4. O Tannenbaum
Suppose it topples over under its weight of bomb-shaped baubles? Suppose it harbors wood-borers which will migrate to the furniture? There is something ghastly about a tree--its look of many-limbed paralysis, its shaggy and conscienceless aplomb--encountered in the open, let alone in the living room. At night, you can hear it rustling and slurping water out of the bucket.
7. The Carols
They boom and chime from the vaulted ceilings of supermarkets and discount malls--and yet the spirits keep sinking. Have our hearts grown so terribly heavy since childhood? What has happened to us? Why don't they ever play our favorites? What WERE our favorites? Tum-de-tum-tum, angels on high, something something, sky.
12. The Dark
Oh, how early it comes now! How creepy and green in the gills everyone looks, scrabbling along in drab winter wraps by the phosphorous light of department store windows full of Styrofoam snow, mockups of a factitious 1890, and beige mannequins posed with false jauntiness in plaid bathrobes. Is this Hell, or just an upturn in consumer confidence?