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An Open Letter to Frederic Austin, Author of '12 Days'
By: Shawn Paul Wood
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Dearest Frederic, 

A few years ago — more like 232 — you penned a lovely song entitled "The 12 Days of Christmas." I'm quite certain when you finalized this masterpiece, you couldn't wait to roll it up on the scroll, put away your quill, and jot over to "your one true love" and give it to her. While that idea brings dew-eyed Yuletide lovers together, a story came out today that has me a little miffed at you. 

You see, Frederic, while you were enjoying pomp and circumstance in the kickin' 1780s, you probably didn't pause to think about the vexatious ordeal this holiday tune would put us hard-working colonial folk in today. Here's my point, sir: A press release was scribed today with the headline, "Is the Economy Feeling the Holiday Spirit: Christmas Price Index Surges 4.8 Percent in 2012." The summary of this egregious note was that your precious 12 days is going to set a brother back more than $107,000. I'm sure in your heyday this would not be an issue for you. Inevitably, Frederic, you would pawn a few of your powdered pompadour wigs and there's your cash for your true love. Today, that's a skosh difficult to come by, you pretentious fop. 

This information is called the Christmas Price Index from PNC Wealth Management, which every year tallies up the cost of the “12 Days of Christmas.” And while you may see the novelty in this empirical data, I would like to welcome you to your cherished pear tree and call those four birds to take a wealthy dump on your coiffed hair. I'm in a bind, Frederic. Where in the world am I going to get this crap? Estate sales and swap meets ain't what they used to be in the roaring 18th century. And now, I have to crawl on eBay, Craigslist, and a few other garage sales we call "websites" to find this stuff. Not to mention I need to mortgage my house and sell a kidney to pay for your adored Christmas list. Let's investigate your idea, shall we? 
  1. Extravagant thinking with the real partridge in a pear tree, two turtle doves, and three French hens. Everyone is all like, "I just love the environment" now, so trees have gone up a few bucks. However, doves and hens aren't as sexy as they used to be so it's a wash. 
  2. Frederic, didn't your woman ask you to leave well enough alone? I mean, one calling bird wasn't enough? You had to buy her four? Did it dawn on you that those effin' birds keep a sister awake? I'm not sure what you had to pay — a bucket of horse feed and a subscription to Ben Franklin's one-liners? — but today, those damn canaries cost $519.96. Appreciate ya' pal. 
  3. Despite the tree growing and all those birds chirp-chirp-CHIRPING all day, you shilled out a Mr. T welcome (Don't worry, he's a famous guy that had a cool van. Your great-great...grandkids will get to pity the fool). A gold ring for each finger. Classy, Frederic. Only gold has gone up, so that's about $750 these days. Not to worry, I can find some big air conditioner and steal the copper. It's a life a crime, but hey, it's the holidays, right?
  4. Frederic, we need to talk here. It was cute at first. Then the singing was nice until the neighbors complained, but really, what is your deal with these birds? Six geese laying eggs all over my front door stoop. Then seven swans and they are all in my pool. You're a freak, man. What makes you think I want them swimming at my house anyway? Oh yes, need I mention the colossal amount of bird poop? What kind of barn did you live in, Freddy? 
  5. I'm not sure if you were English or French, but you definitely had your mack moves going. Did your woman actually let you bring over eight maids for the show? Mine? Well, she threw my tail out of a happy home, so thanks for that. Graciously, she called me back to get rid of the ho patrol because they brought eight cows to milk. What kind of parties did you people throw 200 years ago? And just when I thought I was able to stay at home, my doorbell rings and there were nine ladies — half butt naked — dancing in my front lawn. Then, to make matters worse, I had to pay for each dance. Dude, that put me back at least $6,200! Do you have any idea what that looks like in dollar bills?! It's a mess. 
  6. Have you seen what a hungry cow can do to a sweet, innocent, and nearly brain-dead bird? Suffice to say, there's a lot to clean up...and I still haven't finished with the poop, so thanks for that. And to make matters worse, it looks like an orgy in my place what with those ne'er-do-well maids hooking up with those ten leaping lords and eleven pipers piping. And I just received a petition signed by everyone on my block wanting me evicted because frat houses are against the HOA agreement. Those poor birds. If PETA reads this letter, I hope they come find you because you and the missus must be sadists. 
  7. Seriously?! Your woman broke your heart. Did she sleep with your brother? What did this woman do? I had to cough up $2,800 per drummer drumming because it's in their rider. Each agent wants his or her cut. And the cops are parked outside because of all the noise. Drumming. Piping. Mooing. Chirping. Oh yeah, and pooping. Still! 
Frederic, my former friend, you suck out loud. You can take those 12 days, because it certainly isn't beginning to look a lot Christmas around here. I'm broke. I'm homeless. I have no job. And my woman is now shacking up with one of those stupid leaping lords because she thinks he's got the cash. Little does she know, he is a reality show star and he'll be broke in no time. 

I hate you. Merry...ah, screw it. 


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About the Author
Shawn Paul Wood is a hack-turned-flack with more than 20 years of collective journalism, copywriting and marketing communications experience. Shawn Paul is founder of Woodworks Communications in Dallas, Texas. If you need him, ping him here or follow him on Twitter @ShawnPaulWood
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