Many writers might take the time to write about their favorite Christmases or funny things that happened during the holiday season. But, for better or worse, I am not other writers. Hell, I even question whether I am writer and simply pulling the wool over your collective eyes with more flash than substance. And, once again, I digress (This is a common thing in my head, getting off the subject. I think my former students could all attest to that during lecture days.).
Let’s get back on track here. Let’s go back to Christmas 1981. At the moment, I am wrapping up the first three weeks of my second quarter at Ball State. In keeping with my nerdy image, I am still not dating anyone at the moment. So, a bunch of us guys in the dormitory decided to have a white elephant party. You know, looking back the party isn’t even the big story. Neither was the fact that we bought a bubble keg, wrapped up the box it was in, and got it by the dorm monitors even though the package was obviously “sweating.” And my floor RA even made that exact comment! Something like, “Guys, your package is sweating!” And we thought we were sly.
No, that’s not the story either. Not the inappropriate smut gifts, the children’s Christmas album I received, nor the stupid lighted Christmas bowtie someone got. And, I can’t say that the story was all the empty pizza box lids we were drunkenly sliding up and down the hall on. No, the story is about a young man who actually grew up to be a Resident Advisor in a dorm at Ball State, and his brilliant decision to adhere to a new diet by eating cream of mushroom soup instead of pizza. Of course, this man is NOT me nor will I identify him. But, what was about to transpire was both out of character for him, AND took a few weeks for the whole thing to unravel.
That night, our hero finished off his soup and placed his cup on the desk of the room we were in and started to drink with the rest of us. Since we were partying in the room that was well-known as the dirtiest room in the dorm, no one thought twice about leaving our trash laying around. You see, the two gentlemen named Ron and Rusty never had any exposed floor in their room. And, not because they had wall-to-wall carpeting. Nope! It was because those guys NEVER did laundry that first few months of college. There was even a mud-dried pair of jeans standing in the corner from the dorm football game in the bowl in front of the building on the day of the first snowfall a month earlier. Yes, that room was disgusting! Then, a few days later, we all went on break.
Three weeks later, we arrived back to Ball State, ready for what laid ahead of us. But, something was amiss whenever you walked past Ron and Rusty’s room. There was a stench like we had never experienced before and, let me add, even after two boys and three grandchildren, ever after. But I knew in my heart that there was a reason for this malodorous smell emanating from their room. My fraternity little brother and I, both microbiology majors, suspecting the growth of something in their dirty clothes.
For the next several days, Ron and Rusty did a very long overdue deep cleaning of their room. Over those days, which stretched out to weeks, they did the laundry, cleaned out everything. But, the pungent odor remained.
As we moved into the third week of the mysterious odor, the young men began to clean off their desks. When they moved their large and heavy tube TV, they finally discovered the source. Sitting behind that old black-and-white 70s-era TV was the cup that contained the remnants of mushroom soup as it was now the growth medium for a nice Penicillium species of fungus. This was the first occasion for my Little Bro Tim and me to use our newfound microbiology knowledge to identify a microorganism. This fungus can be found on moldy bread and oranges and does produce a chemical that you may remember as the first antibiotic called penicillin. But, man, when it has a month to growth, this fungus can be quite the smelly organism. Needless to say, Ron and Rusty bagged that Cup o’ Fungi and threw it away. Then they sanitized the desk, and the world was right again.
Regardless of the odor, that remains one of my favorite Christmas holiday memories. And, that is something which could have only happened in a guy’s dorm. At least, I thought that until I really began to hang out in the girls’ rooms that second half of the year. Most of what I learned in college had very little to do with microbiology and medical technology, my two majors.
Now, on with the countdown!
300. Khruangbin – “Christmas Time Is Here” (2018)
299. DNCE – “Christmas Without You” (2017)
298. Jimmy Eat World – “Last Christmas” (2001)
297. The Treacherous Three – “Santa’s Rap” (1984)
296. Meg & Dia – “December, Darling” (2019)
295. Tegan & Sara – “The Chipmunk Song (Don’t Be Late)” (2010)
294. Rufus Wainwright & Sharon Van Etten – “Baby, It’s Cold Outside” (2012)
293. Mariah Carey, Khalid & Kirk Franklin – “Fall in Love at Christmas” (2021)
292. Lisa Loeb – “Champagne (I’m Ready)” (2015)
291. Sinead O’Connor – “Silent Night” (1991)
290. moe. – “Christmas Together” (2002)
289. Boney M – “Mary’s Boy Child/O My Lord” (1978)
288. John Denver & The Muppets – “We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (1979)
287. Train – “Shake Up Christmas” (2012)
286. Clarence Reid – “Winter Man” (1974)
285. Tyler, The Creator – “I Am the Grinch” (2018)
284. Colbie Caillat – “Christmas in the Sand” (2012)
283. Bob Seger & the Last Herd – “Sock It to Me Santa” (1966)
282. Zooey Deschanel & Ingrid Michaelson – “Merry Christmas, Happy New Year” (2018)
281. Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings – “Ain’t No Chimneys in the Ghetto” (2009)
280. Marshall Crenshaw – “(It’s Going to Be A) Lonely Christmas” (1992)
279. Frankie Goes to Hollywood – “The Power of Love” (1984)
278. Cyndi Lauper – “Christmas Conga” (1998)
277. Tuxedo – “Wonderful Christmastime” (2014)
276. Cheap Trick – Remember Christmas” (2017)
275. The Sonics – “Don’t Believe in Christmas” (1965)
274. Little Steven – “Merry Christmas (I Don’t Want to Fight Tonight)” (2017)
273. Marvin Gaye – “Purple Snowflakes” (1992)
272. Smokey Robinson feat. The Dap-Kings – “You’re My Present” (2017)
271. New Kids on the Block – “This One’s for the Children” (1989)
270. Lily Allen – “Somewhere We Only Know” (2014)
269. H.E.R. – “Christmas Time Is Here” (2019)
268. Band Aid 30 – “Do They Know It’s Christmas?” (2014)
267. Carly Rae Jepson – “It’s Not Christmas Till Someone Cries” (2020)
266. Eazy-E – “Merry Muthafuckin’ Christmas” (1992)
265. Twisted Sister – “Oh Come All Ye Faithful” (2006)
264. Christina Perri – “merry christmas darling” (2013)
263. Louis Armstrong & the Commanders – “Cool Yule” (1953)
262. Amy Grant – “My Grown-Up Christmas List” (1992)
261. Relient K – “12 Days of Christmas” (2003)
260. No Doubt – “Oi to the World” (1997)
259. Linda Ronstadt – “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” (2000)
258. Jimmy Durante – “Frosty the Snowman” (1969)
257. Green Day – “Xmas Time of the Year” (2019)
256. Band of Merrymakers – “Snow Snow Snow” (2015)
255. The Free Design – “Close Your Mouth (It’s Christmas)” (1968)
254. AC/DC – “Mistress for Christmas” (1990)
253. Sufjan Stevens – “Come On! Let’s Boogey to the Elf Dance” (2006)
252. John Denver – “Christmas for Cowboys” (1975)
251. Pentatonix – “Mary, Did You Know?” (2014)
And that’s the countdown for today. Only 250 (Hahaha!) modern Christmas songs to go!