“So you cover it up, pretend it isn’t happening. Or else you wallow in it, like it’s a game where you get ten points for each rejection and whoever is the most miserable wins.” –Tabitha “Boom-Boom” Smith
There I was on December 2, settled in behind a table at Pixie’s Intent and merrily autographing copies of Virgo Witch as part of the shop’s annual Holiday Market. “Christmas Wrapping” by the Waitresses was playing on the overhead, and since it is my favorite Yuletide carol of all time, I took it as a sign of glad tidings to come.
Oh, my loyal Clutterbuckaroos. I was misled.
An hour or so into the event, one of Pixie’s employees came over to chat with me.
“I really loved your book,” she said.
“I am so happy to hear that,” I replied.
“I guess I was a shoulder to cry on,” George Michael crooned maliciously from the sound system.
Y’all. In all my years of playing Whamageddon, I have never been taken out so quickly.
In case you’re unfamiliar with this particular pre-Solstice festivity, here’s how Whamageddon works:
- The goal is to go as long as possible without hearing the 1984 single “Last Christmas” by English pop duo Wham!.
- The game begins at 12:00 a.m. on December 1 and lasts until 11:59 p.m. on December 24.
- Only the original song is to be avoided. Covers and instrumentals are fine.
- You’re out as soon as you recognize the song, at which point you are sent to Whamhalla.
I usually make it through mid December before wandering into the wrong Barnes and Noble, although last year, I got whammed at work, after a flurry of “Last Christmas” homages (by Carly Rae Jepsen, Ariana Grande, Jimmy Eat World, and the cast of Glee, respectively) ushered me into a false sense of security. Only lasting 41 hours in this year’s competition is, without a doubt, a personal worst.
There is, however, a shiny upside to my devastating loss, in that I can spend the rest of the month playing Reverse Whamageddon instead.
There are more rules to Reverse Whamageddon than there are to Whamageddon, but one could argue that the extra guidelines actually contribute to seasonal cheer. They are as follows:
Players must try to hear “Last Christmas” as many times as possible.
The timeframe is the same as Whamageddon (December 1 through December 24).
Only the original version of “Last Christmas” grants points (which is frankly unfair AF, considering that Meghan Trainor’s version is playing as I write this).
Players receive 10 points every time they recognize the original version of the song.
Players may post #ReverseWhamageddon on social media whenever they score points and should post their final tally on December 25.
Players can send the song to friends to prank them with extra points.
Players do not get points for purposely playing the song for themselves. It only counts if you hear the song out in the wild.
Like Whamageddon proper, I maintain that Reverse Whamageddon is Discordian in nature, and both are more than appropriate to play around Afflux, as we reflect on what went right and wrong over the past year. In fact, Reverse Whamageddon is a celebration of things we can’t control — instead of letting those things knock us down, we can reward ourselves every time they bring us joy.
I’ve only earned twenty points so far this season, since the Universe seems to be finding humor in denying me more than a pittance of “Last Christmas” encounters. But my BFF Mike is racking up points left and right, barreling into shopping malls and Hallmark stores to catch every snippet he can of his own favorite holiday song. And while I can’t even pretend to love “Last Christmas” as much as he does, I can at least support him in his quest to become Reverse Whamageddon Grand Champion. It’s the Erisian thing to do.
Incidentally, as I was leaving the Market, “Little Saint Nick” by the Beach Boys came on, which is undeniably the most loathsome jingle to ever contaminate the airwaves. (“ChRiStMaS cOmEs ThIs TiMe EaCh YeAr…” NO SHIT, BEACH BOYS.) But if “Christmas Wrapping” was the herald of a really good day, then “Little Saint Nick” was the signal that said day was approaching sundown, and I was happy to accept it as such.
The aforementioned track just blared through the spicy shop’s Spotify account, followed by the Pet Shop Boys‘ “It Doesn’t Often Snow at Christmas” and Erasure’s “She Won’t Be Home (Lonely Christmas).”
It’s an Afflux miracle. Hail Eris. Hail Aftermath. Hail Malaclypse the Elder. Hail Book of Love. Hail “Last Christmas.” And to all a fnord night.