors
The sudden freezing feeling gave me cause to pause,
I can’t help but think of those folk less well off than me
Till I remember -now- I’M more than deserving of charity.
A loitering soliciting Santa caught my reluctant eye
As I tried to slip and slide my way silently by,
He’s a’rattling and a’swinging his bucket,
I’d so hoped I’d be able to duck it.
He looked at me hard, he thought it mighty strange
Someone as flush as I couldn’t spare chump change,
He gazed at my sorry face, then at my bulging pockets-
They held nary a penny, only Target and JC Penney dockets.
Now another Christmas season has left an indelible mark,
Those bright pretty lights are gone and ’tis cold and dark,
The wind chills me to the bone, outside’s blowin’ a gale
As in the guttering candle light I read this day’s mail.
My bank sent me a card AND letter in a gold envelope,
They wish me a happy New Year and the earnest hope
That I receive this communication, and once I’ve read it
Next month they expect to see my account’s back in credit.
It seems there’s a limit to how far Savings and Loans go;
In my credit card statement it’s at least one less zero,
It’s the easy life for the lucky gent with a credit card-
It’s paying back twenty frikken’ percent that’s hard.
I might not be too sharp, I might be downright dumb
But I can count the cost, and the time has surely come,
I’m truly sorry Mom, forgive your less than perfect son-
The card awaits, I’ve scissors in hand, and I have to run.