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Good and Bad: A Review

December 16, 2009 by Alice Mullen filed under Columns No Comments

Have you asked any one small about requests for a certain fellow wearing red? No, not Satan worshipers of small stature. Sheesh, what kind of circles do you run in? Stay on topic will you? It’s December, of course I’m talking about kids and Santa Claus.

I’m concerned with the horrible state of confidence these kids have. When I was little there was fear and apprehension. There was a lot of talk about lists, and good and bad. Hope for that shiny whatever, lived in a tenuous balance, with the fear that someone had seen the things you thought no one had seen you do. Maybe this almost cocky bravado I see now is because these are the most watched children ever. Could it be that with constant supervision we’ve removed the chance for kids to be bad? Have we taught them that monitoring their behavior is our job, not theirs? How else can you explain the latest trend, the elf on the shelf.

Have you seen this? It’s a doll of an elf that comes in a box with a book. Parents read the book to indoctrinate kids in the latest twist on an old theme and then set the elf on a shelf (hence the name). Each night this elf comes to life and flies back to the North Pole, reporting directly to Santa about the child’s behavior. Apparently the elf has a great memory for detail, but can’t recall which shelf he was on when he returns in the morning so kids will see him shifting where he is throughout the house in the weeks before Christmas.

This is beyond creepy to me. The story is convoluted enough without adding things. Next time someone decides to spice things up, could we hold it up for a vote? Whatever happened to being good for goodness sake? It’s not going to take long for some enterprising youth to deduce that killing the messenger is an effective way to kill the message. That’s just a practical conclusion, a simple problem of reasoning -but parents will worry, and therapists will thrive in the elf doll killing boom that will follow.

And why does Santa suddenly need a henchman? I’m guessing this elf is just some nephew from the wife’s side of the family that he had to give a job. It won’t work out. Pretty soon he’ll be hitting the eggnog complaining about how the big guy doesn’t understand the dangers of working in the field. He’ll start hassling the tooth fairy asking her why she thinks she’s too good for him and he’ll go off on a bender with Jack Frost. Then we’ll be out running last minute errands and the road will be so bumpy it’ll make our CDs skip because, you know, Frost heaves. But all that’s besides the point. The point is that the system is breaking down!

We all know that this coal thing is starting to sound like an empty threat. Frankly if Santa can afford in this economy to take on more employees than we can afford to delegate a bit too. So as my public service for the season I submit for your approval the Self Evaluation Form for Santa:

Santa Evaluation Form

Print this out and you can sit down with the kid in question and hash out all the nonsense of the year. Give them an opportunity to reflect on their actions at the one time of year we have any chance of them listening. And that’s sort of what the season is about?

If this doesn’t work I’m going to rent a Santa. Always the bargain hunter I think they’ll be really cheap in the summer and I’m going to pay one to sit in the park and watch my kids bicker and fight with each other as he quietly takes notes in a journal.

Alice Mullen says a lot of things, and hardly anyone takes her seriously. You shouldn’t either. The Blue Ridge Leader is not responsible for what she says, only the punctuation and grammar with which she says it. If you are a raging lion of literary litigation, longing for lunch and feel particularly litigious there are tastier morsels elsewhere. Shoo bad kitty. Meow.

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