[This was my 1996 Christmas column 14 years ago. Not sure what my problem was, but I was clearly f’d up. Maybe I have “holiday issues.” Strange year, 1996, like so many before and since.]
Santa has received the letters you’ve sent to him over the past several years. Every year you’re grouchy, grumpy, and grinchy, and I’m sure this year is no exception. In hopes of preventing your usual end-of-the-year gripe, I’ve decided to drop you a line personally, just so you know we’re still thinking of you.
I hear you got a new job this year, Rob, working for a men’s magazine in New York City. You may enjoy looking at pictures of naked ladies all day, Rob, but this has landed you on Santa’s “Naughty List.” It’s quite a shame, really—all your talent squandered on a porno rag. I guess you figured it was a step into the world of “big time” publishing. I’m not sure what you stepped in, Rob, but it’s stuck to the bottom of your shoe, and it’s beginning to stink.
Speaking of stepping in things, Rob, I understand you’ve been volunteering at the local animal shelter this year. This is a good thing (not enough to move you to the “Nice List,” but it’s a start). Santa got a big laugh when he heard you played “Santa” during a recent Get Your Pet’s Picture Taken With Santa event. Kind of strange, don’t you think, a Scrooge like yourself dressing up like jolly “Ol’ St. Nick.” A literary type like yourself must surely appreciate the irony of that situation.
There have been other moments of reprieve for you this year, Rob. Like that time the bag lady on the subway asked you for money because she was hungry, and you gave her a couple of bucks. But generally, Rob, you’ve been more naughty than nice this year. This is the case year after year. Santa’s beginning to think you might be a perennially naughty person, and you’re dangerously close to being added to his “No-Way List” (an unfortunate roster of non-believers who have been written off by Santa.)
This will be the second Christmas without your father, Rob, and I’m sure you miss him very much. But please don’t blame Santa for his death—Santa’s not God, after all, just a guy who distributes gifts every December 25. For a non-believer, you sure ask Santa for a lot. Don’t hold it against him when you can’t get everything you want. And take a little responsibility for your own actions, for a change.
In closing, I just wanted to wish you a good holiday, Rob. I’m sure you won’t appreciate the spirit of the season until it’s over, and then it will be too late. But keep up those good deeds next year, and you might just find yourself on that “Nice List” after all. It’s up to you.
PS—Santa really resented that comment about his weight in last year’s letter. Have you looked at yourself in the mirror lately?
Reprinted courtesy of Wayne TODAY, December 1996