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Daze of Christmas II
So Christmas is over and I didn’t get the chance to write a Christmas column. Damn. I feel like tapping up Santa Claus. Fat, red fraud. If any children are reading this, I want you to know Santa Claus isn’t true.
If you received any presents at all, they did not come from Santa. They came from the mall. If you don’t believe me, look at the bottom of your “Frozen” Anna: if Santa is true, why is he living in China? Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus and he lives at the East Pole with his little helpers, the Khmer Rouge.
Why do people fool their children into believing in Santa Claus? It wouldn’t be so bad if parents only wanted their children to adopt the positive attributes of Christmas—who doesn’t want children to be generous and loving?
But parents take tender young minds and bludgeon them until they accept there is a fat, white man living at the North Pole icecap who, without an income of any sort, heats a workshop filled with industrious midgets who devote their lives to making toys for children they have never met.
If my child swallowed half that from a stranger, I’d write him off. But that is not enough: the fat man flies around the world in a sled pulled through the sky by reindeer and climbs down chimneys we don’t have in this part of the world, that are smaller than even one of his legs, to leave presents from a sack which never empties, like a Trinidadian Cabinet Minister handing out state contracts.
The flying reindeer don’t even have firetrucking wings! The thing is your average kid will baulk at a flying sled but parents will use all the influence they have over their trusting offspring to warp them into thinking Santa Claus is true; then, when the child’s intelligence eventually triumphs over their sentimentality, when the kid shakes his head and says, Mom, Dad, I love you, but this is all crap, the parents get depressed and weep for the child’s lost innocence.
All in all, then, I don’t mind having missed the chance to write about Santa. But Christmas itself might have inspired something in me.
As it stands now, Christmas is over and I don’t feel I celebrated it properly because I have not written about it. I’m beginning to feel any experience is incomplete unless I write it out of me—except for certain aspects, of course.
Apart from those private parts, though, I find myself writing about everything. I am not so much living any more as doing research. Anything that happens to me is a potential column. Everything I encounter must be considered at an intellectual level; but, then again, how cerebral can you get about pastelles?
Still, I keep thinking about the new Pink Floyd CD I put under the tree for myself, “To: BC From: BC,” a trick I learned from Brian Lara, who learned it from Michael Carew, son of Joey (Brian’s mentor): if you give yourself something for Christmas, you make sure you have at least one present under the tree you are pretty sure you will like.
Your own gift to you becomes increasingly more important each year: as you grow older, the wide range of stuff people who couldn’t be sure what you wanted would get you—good stuff like coffee, rum, books, CDs, DVDs and liqueurs—all transmogrify into socks; and brown ones, too; for dress shoes; and you haven’t worn anything but track shoes for ten years; including weddings and funerals. (I’ll wear a tux and track shoes on Old Year’s Night and all.)
Even if you’ve had pastelles and ponche de crème to excess, you’ve probably been able to tell something is not entirely right this morning so I’ll just confess: You are reading this today, Boxing Day, but it was written—or rewritten—on Monday, two days before Christmas Eve. I am sitting here considering how I feel about having missed Christmas and it hasn’t even taken place yet. Pretty scary stuff, huh? But it gets worse. I am not even here. I’m in Barbados. Indeed, Christmas came before me, if you see what I mean. Sheesh. It would probably be easier to do this with mirrors. I’m getting a little confused, and more than a little fed up, myself, now.
This must be what Patrick Manning felt like last week. You mean I’m gone? But I wasn’t finished!
I wrote this column reflecting on having missed out on the Christmas I am actually still anticipating. My brain and syntax are frazzled. I have no idea which tense I should having been used. The greatest problem with time travel, as Douglas Adams, author of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy correctly observed, is not scientific but grammatical; or, as Judy Raymond once wrote, brilliantly: when am I?
Anyway, there you have it, but here I don’t: I am here as I write but there as you read. The Christmas I missed and regret not having had the opportunity to write about has not yet taken place, which reminds me of a joke: What do you get when you cross a lawyer with a member of the Mafia? Someone who makes you an offer you can’t understand.)
Christmas is over for me because it is over for you—because a writer must be defined by his reader, not his writing. But a part of me thinks: Christmas is four days away.
Tell everybody Merry Christmas. But, of course, I can’t do that: Christmas is over; and I didn’t get two chances, 20 years apart, to write about it.
n BC Pires is Santa’s little lingerie department helper. A version of this column appeared on Boxing Day After 21 years ago
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