You Can't Roller Skate In a Buffalo Herd
Winston Churchill once said, "I have taken more from alcohol than alcohol has taken from me." If we were translating this same saying to the current situation in Gavle, Sweden, it wouldn't exactly cut the mustard.
Gavle is a town with a strange Christmas tradition that has, unfortunately, turned the usually joyous holiday season into an annual display of ridicule and humiliation. Starting in 1966, a guy from Gavle came up with the brilliant idea of building a giant goat made out of straw as a celebration of the winter holidays. Unfortunately, also in 1966, another citizen of the town came up with the equally brilliant idea of burning the straw goat down.
Ever since then, the Gavle goat has repeatedly been a victim of blatant Christmas vandalism. A quick look at a timeline summary of the goat's history reveals its less-than-stellar track record:
1966 -Year one:The inaugural goat is burned down by vandals at midnight on New Year's eve.
1968 - Local children play hide-and-seek in and around the goat. It becomes a beloved landmark of the city.
1969 - The goat is burned down. Again. On New Year's eve... Again.
1970 - The goat is burned down by two "very drunk" teenagers just six hours after being built.
1971 - The townspeople, tired of the continuous vandalism, throw in the towel and don't even bother building the goat. A local school builds a smaller goat, which is kicked to pieces.
1972 - The goat collapses after being sabotaged.
1974 - The goat is burned down... Again.
1976 - A group of "local hillbillies" runs the goat over with a car.
1978 - The goat is kicked to pieces... Again.
1979 - Before it can be finished, the goat is burned to cinders... Again. Furious townspeople build and fireproof a new goat, which was kicked into pieces... Again.
1980 - On Christmas Eve, the goat is burned to the ground... Again.
1982 - The goat is burned down.
1983 - The goat's legs are destroyed.
1984 - The goat is burned down.
The Swedish Fire Brigade, exhausted after a long day of watching pornos at the fire station, is unable to save the goat from a fiery death.
1985 - Surprising everyone, the goat manages to not get burned down... Until January.
1986 - The goat is burned down again.
1987 - Despite "heavy fireproofing", the goat is burned down.
1988 - Degenrates everywhere celebrate as bookmakers begin taking bets on the goat getting burned down.
1989-1992 - The goat is burned down three years in a row.
1995 - An assassination attempt is foiled as a Norwegian is arrested before burning down the goat. The townspeople celebrate, only to have the goat successfully incinerated days later.
1997 - The goat is damaged by fireworks.
1998-2004 - Burned down seven years in a row.
2005 - Goat goes up in flames after being hit by "a flaming arrow or molotov cocktail." Police search for two men dressed as Santa Claus and the Gingerbread Man.
2006 - The townspeople suddenly become high and mighty, claiming that the goat is so well-protected that it is not being destroyed this year.
Not so fast, pissed-off Swedish townspeople... As of today, the oddsmakers are saying that it's pretty damn likely that the goat is getting burned. The odds are 11-4 that the goat will be purchasing a one-way ticket on the midnight train to slab city, and the management of this website tends to agree with them. If we were betting men, which we aren't not, we would be putting are money where our mouth is.
This year, though, you can actually watch the goat live on a basic webcam that the townspeople have set up. We will be checking in religiously to see when the goat will finally go up in smoke.
We predict December 23rd.