Thursday, December 27, 2012

Curiosity Killed the Cat ...

So, as everyone knows, I have a severe addiction to Gawker .   It has become my only source for news ... which is sad and wrong ... and I'm pretty sure it's a mental disorder covered by the ADA.

In any case ... Gawker recently ran a story called The Day We Became Cynical: How Did You Find Out Santa Isn’t Real?   And like everybody else on the planet ... I have a story ...

How did I find out that Santa isn't real?

Growing up, I lived in a home that was primarily a ranch-style house ... everything on the one floor ... except for the finished basement.  My Dad was fabulous.  He created a wonderland downstairs ... built in cabinets for games ... a second kitchen ... he even sound proofed the walls so I could have sleepovers and not bother anyone (which, quite frankly was a terrible idea given their subscription to HBO and my proclivity for staying up late and watching the filthiest movie's imaginable).

But in any case ... one of the rooms in the basement was the 2nd kitchen with a laundry area and my Mom's sewing things.   She had a wooden desk with a big Singer sewing machine on it ... and drawers filled with dress patterns and spools of thread.  She also had a big round tin that held hundreds of buttons of every shape and size.   This sewing area was her domain ... I did not fuck with it.

Well, I was around six or so ... and she was sitting at the sewing machine making something ... and I wandered over and asked if I could look at the buttons.  She wasn't paying attention and kind of waved me off saying, "Go ahead ..." ... and I pulled open the heavy drawer to get the tin out ... and noticed for the first time that was a bunch of other things in that drawer ... odd papers ... and a small notebook.  Pay attention, kids ... this is the moment I became the cynical bastard I am today ...

I pulled out the notebook and sat on the floor.  Had she noticed, I'm sure Mom would've yanked the notebook from my hand ... but she didn't.  And so I flipped through the pages ... each one a different year ... each page containing a carefully written and checked off list of every present Santa had ever brought for me.  At first I was confused ... how did this get here?  But then I flipped to the next page and saw the words "Baby Alive" ...

"Baby Alive" was this creepy baby doll I'd begged for the previous year.  The doll came with these little packets of food ... a powdery mix that, when water was added, became some sort of pseudo apple sauce.  You then took this gelatinous goo and fed the doll ... which, in turn, made the doll "poop" ... which, in turn, prompted you to change its diaper.  Why in the fuck children wanted a doll that shit itself is beyond me ... but I can't lie ... I wanted one ... and Santa delivered.

So ... after seeing Baby Alive in this notebook, the light bulb finally blinked on ... and I looked up at my Mom with new eyes.  At this point she glanced down to see what I was doing ... and saw the notebook in my lap.  I remember her groaning and saying, "Oh, no ..." and I just looked at her and said, "You're Santa Claus?" and she said yes.   If I remember right, she hugged me and I cried a little.  After all, dreams die hard ...

I wasn't angry ... but it made me realize all the other things that weren't true ... the Easter Bunny, the Tooth Fairy, God, a living wage ... you know, all those things that are supposed to be "magical."   But it's alright.  Everything ended on a happy note.  After all, everyone has to find out sometime ... unless you're Buddy the Elf ...

I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus
Underneath the mistletoe last night.
She didn't see me creep
down the stairs to have a peep;
She thought that I was tucked
up in my bedroom fast asleep.
Then, I saw Mommy tickle Santa Claus
Underneath his beard so snowy white;
Oh, what a laugh it would have been
If Daddy had only seen
Mommy kissing Santa Claus last night

Jimmy Boyd - I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus