December 10, 1999
It’s been said that tragedy and disaster build character, and make a person more aware and more appreciative of life. Then again, my parents told me eating my brussels sprouts would build character, when all it really did was make me sick. I can’t think of any successful person who has credited their strength of character and determination to brussels sprouts.
But I digress. Tragedy may build character, but experiencing so many disasters it becomes part of life can actually make a person more superficial. As an example of this I hold up Southern California. Ever since the settlers set their tents up in the shadows of those big white letters, Southern California has had so many earthquakes, riots, floods, and fires they’re not even newsworthy anymore. But what is the biggest concern, according to various commentators, among the beleaguered residents of the West Coast? Holiday pounds. Yes, the warm climate means that affluent Angelinos have to put in extra time on their stair-steppers because they can’t put on bulky clothes to hide their holiday bulk. Those that can either go skiing or visit relatives back East, but for the clumsy and the ones who just don’t like their families, there’s no hope. Actually there’s no hope for anyone who’s so obsessed with their own bodies. Please take my blessing this holiday season and binge. Remember: everything taken to excess is bad for you, and that includes moderation.
Enjoy this week’s offerings.
To: All Parents
CC: Good little boys and girls
From: Santa Claus
Subject: Contract Negotiations, NORTH POLE
I regret to inform you that, effective immediately, I will no longer be able to serve the Southern United States on Christmas Eve. Due to the overwhelming population of the earth, my contract was renegotiated by North American Fairies and Elves Local #209. I now serve only certain areas of Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Michigan. As part of the new and better contract, I also get longer breaks for milk and cookies, so keep that in mind. However, I am certain that your children will be in good hands with your local replacement who happens to be my third cousin, Bubba Claus. His side of the family is from the South Pole. He shares my goal of delivering toys to all the good boys and girls.
However, there are a few differences between us, such as:
There is no danger of The Grinch stealing your presents from Bubba Claus. He has a gun rack on his sleigh and a bumper sticker that reads: "These toys insured by Smith and Wesson."
Instead of milk and cookies, Bubba Claus prefers that children leave RC cola and pork rinds (or a moon pie) on the fireplace. And Bubba doesn’t smoke a pipe. He dips a little snuff though, so please have an empty spit can handy.
Bubba Claus’ sleigh is pulled by floppy-eared, flyin’ coon dogs instead of reindeer. I made the mistake of loaning him a couple of my reindeer one time, and Blitzen’s head now overlooks Bubba’s fireplace.
You won’t hear "On Comet, on Cupid, on Donner and Blitzen…" when Bubba Claus arrives. Instead, you’ll hear, "On Earnhardt, on Wallace, on Martin and Labonte. On Rudd, on Jarrett, on Elliott and Petty."
"Ho, ho, ho!" has been replaced by "Yee Haw!" And you also are likely to hear Bubba’s elves respond, "I her’d dat!"
As required by Southern highway laws, Bubba Claus’ sleigh does have a Yosemite Sam safety triangle on the back with the words "Back off". The last I heard it also had other decorations on the sleigh as well. One is a Ford logo with lights that race through the letters.
The usual Christmas movie classics such as "Miracle on 34th Street" and "It’s a Wonderful Life" will not be shown in your negotiated viewing area. Instead, you’ll see "Boss Hogg Saves Christmas" and "Smokey and the Bandit IV" featuring Burt Reynolds as Bubba Claus and dozens of state patrol cars crashing into each other.
Bubba Claus doesn’t wear a belt. If I were you, I’d make sure the wife and the kids turn the other way when he bends over to put presents under the tree.
And finally, lovely Christmas songs have been sung about me like "Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer" and Bing Crosby’s "Santa Claus Is Coming to Town." This year songs about Bubba Claus will be played on all the AM radio stations in the South. Those song titles will be Mark Chesnutt’s "Bubba Claus Shot the Jukebox" and Cledus T. Judd’s "All I Want for Christmas Is My Wife and My Trailer Back."
North American Fairies and Elves Local #209
Continuing the current trend of large-scale mergers and acquisitions, it was announced today at a press conference that Christmas and Chanukah will merge. An industry source said that the deal had been in the works for about 1300 years, ever since the rise of the Muslim Empire. While details were not available at press time, it is believed that the overhead cost of having twelve days of Christmas and eight days of Chanukah was becoming prohibitive for both sides. By combining forces, a spokesperson said, "The world will be able to enjoy consistently high-quality service during the Fifteen Days of Christmukah, as the new holiday is being called." On the downside, massive layoffs are expected, with lords a-leaping and maids a-milking being the hardest hit.
As part of the conditions of the agreement, the letters on the dreydl, currently in Hebrew, will be replaced by Latin, thus becoming unintelligible to a wider audience. Also, instead of translating to "A great miracle happened there," the message on the dreydl will be the more generic "Miraculous stuff happens." In exchange, it is believed that Jews will be allowed to use Santa Claus and his vast merchandising resources for buying and delivering their gifts. One of the sticking points holding up the agreement for at least three hundred years was the question of whether Jewish children could leave milk and cookies for Santa even after having eaten meat for dinner. A breakthrough came last year, when Oreos were finally declared to be Kosher. All sides appeared happy about this. A spokesman for Christmas, Inc., declined to say whether a takeover of Kwanzaa might not be in the works as well. He merely pointed out that, "Were it not for the independent existence of Kwanzaa, the merger between Christmas and Chanukah might indeed be seen as an unfair cornering of the holiday market." "Fortunately for all concerned," he said, "Kwanzaa will help to maintain the competitive balance. He then closed the press conference by leading all present in a rousing rendition of "Oy, Come All Ye Faithful."