Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Izzat You Santy Claus?

This musta been when I was in college or right after, when it sounded like a good idea.

I dated a girl who was a student teacher around then, and she might even have been to blame, though I'm not certain of her guilt in getting me roped into the gig.

Anyway, somehow or other I got tapped to play Santa Claus for an elementary class. Pay was about 20 bucks in 1983 dollars.

Sure, I'd play Santa. Ho, ho, ho and what would you like for Christmas? Spread joy and merriment to the hearts of children. "Yes, VIRGINIA, there is a Santa Claus. He exists as certainly as love and generosity and devotion exist, and 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."

First graders are a bunch cynical little cusses.

I go in dressed in the Santa suit provided and about after oh, 15 seconds, there was a kid saying: "Those aren't real boots."

Then: "That's not a real beard."

I've only encountered one crowd more vicious. That was a local civic club when I was a reporter. I was invited to speak about news writing. I know people hate the news media, but every member had a complaint about either a.) the newspaper's advertising department b.) the circulation department or c.) the editorial page. None of which I had anything to do with.

"Doesn't anyone want to hear about how I interviewed Sesame Street's Grover?"

Nope.

Being Santa Claus was not unlike being in that lion's den. "You're a fake aren't you?"

"Ho, ho, ho. Santa is real, little boy."

On the flip side of the kids who weren't spotting vulnerabilities in my Santa disguise were the ones with total buy-in. "Do you know Janie Anderson who lives in Denver?"

"The elves help me keep track of those things."

"Do you know Robbie Jones?"

"Sure, why not?"

I heard all the Christmas wish lists and went for the door, made it all the way to the front exit before one of the teachers tracked me down.

Inches away from a clean getaway.

"The kids are enjoying the party so much we'd like you to stay a while longer."

I should have signed up for a gig as Scrooge. It probably would have gone equally as well.

3 comments:

Lana said...

You interviewed Grover? He was my favorite. Interesting how his voice became Yoda's years later...

Julie said...

Ho ho ho....

I like it.

Charles Gramlich said...

Sounds like the first prize, second prize thing. First prize, a week in a Santa suit, second prize two weeks.

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