The Washington Post

The Day Before Christmas: A Worker's Lament

A tribute in verse to the few, the proud — the people who came to work Christmas Eve.

‘TWAS THE DAY before Christmas, and all through the city,
Workers were anxious; the result wasn’t pretty.

Their heads were hung at their desks in despair,
Since most of the folks in the office weren’t there.
Employees burrowed and shrunk in their cubes,
Looking at Facebook, Gawker and YouTube.

The bosses had left on vacation, you see.
But they kindly told all they could get out by 3.
When the time finally came, there arose such a clatter
As pencils flew wildly and coffee mugs shattered.

Away to the Metro, they flew in a flash.
They’d misplaced their SmarTrip, but had enough cash.
They leapt for the trains so lively and quick
They bumped other riders who cried, “Don’t be a [jerk]!”

As the doors finally closed, the conductor’s voice came
And she scratchily called out the stations by name:
“Now Archives! Now Suitland! Now Capitol South!
… Hey, those best not be French fries in your mouth!”

With iPods and cell phones and pagers in tow,
Riders chattered and clattered in neat orange rows.
Finally, the brakes, they set in with a whistle,
As people standing like packed sardines bristled.

And the workers’ eyes brightened as they each reached their stops.
Till they realized their next move: The mall. To shop.

Adapted from a post originally published Dec. 21, 2007
Capitol Christmas tree by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images

Greg Barber is The Post's director of digital news projects. Find him on Twitter at @gjbarb.



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