Thursday, December 16, 2010


A couple of years ago I thought it would be a really nifty idea to interview Santa Claus.  Not even Playboy had ever scored a sit-down with the "Big Red Cheese" himself!  So I put on my warmest jacket and two pairs of sweat pants, and set off for the North Pole.  Six months later, after much arduous traveling that had left me physically and emotionally drained, I was in Butte, Montana.  It soon became obvious that I would have to purchase a map of some kind. 

While on my way to the nearest gas station, I happened to pass a department store with a sign in the window that said "Visit Santa Claus Here, 6:00-9:00 p.m."  I was elated beyond words!  Instead of having to go to the North Pole to see Santa, he had come right to me!  But why, I wondered briefly, was Santa Claus hanging around in Butte, Montana?  This thought soon evaporated as I scampered inside the store and followed the long line of little kids who were also there to see Santa.

Taking advantage of my superior weight and dexterity as a grown-up, I shoved the kids at the head of the line back and stepped in front of them as they sprawled on the floor in a heap, crying.  The little girl in Santa's lap was just finishing up, so I dislodged her with my foot and sat down.  Santa winced and regarded me with dismay.  "Hey, you're not--"

"Here's what I want for Christmas, Santa," I interrupted.  "An exclusive interview.  And I won't take no for an answer because I've been traveling six months to get here, been married and divorced twice along the way, invented Silly Putty, and accidentally taken part in a plot to overthrow Fidel Castro.  So you'd better cooperate or I'll throw a fit the likes of which you've never seen."

"Okay, okay," he said wearily.  "Let's get this over with." 

"Oh, goody!" I squealed in giddy delight, jumping up and down in his lap as he groaned audibly.  Then I turned on my tape recorder and began the interview.

PORFLE:  So, you're Santa Claus.

SANTA CLAUS:  That's right!  Ho, ho, ho!

PORFLE:  I have a question I've always wanted to ask you.

SANTA CLAUS:  Fire away!  Ho, ho--

PORFLE:  How come the rich kids always get the best toys?

SANTA CLAUS:  Ho, ho...huh?  What are you talking about?

PORFLE:  Well, when I was growing up, this rich kid down the street always got a buttload of big, expensive toys for Christmas.  He'd play with them out in his front yard and laugh at us, and then smash them all with a sledgehammer and set them on fire.  And all us other kids always wondered why you liked him better than us.

SANTA CLAUS:  No, no, it's not that.  See, your parents just couldn't afford to pay for the really expensive toys, and--

PORFLE:  Wait, my parents had to pay for the toys?  I thought you gave them away for free!

SANTA CLAUS:  It's...err...complicated.  You wouldn't understand.  Ho, ho ho!

PORFLE:  Cut the crap, Santa!  You're just a big fraud!


PORFLE:  Then how come my parents had to pay for--


(awkward silence)

PORFLE:  You don't really exist?

SANTA CLAUS:  Well, not technically.  I mean, I'm here, of course--that's obvious.  But I don't really live at the North Pole, and I don't really have a bunch of elves who make toys for all the good little boys and girls.

PORFLE:  And what about the reindeer?  The flying reindeer?

SANTA CLAUS:  What do you think?  Listen to what you just said.  "The flying reindeer."  Heh.

PORFLE:  So, who are you really?

SANTA CLAUS:  I'm Fred Lipschitz.  I sell life insurance.  I'm a member of the local Rotary Club, and I like to fish.  Every Christmas I dress up like Santa Claus and the store pays me to sit here and listen to what little kids want for Christmas so their parents can eavesdrop and know what to get them.

PORFLE:'s all just a big capitalistic confidence scam!

SANTA CLAUS:  Yeah, but the kids love it.

Shocked beyond words by this horrific revelation, I turned off the tape recorder and stood up, regarding the big, fat faker through a veil of bitter tears.  I had drawn pictures of him with my crayolas!  I had left cookies and milk for him to eat during his rounds!  I had watched the "Charlie Brown Christmas Special" a hundred times and cried every time! 

"You BASTARD!!!" I screamed with accusatory rage.  Then I turned around to warn all those other gullible kids who were even now lining up like lemmings to fall for Fred Lipschitz's dastardly deception.  "HE'S A FAKE!  There is no Santa Claus!  This is just some fat guy the store hired to fool you!  THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS!!!  THERE IS NO--"

Suddenly, I found myself being pursued through the store by a mob of angry parents!  Parents who were in on the deception and would not tolerate the truth being revealed, exposing their shameful complicity in this heinous scam!  "THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS!!!" I continued to scream out at passing children as I ran for my life, desperately seeking an escape route!

Reaching a side door, I bolted outside and into traffic.  Drivers slammed on their brakes and weaved haphazardly to keep from hitting me as I lurched from car to car, banging on the windows and shrieking at the occupants at the top of my lungs.  "LISTEN TO ME!!!  THERE IS NO SANTA CLAUS!!!"  I pointed at my angry pursuers, who were making their way toward me through the passing cars.  "SEE?  THEY'RE HERE ALREADY!!!  THEY'RE COMING FOR US!!!  YOU'RE NEXT!!!  YOU'RE NEXT!!!"

Later, at the police station, I tried to explain all of this to the psychiatrist, but to no avail.  Shaking his head dubiously at my admittedly outlandish account, he spoke in a low tone to the police chief.  "This man is obviously insane," I could hear him say.  "No Santa Claus, parents buying Christmas toys for their children..."  He scoffed.  "It's one of the most extreme cases of advanced 'coo-coo' I've ever seen."

The police chief nodded and summoned two officers to take me away.  Just then, another officer raced into the room and handed him a report that had just come in.  "Smash-up on the expressway, Chief," he said breathlessly.  "An SUV and a station wagon.  Two couples...parents.  Claimed they'd just been 'Christmas shopping' for their kids.  Darndest thing...both vehicles were filled with these...well, it may sound crazy, but they looked like...well,"

The police chief and the psychiatrist gasped in unison, then gaped at me in wide-eyed astonishment.  "Get on the radio to all patrol cars!" the chief bellowed.  "Tell them to stop all vehicles with parents in them and search for toys!  Repeat--STOP ALL PARENTS AND SEARCH FOR TOYS!!!"

As they scrambled into action, I leaned back wearily against a wall.  Maybe it wasn't too late.  Maybe I'd made a difference.  And maybe, just maybe...Fred Lipschitz and the Dollar General Store of Butte, Montana would be held accountable for their dastardly crimes against humanity.

(originally posted at

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