—Christmas is almost down our throats.
December 24, 2021 5:55 AM   Subscribe

Christmas Eve, 1955, Benny Profane, wearing black levis, suede jacket, sneakers and big cowboy hat, happened to pass through Norfolk, Virginia.

Given to sentimental impulses, he thought he’d look in on the Sailor’s Grave, his old tin can’s tavern on East Main Street. He got there by way of the Arcade, at the East Main end of which sat an old street singer with a guitar and an empty Sterno can for donations. Out in the street a chief yeoman was trying to urinate in the gas tank of a ‘54 Packard Patrician and five or six seamen apprentice were standing around giving encouragement. The old man was singing, in a fine, firm baritone:

Every night is Christmas Eve on old East Main,
Sailors and their sweethearts all agree.
Neon signs of red and green
Shine upon the friendly scene,
Welcoming you in from off the sea.
Santa’s bag is filled with all your dreams come true:
Nickel beers that sparkle like champagne,
Barmaids who all love to screw,
All of them reminding you
It’s Christmas Eve on old East Main.
--Thomas Pynchon, V.

Plus: A Gravity's Rainbow Christmas, with Christmas bugs, Jamaican rum, and an old abandoned church
[the full scene]

In short: Thomas Pynchon wishes you a Merry Christmas!
posted by chavenet (7 comments total) 15 users marked this as a favorite
Best. Present. Ever.

(Thank you)
posted by thivaia at 6:06 AM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

Sahha, 2021...
posted by YoungStencil at 6:56 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Thank you, chavenet.
posted by doctornemo at 7:17 AM on December 24, 2021 [1 favorite]

Ah, those sentences!

Tonight's scratch choir was all male, epauletted shoulders visible under the wide necks of the white robes, and many faces nearly as white with the exhaustion of soaked and muddy fields, midwatches, cables strummed by the nervous balloons sunfishing in the clouds, tents whose lights inside shone nuclear at twilight, soullike, through the crosshatched walls, turning canvas to fine gauze, while the wind drummed there.
posted by doctornemo at 7:17 AM on December 24, 2021 [5 favorites]

I think I am overdue another read through Mason & Dixon. It is his most Christmassy novel. And yes, those sentences...
posted by YoungStencil at 7:23 AM on December 24, 2021 [3 favorites]

A Pynchon thread! Tengo que get el fuck into aqui.

Mason & Dixon is definitely what I think of when I think of Pynchon and Christmas. That opening scene is some deeply cozy shit. Alas, the weather here, while never all that cold in December, is a downright mockery of winter this year, so I won't be swilling coffee and sipping whisky by the fire as I nod off over that finest of testaments to friendship.

I bought rum earlier, but opted for Barbados rum. I kinda regret it now due to the Pynchon connection mentioned above, but only a bit; after all, Barbados did just tell that hoary old passel of inbred parasites known as the British monarchy to hit the bricks, and that deserves my financial support.

Time to see if Zapf's has any last-minute books to give to last-minute Christmas guests. Almost down our throats, indeed.
posted by heteronym at 1:57 PM on December 24, 2021 [2 favorites]

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