Dem’s Da Rules

It’s very easy: So long as you don’t hear “The Little Drummer Boy,” you’re a contender. As soon as you hear it on the radio, on TV, in a store, wherever, you’re out. And you record your loss on the official reporting form, then tell us all about it on the Facebook wall, along with the time and place of your demise.

Special notes: You cannot be done in by anyone tricking you into hearing the dreaded tune or otherwise hitting you with it on purpose. Such exposure doesn’t count. In fact, it causes the “Hoist with His Own Petard” rule to come into play: the person who tries to take you down is officially eliminated for the attempt. Don’t let them try to tell you they’re not playing. We’re all playing, and they’ve lost. Bullies need to go down in flames and shame.

New for 2017 is the “Won’t Somebody Think of the Musicians?” rule. You cannot terrorize musicians in an attempt to de-Boy their set lists ahead of a concert you’re attending. It’s very cool of Aimee Mann, Randy Newman, Jeff Tweedy, and Lo Moon to do WFUV’s Holiday Cheer benefit concert, for instance. Please don’t harass them on Twitter, say, to make them promise that they won’t play the dreaded tune. It confuses and annoys the players and violates the spirit of the game. OK, I’ll get down off my pedestal now.

New for 2018 is the “Blurred Lines” rule. It used to be that interpretations of the song counted as lethal, while parodies were safe. Now, anything with the recognizable LDB tune — even if it’s just a short sample or sequence — takes you out of the game. It’s a little tougher, but also a lot simpler. (And yes, there may still be case-by-case exceptions, but otherwise? If you recognize even a snippet of the tune, you’re a goner. So, for example, Missy Elliott‘s “Work It” does not count because she just speaks a brief puh-rum-pum-pum-pum without ever singing it. But Beck‘s “Little Drum Machine Boy” counts because it includes the tune.)

Also: After years of being asked, we’ve put together a handy list of deadly movies, TV episodes, specials, ads, and more. Learn it of you want to live, and feel free to submit anything we’re missing.

What’s the time frame? The game begins the day after Thanksgiving (Black Friday) at 12:01 am local time and continues until midnight, Dec. 23. If you haven’t been puh-rum-pum-pum-pummed, you win. For this year, anyway.

32 thoughts on “Dem’s Da Rules

  1. Hey, furthering the “don’t terrorize the musicians” rule, what if you are a musician and TLDB is on a set list for a concert in which you’re performing? If you have no control over that, should you be disqualified simply for rehearsing and playing the tune when your only other option is to quit?

    • Sadly, you have to take the hit, Marfa. Because the game is about not hearing the song as you go about your daily life (aside from tweaks such as wearing earbuds, etc.), if your daily life includes not being able to avoid it, you’re toast. It’s not pretty, I know. But it’s the world we live in.

  2. Wow! That sucks. I think Marfa et al deserve a LDB pass. I think any musician, performer, singers, bell ringer or anyone else forced to perform this appalling piece of music for the enjoyment and enhancement of others during this Christmas season should not be held accountable for somebody else’s poor taste. Not fair to those who make a living performing for others. As for the rest of us…tough shit.

  3. Does reading the pa-rum-a-pum-pums count? I read Julia Wirtz’s comic strip “Christmas Spirit” in “The Fart Party: Vol 1” and “Museum of Mistakes”, and it has them “rump-pa-pumming”.

  4. I think if you’re going to, explicitly, a Christmas Carol concert — or anywhere else where you are a captive audience — you should be exempt from that instance. The spirit as I understand it is that you must not hear it in a public context [shopping mall, grocery store, randomly wandering caroling group, etc]. Hearing it while held captive is like being herded into a stadium en masse and shot…

  5. Huh. And I was just complaining that I didn’t hear the song this year & the movie wasn’t available free. So I sang it “a little” in the car. Hehe. Does that count as a win for me, loss for peeps in car who heard me sing it?

  6. I was walking around all innocent looking at stuff at the 99cent only store and i heard Christmas music coming from the store speakers and i remembered, “oh my gosh, its that time again that little crack head bastard is gonna try to kill me and ruin my holidays”!!! Not again, not this year. Im gonna beat him again

  7. Question:
    I heard a snippet of Manheim Steamroller’s LDB, but only a few seconds of the song, and only the “Hark! There Herald Angels Sing” part of the medley. Therefore, no LDB melody, yet.
    Am I out?

  8. Has anyone made an official call as to whether the “Little Drum” track from the Charlie Brown Christmas special counts? No lyrics, and *both* the rhythm and melody are adjusted, but it’s certainly based on the hated tune. Part of me thinks that because it sounds great, it must definitionally be sufficiently removed from the Boy to be safe. The other part of me is a hard-ass and believes we all deserve to suffer and die, even when listening to the sublime stylings of Vince Guaraldi. …Guidance?

    (ACBC is one of the few Christmas albums I would listen to on purpose, start to finish, but I will preemptively nix this track if it’s going to take me out.)

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s