Magical Christmas Concerts

'Tis the season to be merry. Or so someone once said. Obviously said person was never forced to sit in an overheated school gymnasium with three hundred or more hacking, sniffing and slightly suspect people while a high school band assaults your ear drums with it's rendition of "The Little Drummer Boy."

My ears are still ringing.

I used to love the kid's school concerts, especially the one at Christmas time. What is more merry than watching a horde of five year olds scan the crowd, pick their noses and sing off key? Inevitably, there was always one girl who tried to pull her dress over her head while she fidgeted and one boy who fell off the back of the bleachers while poking his buddy standing beside him.

Usually they were my kids.

Now that Fric and Frac are older the concerts are decidedly less entertaining. It's less about scanning the crowd and waving wildly to their over-proud and camera-wielding parents and more about remembering the words so they can get back to their classrooms to watch an inappropriate video while getting hopped up on sugary treats while their poor abused parents are stuck listening to the next off-key and badly produced rendition of "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" and hoping for some sort of distraction so they can sneak out of the auditorium unnoticed and go stick pencils in their ears.

(Or maybe that's just me.)

How boring.

Fric and Frac have now transferred to the big school which means they no longer share concerts with the cute five year olds and clumsy eight year olds. Now they perform their concerts with students all the way to the ninth grade. Teenagers. A brass band. Sneers and eyeball rolling replace the cheerful nose picking and wild waving of their younger days. Now when their mom or dad stands up to take a picture and whistle out of parental pride those damn teens pretend they don't know the aging geezer making an ass out of themselves in front of the local town.

I kept catching whiffs of someone smoking weed all night long. Betcha that would make the concert less painful and more fun for whichever random FOURTEEN year old who was burning herb behind the teacher's lounge.

Instead of watching the wiggling and giggling of some overexcited and freshly lacquered six year olds, I was stuck watching the wiggling and giggling of a pack of scraggly, unkempt stoned grade niners. It just wasn't the same.

Fric and Frac, were great, of course. Frac must have sensed my sadness and made crazy faces at me the entire time his teacher forced him and his class to perform like trained monkeys while sporting elf hats. I was a tad saddened to see he can now simultaneously sing, poke the kid next to him and make faces at me and while still remain firmly planted on the back bleacher. My baby's growing up.

Fric blew her french horn like her little life depended on it, and while it still sounded like an elephant grunting in orgasm, together with the rest of her class band, "Jingle Bells" never sounded finer. She was the prettiest girl on the stage with her golden locks and shiny brass horn. It won't be much longer before her poor daddy is going to have to find a big ass stick to beat those boys off.

As I sat with my fingers in my ears and huddled in a dark corner so as not to have to talk with anyone and watched this confection of Christmassy delight I marveled over how quickly these kids of ours grow up.

Just last year it seems, they were yanking pony tails and forgetting the words as they smiled with glee under the bright lights and loving gazes of their parents.

Soon, they'll be sneaking out back and puffing on their whacky-tabaccy while lamenting on the lameness of their teachers for forcing them to look and act like dorks just so their parents can have a photo op and a Christmas memory.

When next year's concert rolls around, I'm packing ear plugs and bringing a flask. Just look for me. I'll be the one standing next to the back doors hoping to get a contact high.