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Greetings to All:
I must admit that my joyful mission of spreading holiday cheer has grown more problematic over the decades. Until now, however, I have kept silent due to the devastating effect a major statement of my increasing despair would have, not only on the little children of the world, who depend upon my jolliness, but also on their parents. I maintained my stoic silence to prevent any more dread in their lives.
But I cannot remain silent any longer. It would be too stressful for my mental health. The last thing we need is an iconic cultural personality, like me, collapsing into some awful anti-social outrage. Unfortunately, we have too much of that already. The pressures of my task this year, nonetheless, broke Santa’s spirit. First came the news that more than half my stash of toys was toxic garbage produced by greedy manufacturers. I must admit that I have been outsourcing for years. What else could I do?
If that was all, maybe I could have carried on for another year. However, there is another big factor: the toys themselves – actually electronic gadgets – that I no longer understand, and have no affinity for whatsoever. They resemble the stuff adults waste their lives working with, and it just depressed me no end. OK. I can do without wooden toys if the rainforest is disappearing, but lugging all those battery operated gizmos around got to be too much for the deer to pull.
And then the elves rebelled; they threatened to reveal what they called “sweatshop” conditions! I tried to explain to them that this was a non-profit endeavor, but they would have none of it. Our fine Yuletide traditions have gone south. Nothing I could say had any effect. To them I was a crusty old geezer heading a corporation out of touch with current reality. I must admit that they may have some legitimate complaints. My attempt to cover more territory, as globalization took off, made me compromise with neo-liberalism and that jeopardized their old working conditions. They missed the old camaraderie. Frankly, so did I.
And the reindeer! I can no longer afford proper veterinary care. They’re looking shabby. Luckily, no one much notices at night. And then there is the sleigh. I tried to find properly skilled crafts people to do repairs, but no apprentices have appeared for years and the old crew is slowly retiring. Or worse. The final straw came, though, when I went about my routes and discovered so many empty houses. Several years ago it was Katrina. But now every year a Frankenstorm causes havoc. And, if homes aren’t destroyed by an outraged Mother Nature, then they are abandoned because of the financial storm. I have become quite expert at spotting foreclosed homes and I can’t face, any more, delivering meager parcels to families living in cars or tent cities. What sort of Christmas are we giving our kids?
So, I have made a decision. Before I am put out to pasture along with my ailing reindeer by online coupons, I quit. You can all have your wonderful virtual purchasing experiences. I don’t care. Your kids are destined to see Santa as an icon on their computer screens and nothing more. I don’t give a damn.
The Missus and I have a few good years left, and, frankly, I am looking forward to lounging around in shorts and sandals year round and growing some oranges and kiwis up here at the North Pole.
Good Night and Good Luck.
Black Friday, 2012
Bernard Marszalek co-founder of JASecon and editor of a new collection of essays by renegade Marxist, Paul Lafargue, “The Right to be Lazy” (AK Press/Kerr Co.), can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.