The Night Before Christmas (New Data)


1     ‘Twas the night before Christmas and down in the lab,

2     I had B-12, our android, laid out on the slab.


3     I worked at his circuits with tremendous care,

4     As these were the ones that made 12 self-aware.


5     When all of a sudden, he lifted his head,

6     “Yanna, what’s ‘the true meaning of Christmas’?” he said.


7     I gawped for a moment and dropped several screws,

8     (I’d half settled my brain for a long winter’s snooze),


9     And caught on the spot I just started to bluff,

10    “Well it’s turkey, and Santa, and presents and stuff…”


11    12 pushed himself up, cocked his head to the left,

12    (His human-like mannerisms are eerily deft),


13    “I’m not talking about things that bring humans cheap thrills,

14    I mean the “true meaning”, like they have in the films.”


15    I realised there’s no library in the laboratory,

16    And so I told 12 the nativity story.


17    He listened enraptured (as that’s how he’s coded),

18    And copies of biblical texts were downloaded.


19    But even in spite of the memory used,

20    12 shook his head and appeared quite confused.


21    “I’m still not quite sure that I understand fully,

22    Which one was Jesus in Love Actually?”


23    “Well not all Christmas films feature Jesus or God,

24    In fact, very few do.” “But isn’t that odd?”


25    “If the baby’s the meaning, what’s the other stuff for?”

26    “Well, it’s not just the baby.” “Oh really, there’s more?”


27    I tried to explain about different traditions,

28    And how they’d evolved over years of rendition,


29    And then in a twinkling I had an idea,

30    Phoned for my lab partner Hal to appear.


31    He turned up in a flash with his children and wife,

32    And we sat down to watch It’s A Wonderful Life,


33    With mince pies and ice cream and sprinkles and sherry,

34    (Hal and his family know how to make merry).


35    And after the film we picked the kids’ brains.

36    “Is the meaning of Christmas something you can explain?”


37    Six year old Jonathan gave his best shot,

38    “It’s when people help other people a lot.”


39    While Julie, his sister, said “You have to love others,”

40    “And you’ve got to be kind, even to your brother…”


41    “…And also it’s Santa and turkey and presents.”

42    I sighed to myself, at this turn of events.


43    “Oh gosh, don’t confuse him – that’s right where we started!”

44    But the children were playing with 12, all light-hearted.


45    They decided to dress him like a sparkly elf,

46    And I laughed when I saw him in spite of myself!


47    While Hal thought that his kids’ answers should be defended,

48    With some yule log-arithms (the pun was intended).


49    “So there’s no one true meaning, it can be lots of things?”

50    We giggled as 12 seemed to take this all in.


51    “But there must be a pattern, you humans are weird,

52    I’ll update my models, find one that adheres.”


53    “Tomorrow I’ll run my Christmas theory beta,

54    But now I should offline and process this data.”


55    And I heard him declare as he dimmed his op lights,

56    “Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”