First-time parents are always apologizing for the very normal things their kids are doing. I’m sure I did it, too. It’s annoying. It wasn’t like they’d dragged her to a Poetry Reading at the trendy coffeehouse, we were standing in a mall waiting to see Santa Claus. If you’re in this line and not accustomed to the shrill sounds of tricycle motors, you’re shit out of luck. I knew why the kid was screaming like a banshee. She had a bow size of the Hubble Telescope slapped to the side of her head and was dressed from head to toe in stiff, hot, itchy clothing. Every five seconds someone was shaking a noise-making apparatus in her face and speaking to her like she was a moron. I’d be screaming too.
“When is Santa gonna be back from lunch, mommy?” “Soon, buddy. I hope he skipped the Eggnog and went straight for the Whiskey.” “What?” “Nothing, I was thinking out loud, pumpkin.” I’ve been making the pilgrimage to the mall to have my son’s picture taken with Santa for the past five years. I have never arrived at an hour when Santa was not on his lunch or coffee break. Not only does the bastard steal my glory, he wastes my time. The man that brought me so much enjoyment as a child is quickly becoming number one on my hit list.
Santa came back from lunch to roaring applause. It must be good to be him, I never got a standing ovation when I came back to work from a long lunch. The baby in front of us predictably wailed through her photo session. “Oh my God! She never acts like this,” her father exclaimed. I wanted to shove the rattle down his throat and scream “the reason she never does this is because you never dress her up like a doll and hand her to a very hairy stranger, while crowds of people stand around and watch. What’s wrong with you, you fucking retard?” I didn’t though, not in front of the fat man. You’d have been proud of me.
My son waited patiently for his turn. He was determined to make the most of his Santa meet and greet. With the Toys R Us ad under his arm, he walked over to the bearded elf and introduced himself. He shook his hand, climbed up on his lap and whipped out the ad. He had circled some toys he thought were noteworthy. It always surprises me when he acts like this, this is a child that has peppered pretty much everything he’s said to me for the past six weeks with the words “poop” or “butt”. I was afraid that Santa was going to ask him what he wanted for Christmas and he was going to reply “Poop poop pee doop”. Actually, I wasn’t afraid, that would have been hilariously awesome.
The photographer interrupted their business meeting to snap the picture, after this Santa lifted my son off of his lap. He thought he was done, but my son had a few more speaking points. “I’m not on the Naughty List, wright?” he asked. Santa agreed. “So, you’re sure there will be prwesents? I just want to make sure I’m on the Good List. Do you have a copy of the list on you? I’d like to see it.” my little man wanted proof. “The list is in the North Pole,” Santa was quick on his feet. “You can’t get it on your phone? I saw you on the iPhone commercial. You asked the lady in the phone to get it for you,” my son was quicker. “I left my phone in the Sleigh. It’s charging.” Santa confessed. “You should go get it, my Mom never leaves her phone is the car. She says someone might steal it.” “I’m sure you’re on the Nice List,” Santa finally relented. “See? I told you,” the boy said to me as we walked away. “Do you want to see the picture?” I asked. “No, I know what we look like,” he chirped as he bounced through the mall.
It was nearly 11:00 a.m., Christmas morning when my son finally opened his eyes. I had to wake him. “Santa came!” I announced. “Whatever. Can I have some chocolate milk?” he asked as he dismissed me from his room. He was pretty sure their meeting went well. Although he did point out that he didn’t get everything on his list. “I asked him to upgrade my vehicle. He missed the green trwuck,” he whispered to me after all the presents had been opened. “If he’d had his phone, he would have been able to snap a picturwe.” I’m sure Santa will have to sit through a Power Point presentation and sign a contract next year. I hope he’s prepared.