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Twas the Night Before Christmas, at 60 State Street

Written by: Matt Marshall

With apologies to Clement Moore or to whomever was the original author, that authorship having been recently disputed by persons with nothing better to do. Resemblances to any person, living or dead, although slyly hinted at, are merely co-incidental, since this is a work of some fiction.

Twas the night before Christmas, at 60 State Street,
Game ads weren’t yet running, e-commerce was beat,
And Ad Ops had gone to The Place for some fun,
While Suzanne, Tucc and Carly had gone for a run.

And Yimones’ two crickets wore tiny red bows,
While the Zombie had tinsel coming out of his nose,
And I at my desk, drunk on Chalson’s aged booze,
Was trying real hard not to snore or to snooze.

When in Ivory Watchtower there arose such a brawl,
I woke up with a “What!?” and ran down the hall,
Past the closed elevators and Lea’s neat desk,
I flailed like an actor too old for burlesque.

The moon shining in over Faneuil Hall,
Shone on moldering lunches that would Saita appall,
When my eyes barely open, as if looking thru slats,
Saw a Red Flyer wagon pulled by nine howling cats.

With a wizened young leader, hair swept back and slick,
I knew in a moment it was Old Alt Ric.
As fake reindeer antlers on feline heads came,
He cursed them, cajoled them and called them by name!

“Now Denton! Now Tregoe! Now Ezzat! Now Sandell!
On Mohring! On Marsland! On Ward, Lau and Carrol!
We need more ad networks, never let the MAU fall!
Now advertise! Advertise! Advertise all!”

As small random motions sometimes seem in sync,
And opposites though hateful together can link,
So into the break room the herded cats flew,
With the red loaded wagon and Old Alt Ric too.

And then, in a twinkling, as I crossed the big room,
Heard the cats hissy fitting, their mouths spewing spume,
As I stuck in my head, and was looking around,
On a big break room table Alt Ric jumped with a bound.

He was dressed in a hoodie and shorts from J. Crew,
Had a phone to each ear and a phablet quite new,
A sack full of Oz stuff he’d just dropped on the floor,
Full of Tinmen and Scarecrows and Munchkins and more!

His eyes – how far focused! His Androids kept ringing!
He talked really fast, his sales pitches mingling,
His droll twisted mouth now with little smiles cracks,
As he dreams of new clients signing annual contracts.

Then he made some more calls while he searched for some nosh,
Screamed “I’ve got an idea!” Where’s Zegel?” “Where’s Josh?”
He had a wry face, and his laugh was all whoops,
And he swayed like a windsurfer setting up for pushloops.

He was skinny and hale, the high priest of us geeks,
And I laughed when I saw him, and his unshaven cheeks!
A wink of his eye as our fridge he unloaded,
Soon gave me to know he was like we who coded.

He was spare with his words, had no time to carouse,
As he schemed to get advertisers to bring it in house,
Mumbling “push programmatic and deep data dives”,
To which Dewey and Dan gave balletic high fives.

Then they all left for London, New York and San Fran,
Seattle and Singapore, flying fast as fast can,
And I heard him exclaim, o’er the Post Office clock,
“Happy Holidays to all! Hey, Nanigans, you rock!

The Legend of Old Alt Ric

“Alt Ric” is thought to be a corruption of “Aldric,” a Visigoth god worshipped in the Roman province of Hispania in the 5th century AD.  Aldric was the god of beer and wine, and the fir tree was sacred to him.  After conversion to Christianity, worship of Aldric continued among the peasantry in the backwaters of northern Spain.  His rites (public drunkenness and general frivolity) were celebrated on the winter solstice.  At some point during the Middle Ages, Aldric worship became conflated with the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and hence “Alt Ric” became the Christmas spirit celebrated with the cutting down of trees and the drinking of beer and wine and general having of good times.  The Catholic Church tried to suppress the worship of “Alt Ric” during the Inquisition (16th century), and the celebration of “Alt Ric” went underground for hundreds of years before resurfacing in its modern form in the 19th century.


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