“Letters and Diaries, Juvenilia, Christmas and Related Material”
December 17, 1958
Dear Santa, if that is in fact your real name (I have my doubts),
This letter is pursuant to our conversation of last Saturday, in the “Christmas Village” at the flagship Macy’s Department Store on Herald Square. I say “Christmas Village” but I know that you and I are both quite aware that it is in normal non-seasonal times the area designated for the Husky Young Mister line of apparel. I know that area well.
Further, let me begin my remarks by informing you that I did not appreciate your jokes and asides to my parents (and siblings!!) that a “big boy” like me was perhaps “a little too old” to sit on Santa’s lap. I assure you, sir, that I am a normal — some say better than normal! — boy and old enough to know a good deal when he sees one, and if by sitting on your lap and “spending a day outside throwing the ball around” with two of the poorer boys on my street — this demand came from my father, who doesn’t understand me at all — and those two greasers from down the street, who enjoy tormenting me about my clothing and outfits, and also, just to be clear, I wear the shoes I wear because a doctor told me to, and not just any doctor but one of the best in the entire area.
I seem to have lost my train of thought. Let me restate, for emphasis and clarity:
The deal is, I “play” with the “football” a few times to make my father happy, and I sit on your lap and make the appropriate gestures, and in return I am listed under the “Nice” column in the Naughty/Nice tabulation that you compile on an annual basis, and if this occurs, you are contractually bound to present me, on Xmas morning, with the majority of what I have put on my “Xmas list” — is that your understanding here? Because it’s mine, and assuming we’re in accord, let’s begin.
I sensed, during our brief meeting on Saturday — thanks to my dreadful sister and her mood swings, and also due to my father’s inability to accept that I walk the way I walk, and I am not trying to be “dainty” as he puts it — anyway, I sensed that you were confused by my Xmas list, in that it doesn’t have the usual tedious listing of toys and whatnot that other boys and girls my age (twelve! old enough to know he wants a pair of tap shoes and proper dance lessons, despite my father’s cracks and mean-spirited jokes, which of course I heard with bell-like clarity! my hearing and peripheral vision are in the upper percentile and I have the medical records to prove it!) have.
What I sensed, during our conversation, was your confusion as to what exactly was on my Xmas list, what “presents” you were entering into a verbal contract to provide exclusively to me on Xmas morning. I noticed that as I was listing my “wants” and “needs,” your thighs, which formed the sitting surface upon which I sat, tightened and shifted as I made my way through my demands. Perhaps it was, as you said at the time, that I am a “heavy load,” but I sensed more.
Let me reiterate that these items are not negotiable. Any attempt by you or your “team” to deliver other items on Xmas, to substitute more “appropriate” gifts for the ones I have listed, will amount to nothing short of breach of contract.
I have upheld my end, sir. I have been a good boy all year — some say too good!! — and I am now demanding that you hold up your end.
On or before Xmas morning, I insist on the following:
that the two boys down the street suffer some kind of gruesome, disfiguring accident;
that my sister be struck with a malady that renders her unable to speak or make noise;
that the malady she is struck with be incurable;
that Mr. Johnson at school reconsider his absurd assertion — in front of the whole class!! — that I am a “motor mouth”;
that Doris Lichtenstein from Art Enrichment Class agree to allow me to kiss her and then announce to everyone that she is my girlfriend, which I may or may not accept depending on who else is in the offing;
that a fire sweep through the upper corridor at school, allowing me to act in some heroic fashion (to be determined later), and that Donny Trump Day be perpetually celebrated at school;
Of course, I am well aware that these “gifts” on my “Xmas list” represent an unconventional way of looking at the whole Christmas situation, but nowhere in the literature are the types and kinds of gifts that one is allowed to demand specified in any way.
A person who is capable, let it be noted, of flying around and distributing gifts to children worldwide — in one night!! — is surely capable of rendering Billy Horvatch and Dean Bacovici from down the street crippled and hideous — piece of cake, I imagine, for such as yourself! And as far as my sister is concerned,
(Please turn to page two.)