Saturday, December 13, 2003

An open letter to Santa Claus

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Dear Santa Claus:

I’ll be frank with you. I know I say this every year, and every year you give me gifts that are decent enough but not mind-boggling or anything — hey, I know you’re busy with the actual children, whatever — but I’ve been really good in 2003. I mean excellent.

I’ve made my own list, which I will now share with you. You’re not the only overweight guy who can make lists, wiseguy. We’ll only have to check this baby once.

Like, you know how my little problem with putting my clothes in the hamper instead of leaving them on the floor? I did it twice last week.

There was also that time in April when I did the dishes.

And have you heard about that bozo in the Jeep who cut me off on Route 24 yesterday? The one with the pathetic excuse for a goatee and the backwards baseball hat? Despite my better judgment, and even though the jerk had it coming, I did not give him the bird.

Ask my dental hygienist, Ruth, how good I’ve been. She said that, at my most recent visit, my teeth were a little cleaner than last time. The facts speak for themselves.

Other personal references are available upon request.

Just to show you how nice I am, I’ll go ahead and tell you that I’ve occasionally been naughty. Hey, I’m being honest, right? And honesty is good, and good equals presents. You said it, not me.

One time last month, when I was in the Stop & Shop parking lot in Somerset, I saw this old lady waiting for a space. No, Santa, I didn’t steal the space from her. I’m not that naughty. But some other guy did — some little bozo in a Jeep, actually. Anyway, the lady got all flustered, and even though her windows were rolled up, I could read, very distinctly, some bad words on her lips. The naughty part was that I snickered at her.

I guess you had to be there.

And recently, I found a dime on the floor at work and pocketed it without asking around first whose it was.

I also shouted three times, cried once, and pouted twice.

You see, Santa? You see how tame my naughtiness has been this year? Nothing to worry about.

Now that we have gotten this little unpleasantness out of the way, here’s what I’d like:

1. My car is making a funny noise. When I start it up on cold days, it’s got a rattle under the hood somewhere. It goes away after a while, particularly if I heat it up before driving, but who has time for that?

So what I’m saying is, I’d like either a Mini Cooper or a Honda Element. Surprise me!

2. Have you ever had the chourico rolls at New York Bagel, Santa? Trust me, they’re worth the trip. It’s like there’s a whole link of chourico in there. And the bread is a little bit sweet, the chourico not too salty. I could use a couple of those.

Get a few for yourself, while you’re at it.

3. I’m really not sure how tall you are, but you seem short.

I’m not criticizing — I’m short, too. That’s why I grew the beard, so people would stop asking if I was skipping school. That’s probably why you have one, as well.

Let’s say my wife and I want to get a good table at a restaurant, and I have to intimidate the host with my imposing mass. I would need to be tall for that, correct? It would be even more impressive if I could grow larger before his eyes.

I can see why being tall has its disadvantages, though, so I really don’t want to be tall forever. For instance, I can’t fit in the Mini Cooper (see above) if I’m 9-foot-something.

So it seems what I really want is the ability to change my height with the power of my mind. I’m not sure how you would wrap this.

4. I don’t know what channels you get, but down here we have a nice television show called “The Price is Right.” You have to guess the prices of ordinary household objects, and if you do so well enough, you win fantastic prizes like new ranges, dinette sets, foosball tables, sailboats, and cars.

If you could pull some strings (come on — you have strings), I would like to visit this show and meet host Bob Barker.

I would also like to “come on down” and be a contestant. If possible, I’d like to play “Plinko,” which is the show’s most fun game. That’s the one where you slide up to five chips on a board, and depending on which slot they land in, you can win $10,000 each time.

I understand if this is beyond your powers, but if it isn’t, I’d like to win the maximum amount at “Plinko,” which is $50,000.

And when contestants spin the big wheel to see who makes the final round, I’d like to win there, too. Yes, and it would be great if I could win a showcase at the end.

My winning showcase could contain either a Mini Cooper or a Honda Element (see above). Just an idea — I don’t want to tell you how to do your job.

5. This one is going to sound really weird ... but do you have any spare athletic socks? The good kind, preferably white? I have some old socks and some new socks, and I’d really like to get rid of all the old ones. It’s been tough finding time to hit Target and buy them.

You probably don’t get much of this.

That’s all I can think of for now. I’m sure a few other things will spring to mind later, so I’ll just e-mail them over.



P.S.: I have milk but I’m out of cookies. If you could leave some behind — Pepperidge Farms, either the mint Milanos or the chocolate chip ones with the huge chunks of chocolate — that would be super.

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