By Joe Barkovich, Scribbler-at-large, with input from Bill Vigars
I tracked down a Santa from the past for this interview. He’s not what you would expect.
Q: Be honest with me: Do you ever get tired of this gig?
A: Come on paperboy, who would get tired of this. I work one day a year, get enough cookies to keep me the sweetie pie people think I am, and to top it off, unpaid non-union help by a bunch of elves that eat little and are always happy. That last part by the way, the happy, happy crap, sometimes gets on my nerves, but I digress.
Q: OK, so what gets you through the night: Rudolph’s uncanny sense of direction, or GPS?
A: Silly question young fellow. No disrespect to the leader of the pack – Gosh I loved that song, do you remember the Shangri-Las? – but Rudolph has quietly been put on the back burner. No not literally, but he’s come close. His lingonberry ‘habit’ has landed him in rehab more than once over the last 800 years. Yes, lingonberry, not Crystal Beach loganberry which is hard to find up here. That red nose does not come naturally. As far as a GPS, I’m not sure what that is exactly. The sleigh was updated with electronics a few years ago and I do enjoy a good game of Donkey Kong on it, a game that is much further advanced than my other favorite Ping Pong. So, to answer your question, what gets me through the night, Jamieson’s. 48 oz. From the Duty Free.
Q: Everyone knows how much you do for others this time of year. So what’s in it for you?
A: Silverware. Cutlery. You would be absolutely amazed at how much people have in their homes. I collect spoons because I play the spoons in the Santa’s Workshop Quartet and the North Pole Symphony. There is so much silverware folks don’t miss a few spoons, even a tea service now and then, ho ho ho! The sleigh is loaded down big time on the way back home. Oh, and of course I do all this nighttime travel to bring happiness to children and make Mrs. Claus’s dreams come true. Of course!
Q: Do thoughts about succession dance in your head – like selling out to Amazon.com maybe?
A: I tried to do a deal with some folks near the Amazon a couple of years ago, but had to turn tail what with the rain of arrows that greeted me from the beach. I do have several things dancing in my head most of the time but have to think fast when Mrs. Claus says to me, “What are you thinking about, honey?” Milk and cookies, she falls for that every time. If I hung up the old sack, shaved this itchy beard and headed south, what would I do? I hate golf. I have no friends to hang with (I’ve had too much quality time with the elves) and Mrs. Claus would be sending me to the store for another package of This and That. No, I’m in this for the long run, not that 947 years hasn’t been a good run.
Q: I’m just being nosy and you don’t have to answer this – did you get a letter from President Trump?
A: Don’t get me started about Orange Face. Oops, sorry, Santa is supposed to be jolly, but that little kid has walked into too many door frames. His letters to Santa are illegible, he does not play well with others and every time he says he is going to leave me milk and cookies.. zilch! Not only that, but he leaves a bill expecting me to pay for a wall to keep the elves out that I send down to check whether he has been good or bad! Can you imagine? On the upside, the lumps of coal I have given him over the years have kept 200 Pennsylvania miners employed for the past 30 years.
Q: Leafs or Habs? Or is there someone else?
A: Is there someone else, you sound like my wife. Of course there is someone else. The Buffalo Bills. Bills-Leafs-Leafs-Bills. Sure, I know it’s football but they need all the fans they can get. They’ve provided more disappointment than the remake of the “The Fly”. Come on, Jeff Goldblum is no Vincent Price. As far as the Habs go, they’ve never recovered from Guy Lafleur’s retirement.
Q: How do you chill when your long night is over?
A: Jamieson’s. The one I stash in the barn. After the deer have been fed…I like to mess with them. They return stuffed with crappy carrots and healthy goodies (yuck) and I lay out this meal of deer food. They loathe it. They stare at it and silently swear at me in deer, a language I have never been able to master, but I get their message, usually on the stable floor. Oh dear! After that it’s into the house where Mrs. Claus has the new spoons out for rehearsal and some fresh-baked cookies. I smile at her, grit my teeth and silently sit down. Of course she asks, wait for it…wait for it: “What are you thinking about, dear?” She never disappoints me, what a gal!
Gotta go paperboy. Make sure you are in bed early and feel free to leave a pizza this year. Merry Christmas to all and to all, whatever.
(Q&A is a new feature on the blog, this is the third. Previous: Q&A: Food Drive Afterthoughts (November 6); Q&A: Paul Turner, Trustee-Elect (November 28)