One of the best things about the internet is the ability to find cool friends who don’t have to live nearby.
Cool friends are great to have because they know other cool things you don’t, and they will share those cool things.
One of these cool things I’ve learned is the holiday song deathmatch that is WHAMAGEDDON.
Wham! was an 80s pop group made up of George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley. They sold about 30 million records before breaking up in 1986. One of those songs was “Last Christmas,” which has become a holiday standard since its release in 1984.
Somehow, thanks to cool people on the internet, the song has developed into a game with a simple objective: Avoid hearing the original version of “Last Christmas” at all costs.
WHAMAGEDDON lasts from Dec. 1 through Christmas Eve. If you hear “Last Christmas,” you will be WHAMMED!, and your spirit moves onto WHAMHALLA, where it will remain with Last Christmas until next Dec. 1 when WHAMAGEDDON restarts.
I am the only five-time undefeated WHAMAGEDDON champion in the world … until this year, of course.
Through skill, grace and a little bit of luck, I managed to avoid getting WHAMMED for the last five years, and I’m ready to share my secret: I never heard the song until after I learned about the game.
Since I didn’t recognize the song, there was no way I could lose. Brilliant, right? I thought so. I was secure in my invincibility even as other WHAMWarriors fought to the bitter end.
I chuckled at the posts that complained about getting WHAMMED on the second or third day in December and may have laughed out loud when I saw someone went to WHAMHALLA on Christmas Eve.
But even the mighty fall … and even a five-time, unWHAMMED specimen of internetish intelligence is subject to reality.
I was putting the Christmas tree up this year and turned on one of the seasonal music channels for background noise.
Right before I hung the stocking with care, there is was, nestled in the lower left corner:
I stood, transfixed in horror, as the song played. Here was my ending; before it even started, my secret weapon was nullified by a music video. Finally, I had to admit that I knew the song, and that my Achilles’ ear had been exposed. My kryptonite … you get the picture.
For the first time in my life, I was WHAMMORTAL. Then it hit me: I was out! I was done! The contest, for me, was over before it had even begun. It was quite the emotion going from invulnerability to WHAMMED in the space of moments.
But WAIT! Even though I was putting up my Christmas tree, it was not yet December! I was safe by several days, as WHAMAGEDDON begins Dec. 1, according to Rule #2. I ran across a cover last week, right before the week started. But Rule #3 says it’s only the original version that is dangerous. All of the cover and instrumental variants can be enjoyed.
So, for the moment — On a Wednesday afternoon, I am still safe. Holiday gatherings are coming and things have been pretty busy at work.
I’m sure this Christmas, “Last Christmas” is just around the corner. When I get to WHAMHALLA, I’ll find you — and we can hang out with my cool friends.
Blue Cole is a writer and humorist from Sharpsburg, Georgia, where he lives with four wives, one child, and various wee creatures.