Telluride Daily Planet, Sunday, December 18, 2011
Santa: [answering phone, already annoyed] Blitzen, stop pestering me about the formation, would you? It’s a year ending in 1, and you’re behind Comet. Period. [pauses] You listening?
MCW: Hello, um, is this Santa???
Santa: [pauses] Who is this? How did you get this number?
MCW: I got it on Facebook. Wow, your voice. It sounds so potentially jolly, so authentic. Wait — are you saying you didn’t post on Facebook? Because you got 2.9 million Likes.
Santa: Of course not. Why would I post on Facebook? There’s one elf who’s always getting into something, it must’ve been him. [strokes beard] That many Likes? And you’re the only one who actually dialed the number? Figures.
MCW: What do you mean, it fig—
Santa: Figures that everyone thought it was a joke. Also figures it’s you — that one adult who’s been writing me letters every year. Telling me I look like Freud and that I’m a superhero and a lot of other rubbish. Then feeling smart about it. Then asking me for things I can’t possibly give you like transformation and hints about the Big Picture. You need remedial Santa letter writing. Big time.
MCW: Why do you think I was so eager to call? I mean I had actually just written “Make me a reed in the wind” when I saw the post on FB.
Santa: A reed! Next you’d be asking me for three more metaphors! I don’t do metaphors, FYI. Only rarely do I do sarcasm. I deal with concrete wants, Michelle. Bulleted lists and such, which children are remarkably good at.
MCW: Well, can I try it now? I’ll do better—
Santa: [sighing, checking watch] Only if you promise: no follow-up letter! I’ll do it to keep you from going right back to those mesmerizing organizing tips at marthastewart.com. While shoveling buttery popcorn into your mouth.
MCW: [wiping grease from lips] You actually see me when I’m bad or good?
Santa: Ho, ho, ho—
MCW: Hey, you said you didn’t do sarcasm.
Santa: I said rarely. Because I rarely deal with adults. But adults rarely understand sincerity, so I have to improvise.
MCW: Marthastewart.com puts a little bubble of serene hilarity beneath my sternum bone. It’s both calming and ridiculous, which is …
MCW with Santa chiming in: … not a combination you feel very often.”
MCW: You know what I’m going to say, too? I mean, what happened to free will?
Santa: Oh stop! I gave up philosophy when I took this job. Now, then. I’m putting you on speakerphone. [immediate din of a toy shop]. Tell Santa what you want for Christmas.
MCW: In front of all those people?
Santa: They’re not people, they’re elves. Plus, ever since I told them no more Justin Bieber, most of them have headphones on.
MCW: Ew. Well — I want the same things I always want. Which you already know, so what real good does it do—
Santa: [interrupting] You don’t get it. The list is for YOU. YOU have to know what you want. [sound of hand over phone and muffled Get Dasher and Vixen in here for fur checks please? And page that blasted elf, what’s his name… Bjorn.] OK. Tell me which candles you want. Again. Practice asking.
MCW: [crushed] Forget it. I’m just going to put the links up on my blog. [sniffs] You know very well it’s diptyqueparis.com. [shyly] So what’s it smell like where you are?
Santa: [inhales deeply] All the smells you like … fir needles, clove, sandalwood, notes of vanilla, rosemary, sweet orange, a touch of patchouli.
MCW: I hate patchouli—
Santa: [real belly laughing] You don’t even realize it’s in every perfume you love! Every single one. Speaking of metaphors. Go scratch your head about that one.
MCW: I like patchouli?
Santa: In the proper amounts, it’s your catnip.
MCW: [blushing] Oh. Well, what else do I like that I thought I hated?
Santa: Wrong magical being for that question. Stick to the list. Didn’t you want to ask me for the new 27-inch iMac? Graphics software? Coffee table books from taschen.com? Facials with what’s her name?
MCW: Stop! Gee, I thought I was supposed to practice asking! Plus, I was going to edit that list. How embarrassing. I sound so … oh, whatever. Can I call you again in, like, 10 minutes when I’m more prepared?
Santa: I’m late for fur checks already. But next year, if Bjorn or one of his minions posts on Facebook again, and if you happen to see it, I will expect your call. Our code word will be…
Santa: Correct! Have a Merry Christmas, snowflake.