Questions for the jolly fat guy
“I’m on a special assignment this week for the newspaper,” I confided to husband-head the other evening.”Really?” he asked, intrigued. “Is it, like, an undercover operation to find out why the Packers are so lousy this year?”Uh, no.”I’m interviewing Santa Claus,” I informed him. “I’ve got to create a list of questions to ask him.”Husband-head took a sip of my eggnog – just to check.”That’s nice,” he said, patting my head. “Make sure and ask him if you’re getting coal this year, because you’ve certainly not been a very good girl …”But what does one ask the jolly old fat man who has allegedly been distributing gifts around the world since the 17th century? The more I thought about it, the more I realized there were some things I had always wondered about, so I sat down to craft my questions for the interview.1) Why does the famous poem, “The Night Before Christmas” describe you as having a “nose like a cherry?” Do you drink a lot?2) Everyone knows smoking is politically incorrect, yet apparently you puff on a pipe and you’re exceptionally jolly. Exactly what are you smoking?3) This might also explain the munchies and the requisite snack to be left for your visit on Christmas Eve. Do you really like cookies? Or are there a certain type of, ahem, brownies that you prefer?4) Do you have a pilot’s license for your airborne sleigh? Is it approved by the FAA and must you file a flight plan?5) People these days frown on strange old men bouncing little children on their laps – especially in shopping malls. Have you ever been questioned by the local authorities?6) Regarding letters from the kids, do you now accept e-mail?7) I can understand being able to fall down the chimney. But how do you get back UP the chimney by putting your finger aside of your nose and nodding? In Los Angeles, this gesture would indicate that you want to meet someone in the restroom to party …8) Do you ever get chronic back pain from carrying that sack? Who is your insurance carrier?9) Have you ever met the Grinch or Scrooge in person?10) Is Mrs. Claus in a holly, jolly good mood all the time like you or does she ever suffer from PMS?Besides the questions, I also had an issue I wanted to discuss with Mr. Claus.Personally, I think the song about, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is extremely mean.”All of the other reindeer, used to laugh and call him names … they never let poor Rudolph, join in any reindeer games,” according to the lyrics.But on a foggy Christmas Eve, Santa asks Rudolph and his bright, shiny nose to lead the sleigh through the sky.”Then how the reindeer loved him, as they shouted out with glee,” the song ends. “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer … you’ll go down in history!”What a bunch of two-faced reindeer. Oh sure, they don’t like Rudolph until he’s elevated to the head sleigh-guy and then all of a sudden he’s as popular as someone who just won the lottery.What’s up with that?When I was done with my interview outline, I showed it to husband-head.”Nope, nope and nope,” husband-head said, scratching questions off my list. “You can’t ask Santa about those things – it’s just not right.”My editor said the same thing.”This is a family newspaper and Santa is a wholesome, household name,” he pointed out. “We don’t want to know what he’s smoking or drinking. We want to know if the kids have been naughty or nice. And we sure as hell don’t want a lawsuit from some fat guy that lives at the North Pole.”So much for my Santa Claus investigative reporting piece.But maybe some things shouldn’t be explained and their origins are better left unanswered.Eggnog, for example …Heidi Rice is a reporter for the Post Independent. Her column runs every Friday. Visit her Web site at http://www.heidirice.com.
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I’m not often given to public displays of affection, but on the morning of Monday, July 19, I felt it necessary to give an old and dear friend a proper send off.