Why you should care
Santa isn’t just implausible; he’s a downright scoundrel. Hear us out.
Dear Mr. Kringle,
It has been 30 years since the last time I wrote to you but I felt compelled to tell you about some of the things that have been bothering me of late, and about what I would like this Christmas.
First, let me say that I am not a Santa-hater. I have never been one of those holier-than-thou naysayers who accuse you of inculcating their children with mindless materialism. In fact, I believe that you may have been the single greatest catalyst of our modern economy. You have provided us with a saturnalia of consumption that allows us to confine our shopping urges to a single season so that our consumerism does not consume us all year-round.
Kris, may I call you Kris? We are both adults after all, and have a long history together. Kris, I have also never questioned your motives in the past. I admit that I have been concerned about your treatment of animals — forcing eight reindeer to traverse the globe in a jaw-dropping feat of hard labor seems, if not cruel, then at least insensitive. Still, I do admire the fact that you were one of the pioneers of alternative transport, and have never relied on fossil fuels to pull your sleigh, even when expediency may have dictated otherwise.
I caught our own dear son Jonathan Googling “Santa is a myth.”
But I digress. The real reason I am writing stems from an epiphany I recently had. The other day, I caught our own dear son Jonathan Googling “Santa is a myth.” Now, my wife and I have installed various chips and blockers to keep him from discovering all variety of unsavory items on the Internet, from pornography to Snuggies. Alas, it is very difficult to keep inquisitive children these days from fact-checking every little white lie you tell them about alien dirigibles or spermicidal jellies.
It makes parenting very difficult. Only last week, I threatened, as I often do, to read Jonathan the Riot Act if he did not get off the computer and come to dinner. In reply, I got a stinging rebuke that he was not engaging in “unlawful assembly” and therefore fell outside of the Act’s jurisdiction. I only later discovered that these lines had been lifted almost verbatim from the Wikipedia entry on the subject. (Two can play at that game of course. I now read Jonathan the “Regulation of Servants and Apprentices Act,” which, though not as punchy, is more difficult for an eight-year-old to avoid on a technicality).
Anyway, Jonathan’s Santa search results naturally raised a lot of questions in his young mind and I found myself in the position of North Pole Press Secretary, brushing aside my son’s concerns and casting aspersions upon his unhealthy curiosity.
The predictable questions were easiest to handle: of course Santa and his sleigh can cover the entire planet because they fly against the earth’s rotation. And, surely Santa does know if you have been naughty or nice because he has legions of parental informers and up-to-date birth registry and census information.
Which do you suppose is easier to tell a child: that Santa is a myth or that he is simply a scoundrel?
The follow-up questions were more difficult. For example, was Santa Claus elected? This one threw me, Kris. There I was trying to explain to my son how it was that a single individual could achieve an almost universal mandate to sit in judgment of all the world’s children, year after year, without any oversight. From where does one derive such supreme power?
Worse still were my son’s questions regarding your business practices. Where does Santa get the money to do everything that he does? This raised many more questions than answers in my own mind. For example, does Santa’s monopsony power mean that he, like Walmart, can play suppliers against each other and pay them whatever he damn well pleases? And, if things at the North Pole did go south in this economy, would you, Kris, require a bailout just like every other short-sighted, overweight executive tossing down brandy and chocolates in his pajamas after midnight?
The more questions my son asked, the more difficult it became for me to hide my contempt for you. Which do you suppose is easier to tell a child: that Santa is a myth or that he is simply a scoundrel? What kind of sicko, after all, monitors the behavior of children, seduces them with presents and the promise of a sleigh-ride in the sky, and still has the nerve to ask for free alcohol and snacks in return? (I must hand it to you, you have succeeded at inverting the whole strangers-and-candy routine).
Kris, what I want this Christmas is simple: I want you to stay away. I want you and your clatter, your dimples and your eight mangy animals to stay away from me and my family.
Yesterday I visited our local magistrate in the hopes of taking out a temporary restraining order against you. No luck — I should have known that our judges have been in your knapsack for years, many since they were children.
So, instead I have decided to take matters into my own hands and acquire a gun (I went through one of your competitors — it is still possible you know).
Therefore, I guess what I am saying to you is this. Should you decide to stop by this year — my Season’s Greeting to you shall be limited to the following: “Beware of dog,” “Violators will be prosecuted,” and “Trespassers will be shot on sight.”
I assure you that my wife and I will not hesitate, with firearms and flash, to tear open the shutters and throw up the sash. Ma in her kerchief and I in my cap will make certain your long winter’s nap.