Monday, December 24, 2012

Claus. Santa Claus.

The dude in the red suit. We saw him no less than seven-thousand times today. He was in the mall, on a big velvet chair, taking late orders from kids, until we got into line. Then, he needed a break. Half hour. (He's magic and he can make reindeer pull him [and enough toys for every child on the globe] through the cold stratosphere and deposit treats under billions of trees in, like, sixteen seconds, but he can't conjure up a sandwich for himself. His is not omnipotence -- it's potency with certain parameters.)

Always time for a quick Coke.
Still, he gets around.

He was on street corners, ringing bells, as we drove on a Christmastime trek. He walked through the restaurant in which we ate dinner and he patted my boys on the back, ho-ho-hoing all the time, completely un-fatigued and seemingly unconcerned about a particularly pressing deadline. He's all over TV, too. Local news asked him how things were going. "Ho-ho-ho. Fine. Just fine."

He's in every mall across the civilized world at the same time, every day from Thanksgiving to Christmas. (I don't know if he takes breaks at the same time in each mall, though.)

And still before him, in terms of tasks to be completed before Tuesday? He has to ride a slow-moving, "Jingle Bell Rock" blaring fire truck through no less than four-hundred and seventeen thousand towns and municipalities between now and tomorrow night, and that's JUST IN AMERICA!

He will, of course finish with ours. I'm assuming we are last of all, even after Europe and the more far-flung lands. He comes by at around nine PM. The boys wave to him in their pyjamas. I t worries them not that he has work to do. He's St. Nick. He's cool.

He's the James Bond of fat pseudo-saints.

Break? Why not?
Apparently, he is still good-to-go at nine. He really only has to get things started by nine-thirty, I suppose, to get to every house on the planet by sunrise. And during his journeys, he consumes more chocolate chip cookies than a fleet of floating front end loaders could dump into a fleet of massive cargo ships, lined up from the shore of Jersey to the beaches at Dover. Of course he is fat. One day, if he doesn't keep chewing extremely well (never mind the stress that puts on his delivery time-tables), he could go super-nova and then we would all be out a jolly, red, reverse cat burglar. (Make 'em as small as you can, moms. For the world's sake!)

He's a remarkable fellow.

And even more remarkable are the children who remain completely unconcerned about such dubious fluctuations in the parameters of logical plausibility. Still, as they get older, they wonder...

"How does he do it?" they sometimes ask.

"He's magic," we tell them.

That's good enough.

Yes, he is magic, the old, red, corpus rotundum.

But the children? The real magic is theirs. It is they who make the impossible into the natural. It is they who give us something to believe in.

We need them so much.

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