‘Twas the Night


By Neil Offen

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the town

not a hashtag was liked, even Twitter was down.

The stockings were hung for the retina display

in hopes no ‘net trolls would take them away.

The children were nestled, all snug and secure,

while Big Data strip-mined their free FICO score.


Alexa kept our devices all perfectly humming

while Amazon’s Echo said, of course, Santa’s coming.

The USB ports were all ready to boom  

as we prepared for the evening’s 23rd Zoom.

Our new search engine was completely optimized

even though we’ve no idea what that really signified.


Our Fitbit was running and Netflix was streaming,

young children everywhere were pleasantly dreaming

of toys and gifts that would become a new meme,

of toys and gifts that’d be the crème de la cream.


We livestreamed and crowdsourced to Kickstart our night

and logged on to Squarespace to set up our site.

We ran Kaspersky and cleaned the plasma screen,

we signed on to Skype to transmit the whole scene.

We downloaded a number of total killer apps —

our mobile devices never suffered a lapse.

We chatted on WhatsApp to find out what’s up;

with our VPN firewall, no need for backup.


We scanned news on Reddit and opened Spotify.

We didn’t even log off when the server went awry.

We still had Safari and even Google Chrome.

And of course there was Foursquare we could call home.


Our Instagram pix were almost all ready

while our 5G LTE was amazingly steady.

We took 50 selfies and saved them to Pinterest.

We uploaded to Dropbox the ones that were the best.

We checked our Facebook page and scanned the Huff Post,

we raised our Tumblrs and made a hearty toast.

We danced and sang and walked on tiptoe

and paid for our indulgence with a bit of crypto.

As we signaled and snapchatted all through the night,

we made sure our terminology was finally just right.


Then on the back deck, beside the satellite dish,

there came a loud sound and we knew something was amiss.

Was it a drone or a sneaky photobomb

or an IPO launch by a unicorn dotcom?

So I went to my Roku to check out the clatter,

to see if something was wrong with my data.

When what to my pixel-ated eyes should appear,

but a mixed-media sleigh and eight remote-controlled reindeer.

I knew in an instant after checking my OS,

that Santa was here, and in some distress.

And then in a twinkling I saw from my futon,

that poor old St. Nick didn’t have his red suit on.


His eyes were all watery, his emoji a frown.

He said, with a grimace, his WiFi was down.

There will be no gifts tonight, he added apace —

“I have no spreadsheets, nor my database!”


Santa couldn’t do it? There would be such a lack.

Were we the new victims of the latest Russian hack?


Could we find a way through this terrible mess?

Could we find a way without our GPS?

We thought of creating a new avatar

or getting FedEx from a self-driving car.

The whole scene had become incredibly eerie,

at this point we couldn’t even count on dear Siri.


Then we heard from someone who used to read Wired,

from someone who was no longer high-tech inspired.

Santa, we were told, could do it by hand.

He wasn’t a slave of a high-frequency band.

He didn’t need the Cloud or to send a new text.

He didn’t need high-def or whatever comes next.

All he’d need was a big sack and a big hearty laugh.

He wouldn’t need 10 megagigs — not even half.


His eyes, how they twinkled, his smile gleamed so brightly!

His bandwidth was solid, his GIFs were quite sprightly.

He sprang to his sleigh, the reindeer came near.

He blasted Sirius XM while still in first gear.

I heard him exclaim as he cruised out of sight,

“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good byte.”

Carrboro resident Neil Offen has written humor pieces for a number of different publications, in a number of different countries. His column appears twice monthly in The Local Reporter.

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