My companion said it was time to have a chat about Santa, noting that Saint Nicholas was yet another Jesus devotee.
On a late summer day, God and I were sipping coffee on our favorite bench in Central Park when a little boy came over and said to my woolly-whiskered companion, “Hey, Santa, you got any gifts for me?”
“Not unless you’re interested in getting some strong coffee,” God replied.
After the kid walked away, my companion told me that it would now be appropriate to have a chat about Santa. He wanted to tell me about Saint Nicholas, yet another Jesus devotee, albeit one not nearly as headstrong as Peter. In the Holy Land, he would travel around in a cart pulled by camels and give needy folks food as well as farm implements on Jesus’ birthday.
“Was he a chubby guy in those days?” I asked.
“At first, no, but he ate so much of the food he didn’t succeed in giving away that he became big. Very big. Indeed, he ended up weighing so much that the camels could no longer pull his cart.”
“But he somehow ended up with reindeer?”
“If a person is heavy, it’s much easier for them to be pulled by reindeer over snow and ice than it is to be pulled by camels over desert sand. Thus Saint Nicholas went north, acquired a team of reindeer, and soon became that famous gift-giver Santa Claus. By the way, Santa’s reindeer didn’t fly. They moved so quickly over icy surfaces that they only seemed to be flying.”
“So he now ventured down peoples’ chimneys and delivered gifts on your son’s birthday…”
“…and that turned out to be a problem for someone as large as he was.
He constantly suffered from scrapes, bruises, and lacerations when going down chimneys. His celebrated suit ended up being ripped and torn.”
“Did he ever get in touch with you about this problem?”
“Yes. He asked me to enlarge the size of chimneys so he could go down them without suffering injuries. Sorry, but enlarging chimneys isn’t my bailiwick, I told him. He also got snagged on Christmas trees when he was putting gifts beneath them. Would I mind replacing these trees with potted plants? he said. Not my bailiwick, either, I told him. Thus he began going down fewer chimneys and getting snagged on fewer Christmas trees…”
At this point, the little boy who’d visited us before came back and said to my companion, “My mommy says you’re not Santa Claus? Is that really true?”
“I’m afraid it’s true, sonny,” God replied.
I now stepped in and told the kid that the best place for him to find Santa nowadays would be a mega-mall or perhaps on Amazon.
Part of a series detailing Lawrence Millman’s experiences with his drinking buddy, God. Soon to be gathered together, assuming a publisher is interested, as a mini-memoir entitled “Drinks With God.”