On my good days, I’m filled with a cheerful belief that maybe American society isn’t as frivolous, silly, wasteful, and occasionally downright embarrassing as I sometimes suspect it is. On those days, when the sun is warm on my face, birds are signing, or I just haven’t slept enough to think clearly, I tend to hope and even—dare I say it—believe that maybe, just maybe, we’re not moseying naively down the path toward willing personal and cultural self-destruction, much less sprinting down it, clambering desperately over one another to get to the end first in case there’s a TV crew waiting for us there. It’s a nice feeling to have, this optimism.
My bad days, on the other hand, usually involve something like this:
The image above was listed as one of ten “Holiday Essentials” in a flyer mailed to me by a nearby mall. Why the retailers didn’t have the guts to describe these as “Christmas Essentials”—given that Santa Claus is fairly well established as a genuine Christmas icon, rather than merely a “holiday” one, and there are slim odds of even finding, much less offending, a Santa Claus fan who doesn't celebrate Christmas—is neither here nor there; I don’t care all that much about it one way or another, but regardless, it’s a topic for another day.
What really concerns me about the above is this: as your pets get older, more mature, more wise to the ways of the world—but still wide-eyed with wonder and innocent of heart—how can you bear to tell them that they didn’t actually get to meet the real Santa Claus?