Monday, December 11, 2006

Christmas Spirit in the Young
I can't have been much more than four or five, and getting ready for Christmas meant making that big honking list. As I figured, there were rules to such things. A list needed to be fairly long to give your parents, um, I mean Santa Claus, a nice selection, with a good price diversity. Order's important, too. I had figured out that you were pretty much guaranteed to get the first item on your list as long as it wasn't too expensive, and didn't involve serious ongoing maintenance, like a little brother or a pony.

I designed an experiment of sorts. This was my thought process:

Everybody knows that Santa makes his own toys. So if Santa's real, and I ask for something you can't find in stores, but that a talented toymaker could easily make, I should get it. If he isn't, I wouldn't.

This was the early seventies, when the stuffed animal universe was pretty limited. Bears, bunnies, that sort of thing. Definitely not gorillas, so that was what went at the top of my list.

Christmas morning came, while I don't specifically remember, I'd imagine my parents were a bit confused at my total lack of dismay when there was no gorilla. I was too busy basking in the glory of proving my very first hypothesis. Then my mother asked my dad, "What's that box?", pointing into the corner. Dad asked me to fetch it, and there was no missing the thatch of black hair and reflective, plastic gorilla eyes looking up at me from inside the box.

I experienced, for just a moment, a flicker of doubt.

Addendum: In my twenties, I told this story to a girlfriend in the presence of my parents, and my mother kind of freaked out. Laughing, she said, "What? Your dad and I spent hours trying to figure out why you wanted a stuffed gorilla, and never could. But I drove all over town trying to find that damn thing. I ended up at a carnival supply store down by the river!"

Finally, vindication!

1 comment:

Blue Girl, Red State said...

Good story.

I have one too. I'm the product of a mized marriage - Jewish mother and Catholic father. I was suspicious when mom took us to the church's christmas program, but I didn't say anything, I just observed.

This too, was the 70's, and when "Santa" came to pass out the bags of goodies, i knew it was my dad - I saw the end of his sleeve and it was a black shirt with contrasting white stitching - very distinctive.

When we got home, he was pretending to be "feeling a little better."

I busted him. When he denied it, I just went to the closet and got his shoes. They were still wet.

By the way - I'm in KC.

On Political Animal, I'm Global Citizen. GC existed long before I was a blogger.