I once believed in Santa Claus. There was a point in my life where I genuinely believed in the existence of a fat man with a beard who rode a sleigh full of reindeers and flew down chimneys to dispense gifts. I can’t recall the exact age when I stopped believing in him, stopped accepting things at face value, but I do know that it created a domino effect. All of a sudden, the boy who no longer believed in Santa Claus had stopped going to church. He became annoyed at hearing those stories from the Bible because they just seemed like science fiction/fantasy tales designed to scare you into choking down that pita and gulping the plum wine down on Communion. I never needed a reason to gulp down plum wine…
I once believed in Santa Claus but I don’t anymore. I don’t even believe in Christmas or giving gifts. The only thing I’ll hold on to is that plum wine, which goes to show you that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Same wine, completely different belief system. I guess what I’m interested in here is discovering how I could ever believe in something as ludicrous as Santa Claus? How was that ever something I held to be true? Furthermore, how can I get that boy back? How can I start believing in ludicrous fantasies again? I need a break from reality. Being a realist, as it turns out, is completely overrated.
Maybe this year I’ll believe in Santa Claus again. Maybe this year I’ll come to my parents with a Christmas list and ask them to send it to the North Pole. On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t. They might fear I’m having a psychotic break and send me to Bellevue. Do you see the difference though? At age seven, I’m applauded for sending a list of gifts to the North Pole, but at age 25, I’m sent away in handcuffs.
My parents had to tell me themselves that Santa Claus wasn’t real. I was getting to that age where I should’ve been able to connect the dots myself, should’ve seen that the whole thing was a lie, but I didn’t. It was willful ignorance, I suppose. Maybe I knew on some level that I had the rest of my life to believe in nothing so I might as well hold on to the fat man with a beard for as long as I could. After that, it would all be over for me. I wouldn’t believe in Jesus or boys or the job market or the healing powers of yoga. Nothing.
Life gives you a reason not to believe each and every day. You begin to question every word that comes out of people’s mouths. Everyone lies. The person you’re having sex with is lying to you about the way it feels when you S his D. The guy who does your dry cleaning is lying to you when he says that your clothes will be ready by 6:30. Your landlord is lying to you about asbestos. Your friend is lying to you about feeling sick. Your boss is lying to you about giving you a raise after six months. And now all you want to do is believe in Santa Claus. In retrospect, believing in him makes more sense than believing in anything else these days. All I want for Christmas is to believe in Santa Claus. Send that to the North Pole.