Mark Hunter (ozma914) wrote,
Mark Hunter
ozma914

next week's column: Leave Santa Alone

SLIGHTLY OFF THE MARK


Leave Santa alone.

Yes, I know he’s not a real person. I’m well aware he’s not directly connected to the true meaning of Christmas. I know many kids have that traumatic moment when they come to realize it was their parents who sneaked out at night to put gifts under the tree, and -- by gosh -- they probably ate the milk and cookies, too. Maybe even the carrots for Rudolph.

But until then, there’s Santa, and Santa is for kids. Leave him alone.

Santas in Sydney, Australia, have been instructed not to say “Ho, ho, ho” anymore, because it may be offensive to women. You see, “Ho”, is a slang term for a prostitute in the United States.

Never mind that when a good Santa says “Ho, ho, ho,” it comes out as more of a laugh than a series of individual words. Never mind that if a kid knows the other definition of “Ho”, they’ve got bigger problems than what Santa’s saying.

Never mind that this comes from Australia, where “Ho” is NOT a slang term for prostitute.

Leave Santa alone.

Some so-called experts who apparently once got coal in their stockings blame Santa for childhood obesity. He’s fat, you see. Remember that scene from “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”, when Mrs. Claus bugs Santa to eat because kids expect a fat Santa? That’s a no-no. No, not a ho-ho, so we’re okay there, although maybe Santa’s been eating too many Ho-ho’s – and how long before somebody demands Hostess change the name of that treat, since it might be making prostitutes fat?

Santa’s a role model, you see. Dr. Miles Fisher of the Glasgow Royal Infirmary, whose parents probably bought him socks and sweaters for Christmas, says “Santa is the archetypal picture of abdominal obesity.”

Any kid trying to read that sentence is off playing with their new Bratz doll before
they get past “archetypal”, assuming Bratz dolls haven’t been recalled for their roll in making children brats, especially children who eat Ho Ho’s.

“If you have obesity around your tummy,” Dr. Fisher goes on, “then it is very bad for you.”

Can’t argue that. I can giggle at a grown man using the term “tummy”, but that would be cheap. Instead, I’ll point out that the main complaint seems to be that Santa is a role model.

Oh, really?

How many kids come out of Christmas saying, “I want to be Santa when I grow up! Where can I go to college for that? Do they have a ride-along program? Mommy, get me some Ho Ho’s – I want to be fat someday, just like Santa!”

Well, maybe some kids do. That’s when you take them aside and say, “Santas start out thin, kiddo –there’s only so much room on the sled, and when you’re in training you need to be able to wedge in next to the big guy.” Believe me, that white lie will be forgotten the first time your kid finds the Santa costume in your closet, then sees the collection of Playboys under it. Nobody said growing up was easy, even before Ho Ho’s.

Kids don’t want to be Santa -- the truth is, most are terrified of Santa. They want him to leave the presents and get out, then they want the fireplace blockaded and padlocked. They just don’t say it because hey -- presents.

Role model? It’s like saying your kids want to be like some dysfunctional pop star with a combo eating/drug problem who’s forgotten how to put underwear on. Okay, bad example.

Children don’t think of Santa being fat. Some would call Santa on it if he had a pipe clenched between his teeth, but that went away a long time ago. It’s the parents, and who cares what the parents think? He’s Santa. As long as he’s not a pervert, let him be.

Santa’s going green now, literally. In a new children’s book, Santa discovers the North Pole is melting because of global warming. He invests in wind and solar power for his factory, dons green suits, makes a movie about his slideshow tour, and nobody notices his energy wasting mansion and his reindeer releasing huge amounts of greenhouse gasses as he flies around every year, putting fossil fuel (coal) into stockings.

Oh, sorry … did I politicize Santa? I guess I forgot my point, which is this:

He’s Santa! He’s there for kids, doggone it! Kids should learn about world issues, but not here, not now. Leave Santa alone!

Oh, I understand Santa’s going to change over time. He used to be the thin, rather stern St. Nicholas, a whole lot scarier than the guy we see today. Maybe, a century from now, he’ll be a model of political correctness, covered head to toe in an baggy green burka so we can’t tell his size, sex, color, or political affiliation.

Maybe the reindeer will ride in his electric powered sleigh, full partners rather than slaves of the scary toymaker. Instead of elves he’ll have associates. He won’t be at the North Pole anymore – that would be seen as a slam against people from the South, not to mention the Polish nation. Every Winter Holiday he’ll bring learning devices to all the unisex children, taking absolutely no notice of whether they’re good or bad, because the little tykes shouldn’t think the world is an unfair place, should they?

Which will be something of a full circle. Here I am complaining when we put our adult phobias onto Santa Claus, but someday the PC police might make him part of their campaign to shield children from real life until it’s too late to learn how to deal with real life. The PC Police get to have their low calorie carrot cake and eat it, too.

Santa’s not about appearance: Fat or skinny, red or green, none of that really matters. It’s about kids and, yes, the spirit of giving. If you believe the kids think it’s all about getting, go talk to them – you might be surprised. Most kids get it, where sadly, the adults don’t. All they want is their Santa – leave him alone.

Now I’m depressed. I’m going to go have a Ho Ho.


Tags: column, new era, slightly off the mark
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