new york welcomes santa!
i knew it wouldn’t be that simple, standing on the corner, trying to hail a cab to the bar. a small child walked down the street with his mom. “hey, you guys aint santa! santa he be fat an all. you guys are all skinny. there’s only one santa, and you aint him! nyaahhh!” “fuck you kid,” i muttered under my breath. “they’re onto us, santa fuzzy.” “we’ll never catch a cab standing here” replied my intrepid yet worried friend, pjfuzzy. “this is gonna be a tough town to crack.” i had a feeling he was right.
waving a large, hollow, plastic candy cane in the air, i tried to attract the attention of any one of the large numbers of cabbies driving by. “people are staring, santa messiah.” “no kidding? go figure.” but it finally worked, we were on our way to santacon98. we arrived at the appointed rendezvous a little early, so we decided to kill some time in one of the numerous porn shops near the bar. i entered a booth and flipped through 128 channels of very interesting movies, which graphically displayed an amazing assortment of hard kink. 6 dollars later i emerged, dazed, and we headed to the bar. “it’s noon already! santa needs a drink!”
there were 4 santas in the place when we walked in. we ordered some breakfast with our booze, and made small talk with the stranger santas at the table next to ours. a few minutes later, 5 more santas arrived. then 3 more. the bartender looked perplexed, then asked us to move into the back room. within half an hour there were 50 or so santas and ms santas, all clamoring for beer and food. soon it was nearing 100. or maybe more, i dunno, i never did count how many santas there were exactly.
as we finished settling the bill, santa ducky, who apparently was an ex-stripper, announced she was going to give us a guided tour of the peep shows where she used to work before guilliano disneyfied times square. half-lit and in good spirits, we headed south in a mob towards the former sleaze capital of the world. but the manager of the peepshow refused to let us in. i think he was scared. personally i thought we gave up a little easy, i mean, i was all ears as far as hearing about ms. santa’s career before i met her. but the new times square beckoned, a gleaming blinking neon ode to the raging capitalism that had made us santas what we were today.
or was it the un? to be completely honest, i cant really remember exactly what happened when that day. i seem to remember seeing the signs around when i was chasing that big white limo full of cute girls through traffic in times square, but were they putting them together or taking them apart? whatever, they were hilarious, big red tinsel-ly placards covered in slogans like “u.n. off my pole!” and “stop the insantaty!” we waved them in back of the u.n. plaza, singing “deck my balls” for the second or third time that day at the top of our lungs, which drowned out the voices of the handful of santa’s sober enough to realize we were protesting to the wrong end of the building…
then there was the “lost hour” when i blacked out in the indian restaurant after one too many kingfishers. and did that happen before or after i blew my candy cane like some horrible plastic tibetian thighbonehorn, drunkenly trying to jam with the brazillian funk band in the subway? on the way to or from the bar where i used the same candy cane as a sort of 3 foot long “stealth straw” to steal drinks from the patrons of the blarney stone? damn, did i actually touch my lips to that nasty thing after using it like some menacing puff daddy walking cane on the polluted streets of manhattan? and had it already been “handled” by the stripper who wouldn’t strip? how much did i have to give her just to touch it? god, where _did_ all that money go? i tried to make some of it back by hawking this weird chicken/winecork/nail/eyeball thing i stole from another santa’s sack of toys to the crowd in front of the rockefeller center. “look! its a furby! i’m starting the bidding at $500! just $500, i’ve seen these guys going on the internet for $1000……. ok, 100 dollars, i’m selling this furby for 100 dollars! 100… ok, fifty bucks, whaddaya say! anyone? anyone?”
somewhere in all of that, i was staggering around in a fog in the coutyard of a very snooty restaurant. some upper-crusty moms wanted their kids photoed with santa. i, unfortunately, was standing nearest. “HO HO HO HO YOU KNOW I’M REALLY NOT VERY GOOD WITH KIDS, HO HO HO!” i guess mom thought i was kidding, cause she gave one of ‘em a shove and i was immediately swarmed by a bunch of the little grubs for a photo-op. “HO HO HO! SO, UM… HAVE YOU KIDS BEEN GOOD THIS YEAR?” “YES, SANTA!!!!!!” they screamed in unison, inches away from my ear. i grimaced. “HO HO HO, YEAH, I’LL BET YOU HAVE…” they caught the sarcasm in my voice, i could see it in their eyes, the smiles started to drop from their faces. hoping to avoid any uglyness from the father standing nearby, i thought fast. “HO HO HO HO HO! SO, LITTLE GIRL, WHAT DO YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS, HO HO HO HO!” she looked maybe four or five, i think, so i figured she could talk, but her reply left me unsure. “BOO BE BLAH BLAH bo GI goo Goo pah gah BARBIE bOO boo blah!!!” confused, i pondered for a second or two. how did i answer that? “uhhh, kid, i didn’t understand a word you said.” i could tell that was the wrong answer by the way she started to scrunch up her face. her lower lip started to tremble. i was in trouble – if the kid started crying i was sure the establishment wouldn’t let us in to drink, which would be devastating. other santa’s were watching the scene, they all looked a little worried. i tried to ease the tension a little. “HO HO HO HO! OH, A BARBIE! HO HO HO! KID GETS A BARBIE FOR CHRISTMAS, JUST LIKE SHE WANTS HO HO HO HO!” the kid processed the little scene, realized she was still getting barbie for christmas, and decided everything was fine. the little munchkins shrieked with laughter. “HO HO HO HO, THAT’S RIGHT, HO HO HO JUST KEEP SMILING AND NO ONE GETS HURT, HO HO HO HO” mom knew the score. “ok, kids, that’s right, jeanie’s getting a barbie for christmas. now just step away from the santa and come on over to me now…” “HO HO HO THAT’S RIGHT YOU KIDS JUST LISTEN TO YOUR MOM! SANTA NEEDS A DRINK NOW, HO HO HO HO” i staggered away, shaken, to dwell upon the true meaning of christmas. laying down on the ground, staring up at the atrium, of which every square inch was painstakingly covered with twinkling blue lights, i thought about what we all learned from santa…
we learned about lies. santa is all about lying.
every one of us, of our own violition, participates in a mass lie to the entire body of the children of america. we all pretend that there’s this big fat guy that lives on the pure mass of ice that is the north pole, in sub-sub-zero temperature weather, building them all toys, and starring in tons of tv specials, he can fit down chimneys, he has a flying sled pulled by red-nosed reindeer, he turns snowmen real, etc. why? i can hardly say that stuff to kids with a straight face, yet say it i do. without even thinking about it.
but when i do think about it, it strikes me as a really interesting cultural mechanism we’ve developed. to teach kids about lying. i mean, we’re surrounded by lying. people lie. advertisements lie. our friends and loved ones lie, the president lies, even mommy and daddy lie. the cynical kids figure it out first, then clue in the more trusting ones. then they figure the easter bunny’s a fake, too. it’s a real lesson in being fooled. and how to fool people. the kids start to think, “hey, i wonder what else people tell me is bullshit?” well, that’s not such a bad thing, is it? so let’s just stop for a minute and thank santa for the one true gift he’s given us all: cynicism.
THANK YOU SANTA! HO HO HO!
– santa messiah