It is the week before Christmas and all through the house every darned thing is stirring and I wish they would calm down so I could get some sleep. (I don’t think the poem would have become such a big part of the holiday season if it had started that way.) Even though at the writing of these words it is over 60 degrees outside it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas. I take that back. It has been beginning to look a lot like Christmas since October 15th if you count going into major chain retail establishments. But I digress. Christmas is nearly here and at my house much of the decorations are in place, many presents are under the tree and the bank accounts are properly depleted so let the holidays commence.
This really is a Christmas story so stick with me to the very end. You know how people tell the story of how Bruce Lee was such an amazing martial artist he had the ability to reach up into a person’s chest, pluck the heart from the thoracic cavity and show it to the person before their inevitable death. (See I told you you’d have to wait until the end.) Well, it is not just Bruce Lee who can do that. I once had an eight-year-old do that to me.
I was playing the part of Santa Claus. If there any believers reading this column I was simply standing in for the jolly old elf due to an unavoidable scheduling conflict with the Macy’s in New York City. You don’t mess with Macy’s. There was a sizable line of hopeful children lined up to sit on my lap and make their demands, uh, requests. After the usual number of requests for video games, electronic devices and the occasional throwback requests like dolls and BB guns, a particularly adorable girl approached me. She perched on my knee and looked at me with brown eyes which may have been partially to blame for global warming. She did not ask for a doll, a video game or straight cash. She said her aunt was very sick and wondered if I could make her better.
Now, everyone who knows me knows I have no problem talking. At this time I lost the power of speech. I looked at her. I then looked directly at my feet, the clock on the wall, the particularly ugly Christmas sweater worn by grandma number seven taking a few hundred pictures of the oblivious toddler in front of her and the stain on the carpet next to the exit because it is not a good idea to show dozens of small bright-eyed children that Santa can cry like a chronically depressed person watching Tommy Kirk shoot Old Yeller.
I don’t exactly remember what I said to her. I think I tried to explain that Santa and his elves can’t handle that kind of thing. I gave her a hug, more for my benefit than hers, and told her I would try whatever I could to help. Then she walked away, a tiny Bruce Lee, holding my still beating heart in her adorable little hand.
See, I told you it was a Christmas story.
As I said in my last column, I love Christmas. Christmas has a lot of different meanings and messages.
Since I really see my role in this newspaper endeavor as more public goofball than teller of heartfelt stories, I need to end on a different note than my real life story of what is most important at Christmas.
Every year thousands of people, if not millions, watch the 1964 animated Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer, an endearing tale of a group of misfits finding their places in the world. At least that is what we have been brainwashed to believe for years. Take a minute to look more closely. Rudolph is mocked, shunned and eventually driven to self-exile from home and family because of a simple abnormality, not because of anything he purposefully perpetrated on his Rangifer (the genus for reindeer – I looked it up) brethren. It is only when the leader of the elfin sweatshop realizes Rudolph’s abnormality can be exploited for his own personal gain that our hero is accepted. Isn’t that a perfect message for this season of peace on earth and goodwill towards men. (Just not for Rangifer tarandus, the binomial name of reindeer. Like I said, I looked it up.)
Christopher Pyle wishes all of you a wonderful Christmas season no matter your religion or your interpretation of Rudolph but he might mock you if you open presents on Christmas Eve instead of Christmas morning. He can be mocked back at firstname.lastname@example.org.