Flipping Out at Christmas (Santa’s Dead)

For some folks, Christmas causes depression–painful memories.  Days are shorter nights are longer.  First responders everywhere would tell you the Holidays can bring out bizarre behavior.

“Go to the base hotel,” Came the call.  “There’s a young man there causing a disturbance.”

It fell upon me as a young Airman working emergency room night shift to check out the situation.

The German ambulance driver and myself, restrained a young Air Force enlistee, who had apparently attacked a mechanical Santa Claus in the base hotel lobby.

He was sent away for a psych evaluation.  Problems caused by excessive alcohol consumption, loneliness, depression–from being away from home in a foreign country.

Fast forward forty-plus years.  A blonde, blue-eyed three-year old boy was crying.  The jovial, singing, mechanical Santa in the center, main hardware store aisle, frightened him.

“There, there–it’s all right,”  Consoled the little boy’s  gray-haired, well-intentioned grandfather.

“Look, it’s fake–it’s not real.  It’s not going to hurt you.”  Obviously, the grandfather was frustrated to his limit.  The crying continued unabated.

A few curious customers looked up from the nuts-and-bolts.  “Grandpa won’t let it hurt you. Now, stop crying!”

“See–I told you it’s not real!”  Grandpa’s foot connected with Santa’s head, sent it skittering across the polished concrete floor.  Santa’s disembodied head continued to regale with loud “Ho, Ho, Ho’s” and “Merry Christmases.”

The grandson was not to be consoled, until his mother arrived.  Store workers gathered Santa’s pitiful remains.  Hopefully, the grandson wasn’t permanently traumatized on the day Santa died.


winter sky

Scattered feathers
Guilt, from ill-fated
Annoying mockingbird
Willed to be dead
Forlorn, stray kitten
Yowled from
God knows where
In the back alley

Friends, Ernesto
Maria and Juan
Had their families
Put on a good front
Pretended to be happy
Hung on, till the day
When gloom
Green returned
To winter sky