December 23, 2013 by The Friday Facts
So, I guess this is my Christmas post.
Generally speaking, I tend to fall on the humbug side of the fence when it comes to Christmas. I’m not a total hater, but…still.
Why, It’s Christmas, M’Lord!
I worked in retail as a sales assistant for many years and it never ceased to amaze me how fucking awful people could be to each other around this, the one time of year that they were supposed to be doing the exact opposite. All I saw was people pushing in queues, haggling over the price of thrice-reduced gifts, screeching at kids and lashing out at the first person within striking distance which, as luck would have it, was usually me. I could never comprehend how few of them seemed capable of cobbling together just enough perspective to see that hate-shopping was not what the good folk had in mind when they invented this holiday.
Splice that together with my deep, deep, deep-seated hatred of M.O.R Buble/Keating/Human Nature crooner types’ insistence on eking barely-needed bucks out of poor suckers by releasing another half-assed album full of sub-cliched Christmas standards and I think I could be forgiven for converting to Kabala (still a thing? Discuss). I have an aunt who, on Christmas day for ten consecutive years, insisted on putting Enya’s rendition of Silent Night on constant rotation from 8 am onwards. Enya doing Silent Night. That’s like Mussolini reading a speech written by Hitler. I’m not sure who or what put a stop to it, but I’m glad they or it did.
But I’m not a complete Ebenezer.
Like most people, some of my most vivid and cherished childhood memories relate to Christmas, and even these days there’s still a lot I like about it. I like not having to work for a few days. I’m not remotely religious but I love a good story, and the story of Christmas is a doozy. So in a way, I guess I also love the tradition of it. And I love sitting around with family and drinking a skinful of alcohol.
Anyway, these are all just musings. The real purpose of this post is to relay my favourite Christmas story.
My wife (note that, in this blog, I’ve avoided the temptation to refer to her as “Rat Drawn Mummy” …you’re welcome?) has always had a touch of the nostalgias. This is not a bad thing; in fact it’s quite endearing, really. She’s always kept it fairly in check when it comes to Christmas but when Sonny was born, an odd thing came over her.
Sonny was around 4 months old when his first Christmas came around. Too young, I think we can all agree, to have the slightest idea what was going on around him (even on this, his second Christmas, he’s still working it all out). His mum, though, she was on a mission. A mission entitled ‘Get Sonny’s Picture Taken With Santa’. For a while there, it seemed to consume her and I never understood this.
Searching for Santaman
We’re not really big-mall people, so for a long time her search for Santa seemed in vain. Then one day, she finally struck gold. She was just shopping at our local, trashy strip and there he was, in all his red and white, Coca-Cola-inspired glory. Seizing her moment, my wife pounced. She marched up to him, shoved our son into his arms and her camera into the hands of an innocent by-stander. The result is that somewhere in our garage, buried below a dusty old pile of photo albums, Game & Watches, hyper-colour underwear and Ace of Base cassettes sits a photo. There’s Santa Claus, looking like the out of work actor he almost certainly was. There’s mum, beaming. And there’s Sonny, looking completely nonplussed by the whole situation. And that’s the story of Sonny’s first ever Santa photo.
But this ballad doesn’t stop there. Oh lordy no it does not.
My wife spent the rest of the afternoon finishing her shopping and basking in the glory of her little yuletide triumph. At some point during this process, she happened to chance across the very same Santa Claus who had been an unwitting part of Sonny’s first ever Christmas photos just an hour or so earlier.
My wife and Santa exchanged pleasantries once again and smiled at each other just long enough for an awkward silence to settle in. It was a silence that would soon be punctured by the screech of a car. The exact make and model of the car remains a point of contention but, for arguments sake, let’s say it was a hotted up Holden SV (RIP). Poking out from each window of this car, like the skinny, sunburnt legs of a cockroach, were a whole bunch of arms, each clutching a stubby of VB. As it rounded the corner a voice from the car screamed “Hey Santa Claus, ya fucken’ cocksucker! Woo-woo!!!”
And there they stood: my life partner, my first born sire, and the timeless paragon of peace and goodwill. Stunned into silence, mouths agape, all of them trying to somehow make sense of the fact that these unruly hot-rods had just sped into their lives, referred to Jolly Old Saint Nick as a “fucking cocksucker” in front of the entire neighbourhood, and disappeared as quickly as they had come. Santa looked at my wife, and she at him. Then they both turned back to these mysterious assailants as they sped off into the afternoon sun.
No one spoke. There was nothing to say.
Never Banter With Santa
As my wife relayed this ballad of festive-season reprobatism to me I was already entertaining fantasies of how it would end. I imagined Santa narrowing his eyes, shoving his toy sack into my wife’s chest and saying “hold this”. The young toughs would be hurtling westward, apace, congratulating themselves on a job well done, when the imprint of a pair of size 13 boots would suddenly appear in their roof. As panic and confusion coursed through the car, a gloved fist would smash through the windscreen and grab one of the hoodlums by the scruff. WIth the car swerving out of control Santa would lean in close and deadpan something like “Ho, ho, ho shitbags!”, smash the guy’s nose and leap to safety as the car careered into oblivion.
Ok, so obviously he’d come up with a better line than that, but I just can’t think of anything else right now… maybe something like “Seasons beatings, mother fucker!” would work better? I don’t know, you can fill in the gaps there, but the take-away point is that Santa kicks their ass.
In another scenario going through my mind Santa would stand there, cool as a cucumber, as the car sped off into the distance. Silently, he would gather up his Santa sack, take an almighty backswing, and then hurl it at the car, which by now must be 200 metres away. The sack would whistle through the air, disappearing from view til it was nought but a dot in the sky before coming crashing down on the car in an exquisitely executed hit. The car would veer out of control, into a nearby wall and burst into a ball of flames. Santa would then calmly walk over and pull his Santa sack, untouched and still in perfect condition, from the wreckage. Then he would casually stroll back, pausing occasionally to wipe a smear of soot off his bright red trousers. As he passed my gobsmacked wife and son he would dip his Santa cap ever so subtly and mumble “Merry Christmas” before walking off into the sunset. (I think I imagine him being Sam Elliot in this scenario for some reason).
But none of those scenarios actually happened.
Truth was, as my wife tells it anyway, she just turned to Santa Claus, gulping down volleys of laughter, and said “Oh dear, that wasn’t very nice, Santa.” And I suppose he should have at least been given an encouragement award for staying in character when he replied simply, “Ho, ho! no it certainly wasn’t, young lady. That wasn’t very nice at all.” Sonny, for his part, just sat there quietly and took the whole damn thing in his tiny little stride
And that, my friends, is the story of Christmas.
So here’s cheers to the festive season. Here’s cheers to the guys who volunteer to dress as a bearded, ruddy faced obese man, risking their own personal safety in doing so, just to bring a little happiness to people. Here’s cheers to the drunken bogans who take such simple pleasure from leaning out of a car and calling a complete stranger a cocksucker. And here’s cheers to the tiny little babies who sit there in silence, taking all of this in and quietly wondering to themselves “What the fuck kind of crazy-ass world have these people brought me into?”
So merry Christmas, cocksuckers. One and all!! And however trying your festive season may be, you might feel just a mite better knowing that this is what I’m going to be dealing with…