Sunday, December 25, 2005

Santa Claus: The Untold Story

The legacy of Santa Claus is one of the most debated subjects of our time. While most know him as a jolly fat man in a red suit who slides down chimmneys and delivers gifts to children all over the world, others know a different man. Saying he is a man guilty of crimes involving slave labor and animal abuse, Santa's detractors describe him as a white-bearded, fat-bellied tyrant who is unfit for society.

Tonight, we will study this Machiavellian figure who lives in the outer reaches of Earth's Arctic wasteland, the North Pole. Who was he? What has he done? How does he continue to be so successful? It should be noted Santa refused comment for this investigation, but the stories involved come from those with a knowledge of the man known as Santa Claus.

The story of Santa Claus begins before he was known by his commonly recognized moniker. Originally Sherman McBride, he was a resident of West Bend, Wisc. who was known to go on 12-hour drinking binges. While drunk, he would eventually break into department stores, steal toys and then deliver them to houses in the area. He would do this while wearing a bright red leisure suit, and while it was viewed as being cute for awhile and downright heroic by the children, some townspeople and local merchants soon grew weary of McBride's drunk Robin Hoodian adventures.

West Bend authorities did not feel compelled to send McBride to jail, but rather banished him to "areas not suitable for normal human life and a place where he won't damage the social thread of everyday society." Nobody quite knew what this meant, but one day in 1958, McBride was found lying in an alley drunk off his ass and put in the trunk of a limegreen Ford Fairline and driven to the North Pole. Somewhere along the way in the upper reaches of Canada, his captors decided to kidnap a woman named Edna Sanders so McBride wouldn't be alone at the eventual destination. Eventually, they arrived in the North Pole. It was a long journey, and McBride did not quite know what to do. With a strange woman who seemed to not want to be there, McBride decided in the midst of yet another bender to change his name to Santa Claus. It seemed different enough. He did not want to be Sherman McBride anymore.

On a walk with Edna on a mild -25 degree day, Santa noticed a group of elves milling about. He figured that he could use the only residents of this desolate land for his personal bidding somehow. Remembering back to his days of plundering stores, he decided to go on nighttime raids of elf camps where he and Edna would kidnap entire families of elves. Once back at Santa's newly constructed factory and encampment, the elves would be put through rigourous 18 hour workdays (with one 15 minute) break building toys for the next year's Christmas.

Santa decided on Christmas because he could only travel one day a year now with his remote outpost in the North Pole. How to do the traveling was one question he pondered day and night. However, one drunken night, he came to the conclusion that flying reindeer was the answer. So he and Edna rounded up any stray reindeer in the area they could find. While eating dinner, Edna asked Santa just how he planned to make the reindeer fly. Angrily, he said, "Damn, woman! Magic dust, what else?" and commanded her to make magic dust. Surprisingly, she was able to do so, and the reindeer flew.

While vodka plus reindeer torture was one of his favorite pastimes, the reindeer named Rudolph was the one Santa enjoyed ostrisizing the most. Not only did Rudolph have a bright red nose that glowed in the dark, he was not the brightest one of the group. Santa commented regularly that "despite his goddamn red spotlight of a nose, that damn reindeer couldn't find his ass with both hooves in the dark." Only on a foggy night when Rudolph was his only option did Santa give him any benefit. After the successful flight, together, Santa and Rudolph became the stars of the North Pole and Christmas. However, Santa did all he could to prevent his now-prized reindeer from receiving too much credit. At one low point in both of their lives and careers, Santa introduced Rudolph to horrors of heroin and cocaine. While he eventually recovered thanks to the magic workings of the Chief Elf, Rudolph never fully trusted Santa again. Due to Santa's status as an unquestionable figure, he never faced the consequences of his actions.

But despite his being one of history's most infamous elf, labor and animal rights abusers and generally being recognized as an incorrigible drunk prick, Santa remains a beloved figure around the world. Thanks to an ever-expanding public relations campaign, Santa's image becomes softer and more cuddly every year as his real personality becomes increasingly malevolent, darker and disturbing.


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