Mr. Santa Claus, you are the best!|
Santa had agreed to meet with UC News - an exclusive - traveling all
the way from the North Pole down to Uphams Corner. On the
annointed day, we waited and waited and night fell – midnight – not a
sound. Then quite unexpectedly …
to the window I flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up
the sash. When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a
miniature sleigh, and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver, so
lively and quick, I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
His eyes -- how they
twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose
like a cherry! He had a broad face and a little round belly that shook,
when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly. He was chubby and plump,
a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of
We introduced ourselves with hugs and it didn't take long for him to get to the point.
Santa Makes a Proclamation
Santa came on his visit, saying he wanted to talk about his life in the 21st-century and
his continuing efforts to provide toys and gifts to all the "good
little girls and boys."
"I love my job," he said. "I've been
doing this since time began. – All year long, I work with my elves -
thousands of them - to make sure there are plenty of toys by Christmas
Eve. All year long, we whistle and we sing. We dance and carry
about like little kids.
"And I don't want to forget my dear Mrs. Claus either. I love her
so much. She cares for the reindeer and makes such delicious
meals for us. And if it weren't for her watchful eye - coming
here to inspect our work and put the final touches on the toys – why
they wouldn't be as good as they are.
Suddenly, Santa's whole demeanor changed. His
face looked serious, if not angry. He paused then made a
is enough! I've had it. I'm tired of all the threats and near misses.
I'm going to arm myself and I am going to arm my sleigh."
Oh, the Changes I've Seen
"The changes I've seen … that's what makes me so mad.
Do you know I've actually been followed by drones? What keeps me
and my reindeer safe is our ears. We hear sounds from miles away and
avoid big storms, airplanes and nowadays, the drones. They're so tiny -
like model airplanes. It's easy to get them mixed up. But not the
sounds. My reindeer can tell the difference. The sound of a drone is
high-pitched and ominous.
Let's say I'm down the chimney making a delivery. If I hear the
prancing and pawing of each little hoof and I hear them spelling out
‘danger' in Hoof-Code, then I lay my finger aside of my nose and up the
chimney I go. And we hightail it outa' there fast.
Now what do you think that tells people? A house full of gifts
scattered everywhere? "What's wrong with Santa?" I don't like it. I'd
like to blast that drone out of the sky to make sure I can maintain my
reputation. I'm going to put a drone-killer on the back of my
But that's not all. Sometimes I get to the bottom of the chimney and I
hear: ‘Come out with your hands up.' They're supposed to be asleep. I
can just see a human with a gun standing there in front of the chimney
ordering me out. What's he going to do? Kill me? Because I'm delivering
Carrying a Gun is the Right Thing to Do
Santa just shook his head. "It's a very sad day," he said, "when
I can't do the work I've been doing forever – bringing smiles to all
the kids' faces.
You know, I hardly ever listen to human talk but I was impressed with that guy, LaPierre:
‘The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun
is a good guy with a gun.'"
Santa reached into his sack and pulled out a gun. He raised it, pointed
it at me and, in an instant, pulled the trigger. My heart raced as I felt the bullet
shatter my face.
Then I heard Santa's voice as if from a distance. "I'm a good
guy," he said. (The gun wasn't real.) "I'm a good guy and I'm
going to carry a gun." (I'm still alive.) "I am going to defend
myself, my reindeer and my sleigh." (I am still so frightened.)
He paused for a moment, looked at me wistfully then said: "I can't do
it. What if I'm wrong? What if your gun is plastic and mine is real? Or
the other way around?"
What's Wrong with your World?
"What's wrong with everybody here? I bring all kinds of toys to
the kids – stuffed animals, games, dolls, guns, you name it. These are
toys, for heaven sakes! Kids are expected to outgrow them. Toys are a
way to explore the world. Kids practice taking care of their
dolls. They sleep with their stuffed animals. They play
games with friends. They run around and surprise their friends,
saying: "Stick ‘em up.'
But you grow up and you are supposed to put your toys away. When did
you ever see a 12-year-old walking around with a stuffed animal? Or a
15-year-old with a doll? Or two 18-year-olds running around, hiding and
surprising each other with their toy guns? Instead they are doing
that with guns that shoot real bullets.
You know what the problem is? You humans have found a way to make a
profit, selling guns and ammunition. They're addictive because the kids
think that guns give them power, but they don't. All that guns are
doing is signaling a death sentence – somebody's – in the grave, in
an even bigger problem is the adults who don't teach kids the value of
life. Kids are looking for intensity, meaning and importance while they
are growing up. Are the adults teaching them the real meaning of
life or how to "win up" against the next person?
Take a look at me, he said,. "I'm not bragging, but a long time ago I
found my purpose and place in life. And if I hadn't found it? I don't
know what I would be doing now. I probably wouldn't be alive.
There is a big difference," he continued, "between Elf Land and Human
Land. We live in a different dimension, one filled with magic and no
sense of time. How do you think we deliver so many toys in one night?
Time stands still for us; and in a human instant, we can deliver toys
to an entire city."
Sacrificing the Innocent
"Over 10,000 people killed by guns every year? That's crazy.
That's more people than live in Santa's Village. I hear tell you
have a law called the Second Amendment that gives people the right to
own a gun.
Do you know how many times I've been frustrated with my
elves? Even though we live in magic land, life is not perfect here. In
fact, I've got a bad temper. My elves know it and they hide in their
little foxholes when they see me ranting and raving. What if I had a
gun? Would I use it?
What's important to you? A rule that lets people (kids) die
needlessly every year? Is that what is driving your world?
Do you know what is really important to me? Yes, of course, making the
toys is important but it's not the most important. It's my elves, my
reindeer and my dear Mrs. Claus. You could say they are the sources of
my existence. Without them, I am nothing.
It seems you humans grow up to a world where what's important is making
money, above all else. But to make money, you have to make choices. And
that means that some things are expendable. It means that if I am
a gun manufacturer, I need to show a profitable bottom line –
selling. And what am I selling? Hot chocolate?
No! Guns. And guns kill. What's expendable?
It's people in trade for money.
You don't paint pictures with guns. You don't write words using
guns. You don't water the earth with guns. You don't warm houses
with guns. You don't feed the hungry with guns. You raise
the gun, look through the sight, aim and fire. And another one
bites the dust.
Let's say I offer up my elves as a sacrifice. Let's say that each
bullet intended to kill in Human Land is deflected to the North Pole
and it kills one of my elves instead. In one year, Santa
would be no more. In one year, Human Land would lose the
potential of more than 10,000 people, wiped away in a hailstorm of
What are YOU Going to Do about this?
"Gosh," Santa said, as if he had awakened from a trance or a bad
dream. "I am so sorry for going off on this tangent. I
guess it was really bothering me. Thank you for listening."
Then he added an unexpected challenge. "But I want to know what YOU are going to do about this."
"Me?" I thought, "Uphams Corner News?" "I don't know," I replied
back. "But I'll find some way of letting everyone know that you,
Mr. Claus, care deeply about us."
In a final gesture of mutual appreciation, we shook hands – more hugs.
sprang to his sleigh, to his
team gave a whistle, and away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, ere he drove out of sight,
Christmas to all, and to all a good-night."
Ten terrifying facts about guns
Santa "Unfinished" - illustrated by
Born in Boston, Massachusetts, Larry Johnson attended The
School of Fine Arts and has been an illustrator for over twenty five
years in book publishing, magazines and agencies. His work
includes assignments for Fortune magazine, Lee Low, Scholastic, Little
Brown, The Boston Globe, ESPN.com. Hill Holiday and the Sporting News.
His work has been acknowledged in New York's Society of Illustrators.
Johnson works in all mediums and is comfortable with editorial concepts
and deadlines. His ability to capture a likeness as well as draw people
of every ethnicity makes him a very sought after freelancer. His
greatest asset is his ability to work in a plethora of styles from a
literal rendering to wonderful children's books.