December 2012 home page

Rich Simons | 11th Street


Photo illustration Art Olson.


Q: Is there a Santa Claus? My live-in boyfriend says that if I read it in the Sandpiper it might have half a chance of being true – V.L.

Dear Virginia (somehow I sense that is your name):

I believe it is you who queried me last year about the existence of the Green Flash and I told you the truest thing I know: that so long as there are adults willing to stare out to sea at sunset grasping long-stemmed glasses bearing a light golden fluid with overtones of walnut and blackberries and a nice buttery finish, there will always be a Green Flash. Now I will tell you the raw truth about Santa Claus.

(But first a cautionary note. If you are under 9 years of age this is not appropriate material for you to be reading. Put it down immediately and go Twitter someone.)

Microsoft Clipart

Okay. That’s better. Now we can talk. But before I can tell you what IS, I need to tell you what AIN’T, and I am sorry Virginia but there is NO fat, jolly guy with a white beard in a weird red outfit who pretends to slide down chimneys in houses that don’t have one, any more than there is a big rabbit who hops around with baskets of colored eggs or a Tinkerbelle-like creature who flits around at night swiping teeth from under children’s pillows. But I am happy to be able to report that Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny and the Tooth Fairy DO all exist and I am pleased to be able to introduce you to them. All you need to do is walk to the nearest mirror and stare hard into it. That’s right – to paraphrase Pogo: “We have met Santa Claus and he is us.”

So, now that we have ferreted out the true identity of Santa, I feel justified in commenting that you have been doing a lousy job, especially in the business of that myth where you supposedly fly all around the world in some 13th-century jalopy dispensing gifts and sweets to ALL the children of the world. Hey, come off it dude. When was the last time you showered Nintendos on the children of Botswana? Or bicycles on the kids in Honduras? Hell, even with GPS you probably couldn’t find Togo. Seems to me you’ve been pretty Euro-North America centric all these years.

How about trying to live up to the myth, Santa? Never mind the bicycles; they’re a bitch to fit into a sleigh. And forget any electronics; where you’re going they don’t have electrons. But there isn’t a boy in Ecuador who wouldn’t be delighted to receive a soccer ball or a girl in the Congo who wouldn’t love a doll. How tough can it be, Santa? I figure you’ve got about 3 weeks.


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