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'Twas the Night before Earnings…

'Twas the night before earnings, when all through accounting,
Not a number was crunching; the pressure was mounting;
The toy company’s financials were all prepped with care,
In the hopes that the SEC would not soon be there;

The auditors were huddling on how to avoid the Feds,
While visions of lawsuits danced in their heads;
The CEO in a gray suit, the CFO in blue,
Had just settled down for a financial review;

When out in the lobby there arose such a clatter,
People ran from their cubes to see what was the matter;
All down the hallway the questions arose,
Someone had spotted a man in red clothes;

“Was it a lawyer threatening class action?”
“And if so, what would be the media’s reaction?”
“Was it a dissident shareholder holding a grudge?”
“But just what he looked like, no one could judge.”

The CEO blustered, “Who the devil could it be?”
“He won’t learn our quarterly profits from me.”
“Not sellside, not buyside, brokers or spies.”
“Not analysts, investors or any of those guys.”

To the top of the building, to the bottom of the stair,
He instructed us all to find out who was there;
So up to the rooftop the employees did go,
To seek out the man in red that no one did know;

And then, in a twinkling, we heard at the top,
“I’m here on important business, I order you to stop.”
But before we could respond or make a single sound,
He leapt in the chimney and disappeared in a bound;

We returned to our desks with a news release to write,
Thanks to our auditors, we’ll be here all night;
Pens moved across paper and fingers began pushing lead,
As we again focused on earnings, forgetting the man in red;

Who would email the NYSE? Who would call the Dow?
These were questions that investor relations had to answer now;
We carefully drafted our conference call story,
In the hopes that it would lead our stock price to glory;

I was proud of our messaging, our writing was grand,
I went to deliver the script to the man in command;
I rushed into his office, not pausing to knock,
He would understand – this affected our stock;

What I saw at that moment hit me real quick,
There, in a chair, sat jolly old St. Nick;
It’s true, – his eyes did twinkle! His dimples were merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!

And his round belly did roll as he let out a laugh,
When I blurted the question, “Is Santa now on staff?”
I turned to the CEO, my guidance provider,
Who told me, “It’s true, Santa’s now an insider.”

“He came here to give us some last minute advice,”
“Our numbers look great, St. Nick checked them twice.”
“He fixed up our tables and adjusted a number or two,”
“He even helped the compliance guys draft the 10-Q.”

“We certainly hope this will help our price per share.”
Suddenly St. Nick rose from his depths of his chair,
He walked quickly to the window and said not a word,
Then he whistled and soon jingling bells could be heard;

He opened the curtains and threw up the sash,
Then out on the ledge, he flew in a flash;
He would fall to his death was what I did fear,
Til I saw the red glow of his trademark reindeer;

Then we heard him exclaim as he rode out of sight,
“Happy earnings to all, and to all a good night!”

Jim Buckley

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