Have Yourself a Merry Little BLEEP
These days, it’s politically correct to use the word HOLIDAY instead of CHRISTMAS—which might offend people of other faiths who have not accepted December 25 as their Shopping Deadline. For this reason, today’s column has been programmed with a seven-second delay and an automatic BLEEP function that’s still in Beta, so even though it censors the CH-word we can’t predict what word will replace it. But never mind. We’re still allowed to say SANTA CLAUS, which happens to be our topic. Today we present the biography of this beloved saint and his rise to international celebrity as a symbol of hope and generosity, for whom I have just completed my annotated 2005 HOLIDAY Wish List Directory. And installed a fireplace.
The Santa we know and love today and read about in The National Enquirer has been revealed to us in stages, beginning as an Old World legend and emerging as an equal opportunity employee at Macy’s. Our story begins in fourth-century Turkey with a wealthy Bishop named Nicholas, who was a generous benefactor of children way before the days of tax-deductible donations. He was even known to throw gifts through their windows, presumably while they were open. Canonized by the church, St. Nicholas has been remembered around the world by many names including Kris Kringle, Santa Claus, and Father BLEEP. And in 17th century Netherlands, children awaited the arrival of Sinter Klaas who flew from rooftop to rooftop on his white horse throwing sweets down the chimney every December 5th,presumably to beat the BLEEPIDAY rush.
In the 1600s, the kind St. Nick immigrated to New Amsterdam where he learned to speak English with a Brooklyn accent. And in 1823, the first eyewitness finally caught the Saint in the act of playing Santa. In his exclusive, tell-all poem, ‘Twas The Night Before BLEEPING. Clement C. Moore reveals his vision of a miniature sky-born sleigh drawn by eight tiny reindeer, driven by an elf-size St. Nick who enters Moore’s home via chimney—an act which today would prompt a 911 call, bowlful of jelly or not.
Moore’s exposé was a PR coup that would make Santa synonymous with THE CH-WORD. The Saint landed two whopping decades of North Pole coverage in Harper’s magazine BLEEPIDAY issues. And in 1931, Coca-Cola signed him for a product placement deal whose posters inflated Santa to human size and whose royalties inflated him to Godzilla. Santa’s new image meant he was no longer miniature, but the elf legend went north, generating a tireless crew of North Pole toymakers that would later inspire production standards for companies like Nike, who didn’t realize that BLEEPING elves get six months’ paid vacation.
By the 1900s Santa had a crackerjack agent. Soon the man who’d been making-a-list-and-checking-it-twice was not only immortalized in popular music, he scored the Hollywood role of a lifetime in Miracle on 34th Street cast as himself. Santa had arrived, and not just by chimney.
Today we can only marvel that the tireless Saint is still on the job in spite of its hazards, deadlines, and sleigh insurance. And that his fame never goes to his red-capped noggin while cruising Beverly Hills in his Mercedes SL600 Sky Roadster. Yet the world’s most familiar man still remains a mystery. Until we get him on Larry King we can only quote him, “Merry BLEEPINGHOLIDAY to all and to all a good night.”
Copyright 2005 Patricia Draznin