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Get that fat red man out of my chimney

Nik Dirga, Sierra Sun editor

It’s hard to decide what is more frightening: a big fat man all clad in red living in the Arctic Circle with a bunch of elves and reindeer, or a radiation-mutated eight-foot-tall rabbit egg thief.

Some people find the concepts of Santa Claus and his rodent holiday companion the Easter Bunny reassuring, like warm cocoa on a snowy night.

But as a wee child, they were mysterious mythic totems to me, like unicorns and hobgoblins –Estrange creatures you didn’t know whether to fear or to worship. Kin of the boogeyman, figures held out to persuade you to act righteously in all matters, or terrible things would happen to you.

Take Mr. Claus. Here is a figure who holes up at the North Pole for 364 days a year, venturing out for one night annually, to deliver toys and candy only to those children who are “good.” This hefty enforcer of morality keeps an enemies list, much like Nixon, of who’s “naughty” and who’s “nice.” How does he know? Was he wire-tapping all our homes? Did he see me when I stole the Playboy from the thrift store and then buried it in the back yard in a plastic bag?

The nice kids had Mr. Claus slide down their chimney (using some trick of quantum physics that I never fully understood) and leave them toys and, a little too often, sweaters and socks.

But what happens to the bad kids?

Yes, I know the old trope about the “lump of coal” that Santa would leave you if you were bad.

But have you ever in your life actually ever heard of any kid getting petroleum by-products for Christmas, no matter how bad he was?

I know of a few squinty-eyed bullies from my youth, whose foul deeds throughout the year (throwing my bike in the creek, giving me Indian burns ’til I bled) would surely seem to merit a bin full of nastiness.

Yet come the day after Christmas, they would be parading about the neighborhood with brand-new remote-control airplanes or spiffy Star Wars figures, evil smirks on their faces.

Bad deeds, it seemed, went unpunished. Nobody cared what Santa did, because he apparently gave toys to all and coal to none.

It’s like having court systems with no jail. The Christmas system is broke. Without bad, how can we quantify good?

Thus, I am petitioning for a new Santa Claus to be appointed — it’s time to retire senile ol’ Saint Nick, who obviously has lost his moral compass after forty kajillion years of gift-giving and living in the snow with the elves.

Besides, I’m in favor of term limits.

There is no shortage of public figures who could be the new Santa Claus.

Quaker Oatmeal spokesman Wilford Brimley has grandfatherly warmth combined with a refreshing sternness, and a Dirty Harry-esque squint in his eye that promises bad kids won’t slip through the cracks any more if he became the man in the red suit.

For that matter, Clint Eastwood himself, getting on in years, wouldn’t make a bad Santa. He would probably modernize things a bit, trading in Rudolph and the reindeer for a nice F-15 bomber so he could strafe neighborhoods with toys.

Vice President Dick Cheney has kept out of the public eye a lot lately. With his new clandestine profile, he would make a perfect Santa Claus. He obviously enjoys figuring out who’s naughty or nice. Picking Cheney would give the added bonus of offering Santa Secret Service protection, which could only help if the occasional ornery kid is encountered.

Let’s get the ball rolling now — I call for new elections for the Santa Claus office.

I will not rest until all bullies get the coal they deserve.

Sierra Sun Editor Nik Dirga grew up in Nevada County. He is still waiting on the Star Wars Death Star playset he asked Santa for at age 8, which explains his Grinchiness.


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