Deciding Who Has Been Naughty
or Nice By Don Urbanus
Santa was in a
quandary again. He had survived last year’s ups and downs and near disasters
like the lead paint scare on toys made in China. And because there wasn’t much
left of the North Pole, he had moved his toy shop (of the toys he still made) to
inside Shasta Mountain in northern California. He had found that the Lemurians
who had been hiding inside the mountain for the last 50,000 years were quite
cooperative. Most helpful of all were the Sasquatchians – a small band of the
Northern Bigfoot tribe, who had filled in for the elves when they went on strike
a few years ago. They weren’t very good at building toys but, man, they could
really load his sleigh fast.
Now that fuel prices had dropped Santa didn’t have
to worry so much about the price of jet fuel. For years he had “assisted” his
aging reindeer with their task of carrying toys all over the world. Frankly, he
just couldn’t be that sentimental anymore. He needed younger and savvier
reindeer. Poor old Rudolph, whose red nose had swollen so much from hitting the
Peppermint Schnapps, had been replaced last year with Rosy, a petite female
reindeer who had an uncanny sense of direction. Because she weighed so much
less than Rudolph, he saved on fuel. It was a sign of the times.
But this year, with
corrupt politicians, greedy CEO's, unscrupulous lenders, incompetent
bureaucrats, and clueless consumers practically destroying the economy, there
was a real overload on deciding who had been naughty and nice this year. Of
course, Santa had decided to cross Dick Cheney off his list altogether. It
didn’t do any good whatsoever giving Cheney a lump of coal. He was proud of it
and displayed it on his mantel where everyone could see. Some people just don’t
Santa was agonizing
over what to do with George W. Bush. Here was a Harris poll that had George as
one of the top ten presidents of all time. Another poll taken at the same time
had him as the worst president ever. Santa was in a sensitive position. He
wanted to do the right thing. Sure, the computers sorted out most of the little
people on the planet; they were easy really – right and wrong, good and bad. It
was these high profile cases that kept him up nights. He called his head elf,
Elwynn, over to help him out.
“Look, Santa,” Elwynn
said, looking over his glasses at the poll numbers, “You can’t take polls too
seriously. Besides, I doubt if most Americans could even name ten presidents.
It’s your call, Santa, but I think that you ought to give W. that new chain saw
that he put on his list. I mean, he’s got a lot of brush to clear on his ranch
and he won’t have anything else to do. Anyway, he thought he was doing the
right thing even if he did screw everything up.”
Santa frowned and
slowly shook his head. “And he didn’t bomb Iran like Cheney wanted. That has
to count for something. OK, put him down for the chain saw.” Santa flipped
open the next file and tossed it over to Elwynn. “And this fellow?”
Elwynn squinted at
the name on the top. “Oh, Governor Rod Blagojevich of Illinois? Didn’t you
give him some lotion so he could grow an extra thick head of hair?”
“I did,” Santa
replied, “And because of that they elected him governor. Now he’s selling
Barack Obama’s senate seat out to the highest bidder. Surely he should get a
lump of coal.”
“Hmm, I see what you
mean,” Elwynn said, rubbing his pointy chin. “A politician trying to enrich
himself in office and abusing his power. An egomaniac declaring his innocence
and refusing to resign. Seems like your typical average politician to me.
What’s your point?”
“Shouldn’t we make an
example of him?” Santa asked.
“Well then, you would
have to give every politician in the country a lump of coal,” Elwynn scoffed.
“Well, at least
Congress and the Whitehouse are working, trying to fix the economy,” Santa
“Yes, that’s true,”
agreed Elwynn, “but if by working you mean giving away a trillion dollars to
investment bankers and speculators who screwed up, then by all means, give them
more of what they want. I don’t know, Santa, you make the big calls here. Oh,
by the way, Mrs. Santa said that you forgot to renew her membership in Curves.
And please don’t forget to get her something for Christmas this year. I’m tired
of covering your… ” Elwynn glanced over where an elf was frantically waving a
portable phone in the air, trying to get his attention. He sighed and strode
away. It was the China phone. Now what?
Santa sat there deep
in thought stroking his white beard. He glanced over at one of the storerooms
loaded with lumps of coal. That was one thing he had plenty of. He thought
about all of the kids who might not get any presents or even have a home this
year because of all the foreclosures. He picked up the entire file on his desk
and deposited it into the naughty box next to his desk. He felt a big weight
lift off his chest. Santa took a deep breath and stood up, determined to make
this the best Christmas for as many people in the world as he could.
(Printed in the Calaveras