BULLGOOSE: Wes tries to chainsaw Christmas but is left with the trimmings

During the last dwindle of the dying days of December Wes Piddens shifted in his squatter’s chair. He groaned with the exertion. After subsisting for the past week on the kilojoule intake of a foie gras goose, he needed to shake off the torpor, pronto, and get on with things.

“After Action Review,” he proclaimed.

Alice stirred in the cane chair.


“After Action Review, on Christmas.”

“Jesus Christ! What are you on about? I’m the one who calls the After Action Reviews.”

This was true. Alice had picked up the idea in the Rural Fire Service: What were we trying to do? What did we do? How could we do it better? Now she was always banging on about AARs and would call one at the drop of a hat.

Of course, Alice put her own slant on the process, replacing the ‘we’ with ‘you’ and casting herself in the role of Torquemada, with Wes playing the part of the guy on the rack. But this time Wes was feeling proactive.

“I’m feeling proactive.”

Alice rolled her eyes behind closed lids. “Oh yeah?”

“Right. What did we try to do? Christmas. What did we do? Christmas. What could we do better? First, music. Sack the carols.

“No way.”

“OK, sack anything with ‘Lord’, ‘King’, ‘Master’, ‘Virgin’, ‘Angel’, ‘behold’ or ‘oxen’. We shouldn’t be asking kiddies to demean themselves by singing as if they were medieval serfs, peasants and peons. We may as well ask them to prostrate themselves in front of the Christmas tree seven times a day.

“You may have a point.”

“And Jesus goes.”

Say what? He’s the reason for the season.

“Was. Christmas just re-badged some pagan festival and made a Middle Eastern tradie the star. It’s time to move on: Family is the reason for the season now.”

“I suppose.”

“Be honest. Who would you rather see turn up on Christmas Day?  Big Minch, Little Minch, the spouses and the grandkids or Jesus?”

“When you put it that way…”

“Now, I don’t mind the tunes. Instrumental versions would be OK, but absolutely no Little Drummer Boy.

“I like The Little Drummer Boy.”

“It is an evil song. Play it if you like, but I reserve the right to operate a chainsaw indoors  whenever I hear it.”

“You’re mad.”

“Well that little bugger made me so. Overall, I think it’s probably safest to confine ourselves mainly to the Great American Christmas Song Book.”

Chess Nuts Resting by an Open Foyer?”

“A personal favourite.”

Silver Bells?”



“Rudy gets a guernsey.”

Aussie Jingle Bells? Six White Boomers?”

“But not Rolf Harris.”

“Take that as read. He’s dead to me.”

 “Just about anything, except Jingle Bell Rock.”

“Agreed. Despicable.”

“Correct, Alice, despicable. Contemptible to boot. Now, global warming. I suggest that we wrap all presents in fabric from now on.”

“You’ve lost me.”

“Wrap everything in teatowels. No paper waste, and everybody likes a teatowel:  koalas, wildflowers, Keep Calm and carry on vaccinating. Of course, it goes without saying that the teatowels will be Aussie. No slave labour Xinjiang cotton at a Piddens Christmas.”

“Extended family Christmas Draw?”

“Failed experiment. Discontinue.”


“Now… erm… ah… the repast…”


“ The… erm… Christmas Dinner…”

“What. About. The. Christmas. Dinner. Wes? (protracted pause)

“What, Wes?”

“Maybe change it up a little…”

“Change it up?”

“Perhaps, I don’t know … cold, simple, seafood?”

“Hot! The works! All the trimmings! And trimmings on the trimmings! I will not yield!”

“But it’s hot, and you work so hard and have to run around everywhere for weeks and you worry and panic and get stroppy and order me around and get high anxiety about getting the food cooked in time and then you get high anxiety about getting food poisoning from the leftovers and… and it’s all so stressful.”

“So what? I like planning. I like worrying. I like running about. I like high stress. I don’t like food poisoning. I am woman! I crave Christmas Dinner Anxiety as a lamb craves a frolic. Hot! The Works! All the trimmings! Live with it! This concludes the After Action Review!”


A lesson to us all.


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