Although there exists a fair amount of embellishment under the guise of poetic license, this story actually occured as related to me by Mr. Karras.
Never was the spirit of Christmas more revered than at Trenton State and this was largely due to the participation of Theta Nu Sigma. Formed as a music fraternity in 1929 by the thirteen original brothers, they regaled the campus with carols for over thirty years. They sallied forth delighting the inhabitants of the dorms and the faculty starting around 11:00PM and hitting their finale around three in the morning. And they did this for ten consecutive nights leading up to Christmas break. Imagine the devotion and stamina such regimen demands. Some of them even kept up with their classes. Where are such troubadours today?
Not at Trenton. At least not in the memory bank of anyone under ninety. Except for the winter of ’63 (“or was it ’64 or ’65? or some other year?”, mumbled Karras) when our noble ensemble made a comeback – of sorts. It will be relived in stories more vivid than the founding brothers could ever have imagined.
The professional level of musicality had ominously been supplanted by students with a far wider range of aptitudes. Majors now in business, speech, and woodshop. Skills honed in sports, comedy, barroom banter, and womanizing. But for a brief moment in time, the melody and harmonizing of a Theta Nu choir would resonate once again.
Allen Circle, amply decorated, had always been the center stage for for the holiday festivities. The Theta Nus, as had become their custom, provided the tree. Perhaps extracted from a hedge row on Federal City Road. A beauty of a Douglas Fir plucked out that left the rest of the row looking like a giant grin missing its front tooth (1973). Or maybe transplanted from the front of the Lawrenceville Police Station (1971). Or did they decide that the White Pine adorning the lawn of the College President’s residence had outlived its tenure there (1964)? No matter, the tree was in place and the rest of the inter-fraternity/sorority council would coordinate its dressing. This was as it should be for if left to these “Blue Gooses”, no doubt the ornaments would be festooned with condoms, tampons, and beer cans.
The Greek organizations gathered their most talented for a night of festival around the tree. Skits, ballads, and sing-a-longs provided merry entertainment for the attendees. It had been well advertised and many faculty members and parents attended. Among them Theta Nu’s faculty advisor John and Annie Karras. The brothers of Theta Nu were scheduled to promote the Christmas spirit like they used to.
They formed a circle as they had done hundreds of times before in celebration of their brotherhood. Now they could showcase their talents in front of the entire community. Their choice of song – The Twelve Days of Christmas.
Theta Nu style.
A reverential hush swept over the crowd while the music director set the tone with his pitch pipe. It is noteworthy to surmise that, since a dreadful lack of musicality was evident in this ensemble, the pitch pipe was predominantly for show. But still, they managed an admirable attempt at harmony.
“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…” And then as the onlookers prepared to join in. …”a douche bag in a pear tree”.
The effect was stunning. Had everyone heard wrong? Did they not know the right words? It’s a “partridge in a pear tree”. Certainly they sang “partridge”. Didn’t they? Huh? Didn’t they?
“On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me…” Karras held his breath. “Two turds a’floatin’ and a douche bag in a pear tree.” He no longer held his breath. He stopped breathing altogether in hopes that Annie suddenly lost her sense of hearing.
Annie’s face froze with a reddish blush of astonishment…and embarrassment…and enragement! How would she face the other faculty wives later that evening? Mr. Karras, who normally just feigned annoyance of Theta Nu shenanigans behind a subtle smirk, blew through the effects of his blood pressure medication.
On the third day of Christmas my true love coughed up “three twats a’twitchin’ “surplanted immediately by the “four f**kers f**kin’.” And, of course, the now familiar douche bag in a pear tree.
And then the bridge: “Five pubic hair..air…air…airs.”
Fathers cupped their daughters ears. Women of good breeding gasped. Professors vowed to fail anyone complicit in this blasphemy. Coeds giggled. Security (at that time comprised of only 80 year-old “Pop the Cop”) quietly retreated.
On the sixth day of Christmas the “six sexy sexpots” afforded a momentary sigh of relief. Maybe the rest of my true love’s gifts would be a bit more toned down. Then again, maybe not! The “seven syphalletic sisters” accompanied the departure of many solid citizens before the “eight ejaculating elephants” encouraged more than one parent to stop payment on their tuition check.
“Five pubic hair…air…air…airs!”
“You sons of bitches!”, Karras muttered to himself. He could relish his verbal jousting with Dean Pruitt. With the inter-fraternity council. With the Ewing police. But Annie’s displeasure? This pushed the envelope.
When the “nine nymphie nymphos” made their debut, the crowd had noticeably thinned, leaving a more liberal-minded audience that could enjoy the artistic nature of this performance. Even Karras, by this point, was fighting back a faint smile even though the “ten tantalizing titties” was bound to unleash the wrath of Dean Pruitt who would predictably summon him the next morning with shrieks of “off with their heads!’
Curiously enough, the remaining audience suddenly began to chime in after the “eleven emasculated eunuchs”and and by the time “My true love gave to me “Twelve testy Trojans”, a round of applause endured the countdown back through the “five pubic hairs” to the now-obligatory “douche-bag in a pear tree”.
And so Christmas, (as everything else in life) for the Theta Nus, would never be the same.