Hello, people of the internet!
You may be wondering, “What a weird title for a post! And what a weird confession for Gemma to say too.” You’d be correct on both statements. I haven’t done a very Christmassy post this month and I haven’t read anything really Christmassy.
So, I thought, why not tell my own Christmassy story? One about me and how an inside joke with my friends whilst at University became a piece of silly poetry?
It all began at Halloween in 2014. My friends had asked me what I was going to dress up as for Halloween. I wasn’t going to a party, but I gave an answer anyway.
I jokingly replied, “A shrimp.”
I had meant ‘shrimp’ as in a ‘small person’. Back in secondary school and sixth form (education for 16-18 years old for those who don’t know), I was one of the smallest in my year. Only when I started University, my friends were about my height. So when I said I was going to dress up as a shrimp, they thought I meant the animal.
We had a good giggle at that as well as a small discussion on where one could possibly get a shrimp costume in the first place – ‘the internet’ was our best answer.
Halloween came and went and, at some point, my friends found out I didn’t dress up at all.
“What happened to the shrimp costume?” they asked.
“I didn’t have time,” I replied, “But I’ll dress up as a shrimp for Christmas to make up for it. I’ll be the Christmas Shrimp.”
That was how my nickname ‘The Christmas Shrimp’ was born. This led to me drawing many doodles of a shrimp wearing a Santa hat, smiling as it gave presents. At that time, I thought the Christmas Shrimp was only going to be a doodle.
I was wrong.
Two years, Christmas 2015 was on its way. I decided to go to a Christmas party the English Literature and Creative Writing department set up every year. At their parties, people can go on stage and perform. They can read out a piece of their writing, sing a song or play an instrument. There were prizes, some normal prizes and extremely weird prizes too, for the best ones.
I hadn’t gone to the last two. To be perfectly honest, I was too shy and I could imagine myself just standing there, anxious with the noises and crowds, just wanting to go home. I didn’t even think about actually going up onstage to read out something I wrote. To be put it in the best way I can, I didn’t think anyone would be interested in what I wrote.
But, by now, I was in my last year of university. I wanted to celebrate my time there and I wanted to showcase my creative writing somehow, even if the very idea of sharing it made me what to run away and hide away in a corner. I was in a English Language with Creative Writing course; I had to show that I learnt something!
So, naturally, I decided to write a silly poem about the Christmas Shrimp. Because why not? I told my friends and they said it was a great idea. They were coming to the party as well, so I knew I wasn’t going alone.
When I saw my creative writing tutor about my assignment, he showed me one of the weird prizes someone could win at the party.
It was a radio-controlled tarantula. A massive one too. I did say there were some weird prizes.
“Are you going to the party?” he asked.
“Yeah, I am. I’m also going to read out a poem I wrote,” I replied. He smiled at that – I guess because I rarely spoke, especially in public places – and asked what it was about.
As I thought to myself “Oh God, what the hell am I doing?” I said to him, “A shrimp that wants to celebrate Christmas.”
He simply stared at me bewildered.
“Don’t worry, it’s meant to be stupid,” I said quickly. God knows why I said that, but believe me, I was inwardly regretting saying anything at all. Yes, it was a very silly idea. But it was meant to be and I thought it would be a great laugh with my friends.
Luckily, he saw it that way too and we continued talking through my assignment.
A few days after, it was time for the party to start. The room was filled to the brim with people and it was dark with party lights flicking on and off, blinding me every time. The Christmas music and loud chattering of people blended together into something similar to white noise. Normally, I would have hated the overwhelming mayhem of it all, but I was focused (and nervous) about going up and reading a poem that I wasn’t too sure the majority of the group would even like! I knew my friends would – it was our inside joke – but I have to say the uncertainty of how it was going to turn out made me feel nauseous.
After we had a drink or two and a quick chat, the tutors went on stage and explained this year’s prizes and categories. Prizes included the aforementioned radio-controlled tarantula, wine, a troll mask, etc. Then they announced the categories, which included ‘best performed’, ‘best dressed’, ‘most chins scratched’ (as in it made you think about it deeply) and ‘best poem about a shrimp’.
Yes. ‘Best poem about a shrimp’.
I wasn’t expecting that. Neither did my friends and we all laughed at it. If anything, it made me calmer about reading out my poem later on. I couldn’t help but giggle even more when I thought I heard someone said in a slightly perplexed tone, “Did he say ‘shrimp’?”
After some amazing musical performances, stand-up comedy and poetry reading, it was my turn to go up onstage.
I read out my poem, which went like this:
Life is extremely busy, for both humans and wildlife
Albeit in different ways, it ends with the afterlife
A miserable fact to say the least
Yet for humans, a wonderful trend was released
A time for singing, eating and sharing gifts
Where people gather, away the hostility shifts
In this tale, there is a creature in a faraway place
Where death is rife, in any case
This thing is not a sprite, an elf or an imp
Instead it is simply the Christmas Shrimp
A tiny thing in the big ocean blue
A thing that wanted to do something new
“We shrimp only live for a year or so,
I wanna do something big before I go!”
“That’s stupid!” yelled the other shrimp, “That’s not what we do!”
We must swim a bit, eat all day through!
Then we mate and have loads of kids,
If we’re lucky, we’ll get eaten by squids!”
“I know we must, but for me? Not today,
I’ll celebrate Christmas, I mustn’t delay!”
“You sound like a human that means you’re thick!
Selfish and stupid, go away, you dick!”
You see, for shrimp, human hatred is an obligatory thing
They once got #BlameHumans trending
There they left the Christmas Shrimp alone
He frowned a little, they are all he’s ever known
But what they said he had to disagree
So he went off to get a Christmas tree
Not quite a tree, more like a stick
But wrap it up in kelp, that’ll do the trick!
Once it was up, the Shrimp made a hat
A little Santa one at that!
He got little pebbles and decorated the tree
As he did so he filled with glee
Once he was finished, he made a gift
But then he knew, there was no one to give
He learnt that Christmas was a gathering
All alone, there was simply nothing
Suddenly, another shrimp arrived
Held up a gift and said, “Let’s get this party revived!”
Soon more shrimps swam up and stayed awhile
They chatted and laughed, not one was hostile
Then arrived the last shrimp, the one who called our friend a dick
Swam up to the Christmas Shrimp, and said he had a think
“We all don’t have long, so let’s have fun
It’ll be different than all we’ve ever done
You were right when you said we only have a year or so
So, let’s have a truce…I still hate you though”
And so that’s the tale of the Christmas Shrimp
Nothing like a sprite, an elf or an imp
An illogical one where shrimps can chatter chitter
Celebrate holidays, swear and go on Twitter
But since this poem used a lot of stamina
I think this writer deserves a radio controlled tarantula.
I wasn’t expecting a huge round of applause.
I wasn’t expecting laughter at the funny moments.
I wasn’t even expecting cheering when I read out the line ‘Instead it is simply the Christmas Shrimp’.
When I stepped offstage, I got high fives and fist bumps and, when I finally got to my seat, my friends were saying it was really funny. During the evening, I got people I never met before going up to me, saying my poem was hilarious and asking where I got the idea from.
It didn’t come to a surprise when I was announced the winner of the ‘best poem about a shrimp’ category. I got my radio-controlled tarantula.
It ended up having one of the best nights’ out I ever had. It’s been a year since that party, and I still remember how most fun it was.
I wanted to tell this story because it ended up being an important life lesson. All this fun was all made possible because I decided to show off my writing, something I have loved doing ever since I could write, even though I was terrified. I’ve learnt it’s okay to be nervous about showing other people your creative talents, and that once you’ve decided to show it despite being nervous, it can end up being one of best moments in your life.
I started my blog this year. To be honest, I was nervous in the same way I was nervous about my Christmas Shrimp poem.
Well here I am, on my blog, telling you about the Christmas Shrimp.
I hope you’ve enjoyed my little Christmassy story on ‘My Friday Thoughts’. I don’t write poetry, and it’s not the best poem in the world, but I’m still glad to have written The Christmas Shrimp!
Feel free to leave a comment!
Thank you for reading!
P.S. I still have that tarantula. I’ve called him Tony.