Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Is It Possible For Christmas Images To Be Clouded By A Few Bad Apples?
As usual, I was planning on leaving the chimney damper open on the 24th. In fact, I was even going to set out more than the usual number of cookies and milk. But when I witnessed a youngster refuse to sit on Santa's lap without an older friend being present, I began to wonder if something about Santa had changed since my youth. So I started reading the news and much to my dismay, I began to ponder just how intuitive a four-year old might be. I even proclaimed out loud (and now in print,) has Santa finally lost his saintly image? Santa always had such a good reputation. What possibly could tarnish the image of good old St. Nick? After discussing the phenomena with a few kids, I learned the power of a little bad press to tarnish an image.
For example, one youngster told me of Santa pulling off a stick up. With a little research I discovered that Rhode Island police do indeed claim that a man dressed as Santa entered a bar at the East Providence Yacht Club on Sunday with intent to steal. Providence Journal. The suspect was "large and wearing a Santa hat, white beard, a red Santa suit jacket and jeans." The suspect entered the bar around 7 p.m. He reached into his "Santa bag" and pulled out either a rifle or a shotgun. The bartender fled. The costume clad crook grabbed cash from the register and fled the scene.
This apparently is not the only story of the man in the red suit turning crooked added another youth. Is it possible that the man in red has left the straight and narrow? Hollywood. Also see Sketchy Santas. A little girl told me she lost respect for Santa after she saw him dance. Could this be what she saw? Mosh pit? Another added, "Have you seen the Internet? Santa is scaring the crap out of kids all over the country." Christmas snapshots. Still another little girl added that she watched Jay Lenyo and learned that Santa is having a hard time holding a job just like her daddy. Now this came as a complete surprise as I had always figured that Santa had job stability. But with a little reading I learned that 68 year-old John Toomey lost his job at Macy's after cracking a joke to an older couple. Toomey appeared on "The Tonight Show With Jay Leno" and let the audience know that he has now secured a better job working at a bar. (While his humor may be more easily tolerated at a bar, unless it is an Irish Pub, it has to be a step down from being St. Nick.)
So how was it that St. Nick could be removed from his holy throne so easily? John Toomey: ("When I ask the older people who sit on my lap if they've been good and they say, 'Yes,' I say, 'Gee, that's too bad,' " said Toomey. SFGate.com."Then, if they ask why Santa is so jolly, I joke that it's because I know where all the naughty boys and girls live." Id.) Toomey's new gig at Lefty O'Doul's may pay better than Macy, but I doubt if the patrons will sit on his lap without tucking dollars. UPI.com.
I started wondering if these were isolated incidents of bad publicity. After all, when Santa robs a pub or pulls off a bank heist, St. Nick comes off being anything but a saint. So imagine my surprise when I heard that Santa Claus, armed with a gun, held up a Jacksonville, Florida bank on Dec. 6th. (Apparently Santa was a 5'5" African American male who carried a silver semiautomatic pistol.) He apparently shot into the ceiling of the BBVA Compas bank and scared the heck out of a pregnant teller. ( We know Santa has experience scaring small children so perhaps this should not come as a surprise.) The suspect fled in a silver four door car so as not to leave a trail of reindeer poop. The suspect is still at large... While you may think it would be easy to apprehend the jolly old fellow, keep in mind that thousands of costume clad Santas gather each Christmas time at Santacon ( New York City.) This event has been described as a drunk fest with frisky reindeer games guaranteed to promote the "ho, ho spirit." No wonder the last little child told me that they don't bother to put out anything for Santa on Christmas Eve except for a pint of whisky.
Now that you know the facts, are you sure you want this fellow sliding down your chimney on December 24th?
ALL SANTAS ARE PRESUMED INNOCENT UNLESS PROVEN IN A COURT OF LAW. THE SANTA PHOTOGRAPHED IS NOT A SUSPECT OR PERSON OF INTEREST IN ANY CRIME.
Update 12-23-10: First Santa then another icon, Fred Foy, the lead in announcer for "The Lone Ranger" radio and television series, died Wednesday of natural causes. He was 89.