No Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus (From The Archives)

I wrote this piece back in December of 2006 for a banana republic of a blog that loved getting itself in all sorts of trouble. We were a parody party, and we lampooned the hell out of life, liberty and the pursuit of breaking news.

Every now and then, I would take my way back machine for a ride when the news went cold. So it was one night that I took to skipping backwards in time, armed solely with my vagabond wit and a starched martini.

On this particular evening, I settled inside the year 1897, after which I got to stepping all over the words Francis Pharcellus Church once wrote. Church was an editor for The Sun, which was a big deal New York City paper back when Damon Runyon was a pup. Old Francis had no idea that a hundred and six years later some asshole was gonna spray graffiti all over his classic editorial. Don’t you just love progress?

Church’s piece was in response to eight year old Virginia O’Hanlon’s letter to The Sun in which the little girl asked if Santa Claus was in fact, legit. He responded with what would become a holiday classic titled “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus”.

So . . of course I had to imagine what kind of response little Virginia O’Hanlon might have gotten if she’d been born in this day and age. The results were, umm . . less romantic. 

Dear Virginia,

Your little friends are right. They are the glorious progeny of a pragmatic generation. They understand the value of status and deride the notion of some antiquated alms giver delivering unto them their precious I-Pods. They do not believe except they see. A valuable commodity in this day and age; and one I would advise you to obtain. Their minds may be small, but their ability to filter out the ridiculous notion of a jolly old man bearing gifts is commendable. Indeed, they dare not marginalize the corporate benefactors that are their parents by spewing folly about Santa.

No Virginia, there is no Santa Claus. He does not exist as certainly as faith, hope and WMDs do not exist. Alas! How dreary would the world be if there truly was a Santa Claus! His existence would rob us our autonomy; our secularly gifted right to seek truth and define our uncertain world rather than color it with vagaries. Be warned, to subscribe to such a childlike faith is dangerous, one might even say prohibitive. Its nexus is borne of classic outdated American literature and ecclesiastical dogma. We should expect no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. Leave the childlike enabling to Hollywood producers.

I urge you dear girl, do not believe in Santa Claus! Just as you do not believe in fairies or honest politicians. You might contract with a privately owned security company to verify the hard wrought, commercialized fancy of red suits and magical sleigh bells. But imagine the cost of such an endeavor. And to what end? To simply disprove what is already common knowledge? Your sole discovery will lie in the fact that chimney sweepers are vastly overpaid. You will find no sign of Santa Claus. And then you will understand that the most real things in this world are those which you can wear, play and drive. Imagine how inefficient a world it would be if we gave credence to the unseen; think of the abject ignorance which would predominate our lives if we believed in miracles rather than science.

You dissect a nursery rhyme and you can see why non-fiction sates the publishing houses bottom lines. Because there is no unseen world where fiction holds dominion. Neither the wealthiest philanthropist, nor even the bi-lateral thrust of a UN-led invasion can unearth a place that does not exist. Let the evangelists proselytize about some supernal place; let the vagabond poets abscond to their sacred patch of merry. Resist the temptation to be led to Shangri-La. Is any of it real? Um, Virginia, of course not.

No Santa Claus! Thank goodness for that! Do not fret, nothing lasts forever- except for disposable diapers and Dick Clark. This vicious rumor which has scarred so many children and resulted in an incalculable number of therapy sessions will see its end. Ten years from now, Virginia, nay 10 times 10 years from now, when the world becomes an uninhabitable swamp thanks to global warming, there will be no Santa to fool our hearts and remind us of our dysfunctional childhood.

76 thoughts on “No Virginia, There Is No Santa Claus (From The Archives)”

  1. B,

    Vagabond wit is is putting it mildly. Spray graffiti? How do you come up with these turns of phrase?
    Virginia should thank her lucky stars she didn’t have a bah-humbug Grinch of an editor to respond to her innocent query.
    This is, of course, you doing snarky to a whole ‘nother level! And was a hoot and a half to read.
    You ain’t gonna convince me that you don’t have a little spark of sweetness tucked in there somewhere!

    Merry Christmas, Baby, Coz Santa Claus IS coming to town!!


    Liked by 3 people

    1. Q,

      See, it’s like this. The voices in my head compel me to keep ’em interested, so I have no choice but to listen. Those fuckers get bored so easily!
      And yes, Virginia was damn lucky she wasn’t writing that letter in the time of Drudge, because yikes! The therapy bill as per his reply would’ve taken from her Christmas stash.
      Snarky always needs another level in order to keep breathing. It’s very needy, like the writer of this piece.
      And me? Sweet? Shhhh! I don’t want that getting around. It will totally ruin my churlish reputation! 🙂

      A video! From up Canada way! Thank GOD we didn’t build that firewall Trump proposed!



      Liked by 3 people

      1. As long as those voices keep talking – but not enough to end you up in a straight-jacket – we good. You can keep encouraging them!
        Damn lucky is putting it mildly! Poor thing…
        Well, we readers will feed the necessary oxygen to keep that snark breathing.
        K. I’ll keep that to myself. Keep up the façade…

        Fuggedagout. No Wall! No Wall! No Wall!


        Liked by 2 people

      2. A straitjacket ain’t gonna work . . I can’t write in one of those! Unless they make it custom. And it’s gotta be purple, like that Prince jacket.
        Virginia was blessed by the time and place she lived inside of. Harder in so many ways but a damn sight simpler where it counted most of all. We’re too smart for our own good inside this time.
        Yep! It’s all youse guyses fault! I was a choir boy singing in Mariah’s traveling band until y’all got your mitts on me! 😉
        Wait, what? The facade ain’t working? I’m sending the shit back. Get Amazon on the wire! Stat!

        No more walls. I tell you . . he should have consulted me. I would’ve told him to dig a moat. WAY cooler. Okay, I’m not helping matters . . .


        Liked by 1 person

      3. Oooh.. I’ll order it for ya.
        She was and we are… way too much. Bring back some innocence or at least something more gentle.
        Ya ya. blame us for trying to help.
        And no. It ain’t
        Ha ha ha… at least a moat means a drawbridge… ya know, when you get a hankering for a REAL poutine or we want a REAL NY pizza pie….


        Liked by 1 person

      4. It has to be the one he wore for Purple Rain, no knockoffs accepted.
        If I told youse once I told youse once, I am but an innocent . . placed upon this earth to do the bidding of those who find me entertaining enough to keep around. Hells, I feel like a Dickens character sometimes . . .
        The moat is a great idea for SO many reasons. A drawbridge being yet another one.
        And REAL poutine and REAL pie and REAL bagels? 😎


        Liked by 1 person

      5. K, Gonna get my peeps on it!
        Innocent… you doth protest too heartily, m’dear
        Moat! Moat! Moat! Ah hell… didja have to bring up BAGELS? You know that is a bone of contention between Montreal and New York… dammit! You ARE a shit-disturber.


        Liked by 1 person

      6. I try and keep my protests to a minimum. Like, what in the blessed hell is a Cuban sammy recipe that includes lettuce?
        I rile em up! To this I protest not

        M to the U to the WAH!

        Liked by 1 person

      7. Right. Unless they are righteous. Seriously, who does that? Lettuce and Cuban Sammy do not belong in the same sentence, never mind recipe!
        Excellent. Know when to accept.


        Liked by 1 person

  2. I get the wit … but oh no … a thousand times no … you can’t take away Santa that easily because he is a spirit that crosses cultural boundaries in order to link all the goodness in humanity. I know “honest politicians” is a prime example of an oxymoron, but messing with Santa is like playing with matches around gasoline.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Cincy,

      I’m with you, I really am. But the thing is, we have become much too intelligent for reindeer games. We know it all. And that which we don’t know, we Google!
      Perhaps we have become a tad bit too smart for our own britches. . .

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Well, the Santa around kids is the key to delivering the wrong message. Kids go have the hope – then it’s gone only to have them repeat it on their kids. Yet, it time – some adults truly figure it out for themselves.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Haha!

        No, I wasn’t picking on the jolly old soul. I was focusing the camera on us, actually. What WE as a society have done to him over the years. Unfortunately, we have lumped him in with those names, and in so doing . . the magic is lost.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. So, on another subject . . my football predictions were pretty meh. I picked the Cowboys and Chargers to meet in the Super Bowl. They both made the playoffs and they both have plus sides to them, but . . . I just ain’t seeing it. I also said the Dolphins would surprise . . . well . . WRONG! I did however, predict Jacksonville would miss the playoffs . . . ding! ding! ding!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. I mean, it’s not entirely out of the realm of possibility that the Cowboys and Chargers go on runs. But hey, both of them making it to the postseason counts for something I guess, LOL.
        The Steelers, wow. I watched those highlights and the refs . . not sure what game they were watching. There were some horrendous calls that went against Pittsburgh.
        The Bengals love to be spoilers too.


  3. I have read you for quite some time but this, I have LOVED!

    For me Santa is a notion that should be excluded. What are we teaching kids? What is this Santa business really? Believe in angels, but Santa, forget it Virginia.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Resh,

      Welcome to the party! Santa used to be this ideal that was transcendent. It prevailed upon the everyday with something special and unique? Santa is a commercial property anymore, sad to say.

      Believe in angels, always.

      Peace and happy holidays to you!


  4. I love the volley between you and Dale. Like the Wimbledon of words.

    I adore old New York Newspapers, when there were so many like the Trib and the World, so mentioning the Sun made me smile. Whenever I’m downtown I visit old Newspaper Row that alas, is all gone with only a plaque in its memory no one reads. And yes, Mr. Runyon got a mention and as far as those voices that chatter in your head, all the greats had them…Poe, Vonnegut, Doctorow, James. It’s them muses that move in to amuse, as I’ve heard it said. Your love of words and writing comes out so vividly….daises sprouting through concrete. A Thin Girl’s 2 cents.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The Wimbledon of words, I love it.

      New York was the center of the newspaper universe once. And I’m glad you dig it, I thought you might.

      That is a murderers row of talented pens right there, and yes . . those voices! “Them muses that move in to amuse,” . . I dig.

      Thank you for the kind words, always. They mean a lot. “Daisies sprouting through concrete,” . . you kill me.

      I’ll take your 2 cents every day of the week and twice on Sunday.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. What was the title?
        And shiver me Timberlands! To fetch that kind of sugar just made my morning. Runyon was the writers equivalent of Walter Johnson, with a fastball to match.

        Here’s to you, me and Horace toasting to the classics.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I wish there was a bio on him, but there isn’t. I’ve looked. Some of his essays can be found. He was quite the character. Nathan Detroit in the play Guys and Dolls was modeled after him, but something tells me they only scraped the tip of the iceberg.

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Nathan Detroit is an all time grand slam of a Broadway name, and yet . . that musical had a laundry list of great names from what remember. Never saw it, but there was a Benny and a Miss Adelade and there was a whole lot more.


      4. Oh, Red Box. It’s a vending machine that rents movies. They usually can be found outside grocery and convenience stores. Imagine Blockbuster, sans the wiseass kid behind the counter who swears he’s gonna be the next Tarantino . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      5. The Waterworks is the title. About an editor and his freelance. That’s what independent reporters were called. It’s short but you’re right there amid the dust, graft and horse and buggies. He’s a GREAT WRITER. An added coupla cents.

        Liked by 1 person

      6. Haha! I shouldn’t have doubted you would provide. I still use the term freelance. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progress. But when a word catches me and holds on, I won’t just throw it in the broom closet. (Is that another outdated term? Broom closet?).
        A toast to the thin chica with rhyme. Who makes a lot of cents. 🙂


      1. LOL.
        Besides, NORAD tracks Santa’s trip around the world every Christmas Eve. You can’t get any proofier than that! Seems that you’re full of, like, alternative facts, man. [signed] Virginia “The Nice One”

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Touche!
        I rather like the fact that this post has resulted in comments that run the gamut.
        And yes, you got me with NORAD. But . . . what if . . . like the moon landing, it was . . .
        Okay, I’ll stop. LOL.
        I applaud you, Virginia “The Nice One”. And I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

        Liked by 1 person

  5. I am torn on this post. Part of me wants to lecture you for ripping out the heart of Francis Pharcellus Church’s words, but I cannot. Seriously, kids, if a jolly old man bearing gifts approaches you, run! If a body is struggling down your chimney, have a Louisville Slugger ready! If someone is laying a finger across his nose it’s a whole different kind of magic, finally, and this is for everyone, don’t sit on a stranger’s lap ever! Just don’t. So, in that regard, there is no Santa. But the tooth fairy, now that’s legit!

    BTW…Dale has you pegged, my friend! There is a spark of sweetness and a whole lot of care! You use your words to make us think, to dig deeper into our souls, and to challenge us to do better. Merry Christmas!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Buahahaha!
      I love your Santa’s list! And no . . never ever ever sit on a strangers lap!
      The tooth fairy? Of COURSE that’s legit!

      How very sweet of you to say. And I wish you a very Merry Christmas!

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Merry Christmas! Best line ever: “Your sole discovery will lie in the fact that chimney sweepers are vastly overpaid”.

    Your ghost-writing about killing off the belief of a jolly old ghost in a red suit was brilliant.

    But wait there’s more. Then the comments, the Wimbledon between you and Dale, and the sacred defense of Santa with Frank. Well, it’s all just lovely.

    Cheers to the best WMDs and makers of miracles – our words. Your use of them continues to make the world a better place.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. And you’re right on in thinking what you were thinking. Because I was thinking the same thing. I’ve posted this one before, but this time was truly special . . thanks to the comments. It gave a brand new life to it. I love that.

        Liked by 1 person

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