Friday, December 16, 2011

Is There a Santa Claus?

*Written for Robious Corridor, December 2011 
Note: The Original Editorial, written in  appearing in the September 21, 1897 edition of The (New York) Sun appears in Normal font.  The updated additions are in italics.

Dear Robious Corridor:
I am 8 years old.
Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus.
Papa says, 'If you see it in Robious Corridor it's so.'
"Please tell me the truth; is there a Santa Claus?
VIRGINIA O’Handmeacookie
115 West Salisbury Road.


First, its not polite to refer to your friends as “little”; they are ‘vertically challenged’.  And yes, your ‘little friends’ are wrong. Totally, utterly wrong.  Like WICKED wrong.  They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. Or by the fact that they’ve never had to do laundry - theirs or anyone else’s.  They do not believe except what they see. Which is Nintendo, Wii Dance Party, Lady Gaga and texts on their mobile phone.  They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds or posted on Facebook. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little, scratch that, ‘vertically challenged’. You know why I know this?  One Sentence: DANCING WITH THE STARS.  In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the boundless world about him, and yet there is a show that displays this intellect and insect-like movement against the canopy of music and >boom< it’s entertainment and tops the Neilson ratings…As measured by the intelligence capable of grasping the whole of truth and knowledge, we can only reply “SUPERSIZE IT”.

Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and frankly I know it because I have to pick up Santa’s socks and dirty Santa suit after his 24 hour UPS run around the Earth.  Why he insists on travelling through chimneys and getting soot ground into his suit at the sub-atomic level is beyond me.  The “North Pole Dry Cleaners” is pretty fed up too: how many “we tried as hard as we could to get the stain out but alas” notes do they have to include before Jolly Old Saint Nick realizes that red velvet and soot DO NOT MIX?  Anyway back to generosity and devotion… you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy.  Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no Santa Claus. There would also be no ‘Atkins Diet’.  Why?  The man CHOWS DOWN on cookies, milk, and hot chocolate for 24 hours – ACROSS THE GLOBE! – It’s a veritable high fructose corn syrup orgy.  When he gets back to the North Pole, his glycemic index is THROUGH. THE. GINGERBREAD. ROOF.  All of a sudden he’s yelling “Mama Claus?  I want SALAD.  Broccoli.  Tofu.  THINK GREEN.”  Green?  WE LIVE IN THE NORTH POLE.  The term “Winter White” wasn’t invented for nothing.  The daylight lasts like 35 seconds.  Is it dreary here?  It would be as dreary as if there were no VIRGINIAS. And for the record, Virginia ROCKS.  Especially Richmond.  Particularly south of the river James.  But no Santa?  There would be no childlike faith then, no poetry, no romance to make tolerable this existence. But frankly if we wouldn’t have to live through Middle School, that would be OK.  I think EVERY KID would be happy to trade a bit of poetry for skipping middle school.  But NO SANTA?  We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which childhood fills the world would be extinguished.  Yup, that eternal light thing.  I heard you lost it for several days after Hurricane Irene.  We had reports parents – without TV or internet in their powerless neighborhood – had to resort to the most base and savage of methods to stay alive: they had to GO TO THE LIBRARY.  They got confused by the books (no, they are not kindling) but it was a great place to charge the iPod and surf the net…but I digress…

Not believe in Santa Claus! You might as well not believe in fairies! Actually, there aren’t any fairies in the North Pole.  There are, however, elves.  And they are particularly demanding.  They have to make all the toys and they gripe about the hours, poor working condition, and even convinced one to become a Union Dentist.  No lie. Have you seen Rudolph the Red-Nose Reindeer?  Hermie is the real deal.  He does cosmetic dentistry and is working toward certification in orthodontia. Raffled off a custom whitening tray to raise money for the Island of Misfit Toys.  Did his thesis on the overbite of Bumble, the Abominable Snowman.  But back to you Virginia, and your question about Santa.  You might get your papa to hire men to watch in all the chimneys on Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus, but even if they did not see Santa Claus coming down, what would that prove? Honestly, it would prove nothing because – and I have this on Santa’s good opinion- most of these ‘watchman’ dive into the cookies and milk for Santa and are in a happy food coma by the time Santa is making his rounds.  Nobody sees Santa Claus, because eating excessive loads of sweet carbs brings on blissful sleep, but that is no sign that there is no Santa Claus. As we all know, trying to prove a negative is most troublesome.  The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see. Typically, that involves the santa coat draped on the back of a chair instead of hung up in the closet.  And unmade beds.  And trash that needs to be taken out without being asked.  Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, because Fairies don’t live at the northpole and if they did and they were dancing on the lawn, they’d perish of frostbite.  But that's no proof that they are not there. And neither are pigs in flight.  Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world. Well, Steve Jobs tried, which explains the plethora of iPads in Santa’s sack.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but if you do that, your mom is gonna be really really really mad.  She can handle the socks on the floor the garbage that needs to go out, but don’t – DO NOT- mess with the cranky infant’s toys… but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. And that’s because those big strong men would have to hoist themselves from the couch, fling the remote away and say “NO NFL TODAY!”  Yeah right, like that is gonna happen.  Only faith, fancy, poetry, love, romance, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond ESPN Primetime. Is it all real? Oh for heaven’s sake yes it’s all real.  Ah, VIRGINIA, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding. But… before you get your presents, please go to a dictionary and write out a good definition of the word “abiding”, and use it in a sentence that could be used on terra firma south of the north pole.  I’m just looking out for your SAT scores, girl, NOW GO GET ‘EM!

No Santa Claus! Thank God! He lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, he will continue to make glad the heart of childhood. However, he will make this glad heart of wifehood elated if he avoids the sooty chimney’s, uses the front door, picks up his dirty socks, and trades the cookies for the Reindeer’s carrots.

Merry Christmas Virginia and God bless us, every one.

Mrs. Claus

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