Tuesday, December 23, 2008


    Here's the thing about my nine year-old son, Gabriel. He is a humongous nerd, obsessed with building Lego play sets and playing Halo video games. He is racked by social anxiety and has trouble concentrating in school. And despite all of this, he is convinced that he is right about everything.
    He reminds me of someone...
    Oh, wait. I remember now. It's me.
    And here's the other thing about Gabriel. Though he loves me, he clearly thinks I'm a moron.
    The other day, for instance, my younger son Julian asked me about Santa Claus while we played in the front yard. By playing, I mean that the kids were hurling a football and I was drinking a Pete's Cherry Wheat in a pink plastic Adirondack chair.
    "Dad," said Julian, "How old is Santa?"
    This was a relative easy question, as far as Santa questions go, and I jumped on it.
    "Santa is thousands of years old, Julian."
    He seemed placated by my answer and since placation is really all you can hope for when you answer your children's questions, I took a satisfied swig.
    "That's ridiculous!"
    I turned to see Gabriel rolling his eyes.
    "Excuse me?"
    "Santa is not thousands of years old," Gabriel retorted. "The Santa Claus position is thousands of years old. It's actually passed down from person to person, like a king or a queen. Nobody lives for a thousand years."
    I looked squarely at this little blond kid with the serious look on his face.
    "It does sound stupid now that I think about it."
    "Sheesh!" he answered.
    "What if I told you Santa Clause was a vast conspiracy by adults to make kids believe in an imaginary being? What if I told you also that adults formulated this conspiracy without ever actually discussing it? Further, would you believe that most parents have no clear idea why they're part of this vast conspiracy? And what if I told you parents buy all of the toys at Christmas and give the credit to this imaginary Santa because they love their children and don't care about getting the credit for it?"
    Gabriel didn't hesitate. "That's ridiculous!"
    "Yeah," I said. "I suppose it is."



Anonymous said...

He is right of course - the elves live for thousands of years as elves are known to do. Each millennium one of the many elves at the north pole is elected to retire from the life of immortality - this means of course that the elf is allowed to grow into a mountain of a man and serve the world as Santa for 1000 years before moving on to the next world. At the election of the next elf. It is well know that this 1000 years of good deeds as Santa is required for an elf to elevate from this world to the next. I am not surprised that Gabriel saw through your less than accurate answer - after all he has a book of wisdom dedicated to him.

Merry Christmas to you all.

Grim Richard said...

You make a good point.

Den, of Earth said...

Conspiracy? What!?