The annual Christmas parade is a time for gathering. A time for rejoicing. A time for me, bagpipes. Wait, really? Are you sure, have you ever heard me before?

Listen, I appreciate being included in this Christmas parade but, frankly, I’m not sure why I’m here. Is this a prank, am I being punked right now?

When people think of a classic Christmas procession, they’re likely imagining: Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph, Santa’s elves, and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas. I’ve been struggling to think of how I fit into this picture and it doesn't make any sense. I'm completely flummoxed. I really think this is a big mistake.

There’s nothing festive or seasonal about the war cry of the bagpipes. Did you know I’m so loud that I used to be played before going into battle? The sheer noise level of my Banshee-like cry struck fear into the hearts of the enemy and my ear-piercing squawks were synonymous with impending violence. Despite that, someone thought I would make a good addition to this Christmas parade.

You see these smiling, eager faces? They got up at 6:00 AM and trekked across town to line the streets so they could get a glimpse of Santa. I’m pretty sure they didn’t come to get a blast of ye ol’ bagpipes.

I mean, I really hope they want a blast because it’s a blast they’re going to get. I only have one setting and it’s full-blast. I can’t stress this enough: I have no ability to control my volume.

Whoever’s idea it was to have me playing here today must be trying to get fired. You’re about to learn that, in addition to only having one volume, I’m also incapable of having breaks between notes and I can’t change timbre. Not exactly well-equipped to provide seasonal cheer and merriment, am I?

What more could you expect from an instrument made of a bag and some pipes? I look as though my inventor created me after dreaming of a threesome between a porcupine, an octopus, and a whoopie cushion.

It’s a good thing a lot of the people here are wearing ear muffs because it’s about to get loud, like, real loud. “Loud A.F.” as the kids like to say. That’s right, “loud as fiddlesticks.”

Did I mention that I’m very shrill? I’m pretty sure there’s a picture of me next to “shrill” in the dictionary. Now I’m curious, let’s just see what has for illustrations under shrill. Nope, sorry, no bagpipes, just an advertisement for a pill that “instantly reduces painful bloating.”

Wow, this advertising is on point. I am extremely bloated.

My human, Angus, started playing me when I was passed down to him after the death of his grandfather. He thought I would be a good way to stand out from the boys at his high school who were playing more mainstream instruments. He stood out, alright. Stood outside the house to practice! Seriously, Angus isn’t allowed to play me inside the house.

Oh great, whoever scheduled this lineup put me directly after the float that’s playing “Silent Night.” Very funny. Let’s have the calm, peaceful float followed by the one-man bagpipe brigade that sounds like it’s going to war. Yeah, going to war on your eardrums. I’m sorry, I don't want this to happen any more than you do.

Brace yourselves, I’m about to “lay some pipe.” I hope I’m using that term correctly.

Did you hear that? That woman just said, “Those bagpipes sound like a bunch of feral cats in heat!” It’s a Christmas miracle, being compared to an orgy of street cats is one of the nicest things anyone’s ever said about me.