Santa Inseminated My Brain With Cynicism

This post is part of Janie Junebug and Cherdo On the Flipside’s blog hop, “My Favorite Christmas Memory.” If this is your first time here, hello! If you’re looking for sweet tales about love or the wonderment of childhood, you probably didn’t read the title and I recommend checking out some of the other participants.FavoriteBloghop2

When first diving into the murky nightmare-scape of my brain to blindly claw at the abyss searching for a memory of Christmas’ gone by, the first thing that I grasped onto was a memory about my step-family and I taking out a remote control plane and demolishing it. It was up for two seconds, crashed, step-dad would fix it, then the next person would crash it, until the plane became unfixable. The toy be damned, it was a great bonding experience worth more than any toy. But that’s too saccharine.

Instead, I’ll share a more poignant, universal experience about when imagination collided with reality: when I found out Santas are real, all too real. As the youngest child in a house of five kids, I defiantly believed in Santa Claus. No matter what my siblings would tell me, my imagination stretched and contorted around their cynical reality to make excuses, to allow for the belief of a magical dwarf-enthusiast/enslaver who can creepily track the deeds of the world’s children and deliver presents accordingly through breaking and entering. I chose to believe. I wanted to continue to live in a world where reindeer fly and an obese, late-middle-aged man working at a break-neck pace somehow eludes cardiac arrest.

Those were glorious days when my palpable optimism would drown the harshness of realism and consequences with my nascent, dream-like fantasy world. But such youthful innocence is unprepared to deal with daily predators, people whose sole method of income is derived from victimization of the wide-eyed.

The optimism I clung to, that was assaulted daily by general adolescence, was finally shattered when I came upon a mall with my mother on our annual pilgrimage to take a photo with a complete stranger in a seldom-if-ever washed ill-fitting red rug with white trim. Walking from the parking lot to the gaping maw of consumerism, we saw the mall Santa, whom I believed to be an “agent of the one true Claus”, smoking a cigarette with his beard off to the side, scratching his toy sack, arguing with a weathered “Mrbad santa smokings. Claus.” My mother knew I was too old to continue the Santa ruse and made no attempt to shield my eyes…or was maybe too high on the Devil’s grass, who knows.

From there it was an avalanche of disconcerting Santa imagery. That year, on the news, was a Santa who was arrested for starting a fight with a dad, another Santa was caught robbing a bank, and a family friend was contemplating joining the Santa ranks. My little brain finally accepted that the Santa game was all a money game meant to capitalize on a societally accepted lie perpetuated on children.

It seems sad to lose that innocence, but I would argue that it was a blessing having the clarity of a cynic bestowed upon me. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still generally hopeful, and want to believe that individual people are generally good, but I have enough cynicism to sniff out bullshit with the acuteness of a bloodhound. If it wasn’t for that one, stereotypically disheveled Santa, who knows, I may be festooned with magical magnet bracelets and counting my steps in Shape-Up shoes and sending my personal information to Nigerian princes.

That is my favorite Christmas memory, having the shackles of optimism cast off and wrapping myself in the warm coat of realism with a sarcasm inner-lining.

Santa Flashing

By the way, this is all interchangeable with how I learned televised wrestling is a choreographed dance of scantily clad gentlemen of various musculature.

If you want more touching Christmas memories, try one of the below links:

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  1. Cynicism for sure, but I do think you have a wonderful way with words.


  2. Santa Claus… Tooth Fairy… Jesus… Love…

    Nothing I heard about before before the age of 6 was real.


  3. Santa gave you the greatest gift of all — this post brought a tear to my eye.

    On the other hand, not quite enough homoeroticism for my taste, but why nitpick at Christmas?


  4. Heartwarming – I belched, I farted, I shed a tear… what more could you ask for from such a wonderful memory? Oh, well, you could have posted the flip side of that last Santa pic! No?


    • Pickleope – I truly loved reading some of your comments on other posts in this blog hop. Geez, you chocked me up at times – such a gentle man! I shoulda known with such a terrific sense of wit, you’d also have a tender heart(smile).


  5. abeerfortheshower December 22, 2014 — 10:16 am

    Hey, Santa may not be real, but consumerism is. Buy buy buy! The more you buy, the happier you’ll be! Fist fight that old man in Wal-Mart for the last Xbox – you’ll be extra happy! Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

    Also, disclaimer: do NOT come to our blog if you are in search of something more touching.


  6. Pickleope, Santa is real!! I don’t know what you are talking about. He’s been in your heart all along. Okay, ha ha ha, even I can’t keep up that line of sappiness 🙂

    I think you should give back to the world to honor your cynicism and go be a mall santa yourself! Then you can cheerfully disillusion other young pickleope’s in the making 🙂 We wouldn’t want anyone sending money to Nigerian princes!


  7. Awwww..Dodgy Santas.. nothing makes me laugh like a dodgy ass scratching Santa.


  8. I always enjoy your bitter rants much more than the serious recounts of others.


  9. I never told my kids there was a Santa. When they asked me about Santa because they saw him on TV and heard about him from other kids, I told them he was a nice character in stories and movies, but he wasn’t a real person. I’m glad I told them the truth. I’m glad they didn’t end up learning the truth at the same time they realized I was a liar. Your post is very well written, and I commend you on it. I hope your travels go well. It’s raining very hard in northern Florida.



  10. Aha, and this famous dog is loving how you have embraced your inner cynic. I would suggest you might go to the cynic clinic for a cynical detox. Then again, what fun would that be. Nicely done and merry “Boxing Day Eve”, I state, ever so cynically.

    Pawsitive wishes,



  11. Poor Santa gets a bad rap…so he likes little men to make toys all year long and watches kids from afar. He loves it when they sit on his knee and wants to hear all the goodies they want which he promises to……for them. OK he may be a bit creepy and he may have hung out at the Neverland Ranch but the old guy tries to be jolly. This might be the Jack Daniels but he still is jolly


  12. What can I say I like Santa buy I like Mrs Claus a bit more because trust me it is Mrs Claus who gives the gift giving real thought and makes sure the right gift is given to the right person


  13. You chose to believe… How marvelously pickleope of you. (That’s a compliment.) But now I’ll be forever tortured by this image of you watching that mall Santa scratch his toy sack. Thank you for that. I knew you were generous, but this is a tad more than I can handle without throwing up nuts.


  14. Oh and I came across this handsome guy that goes by the name of Pick “a Bone” Leope.


  15. Sad but still a good story. I still like to believe that Christmas has some magic, although working in a post office, my belief is often tested


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