I think there are times you just have to complain.
When you are eight years old and the big, bearded man with the sleigh messes up your Christmas, to whom exactly do you complain?
This was my dilemma in 1973.
I couldn’t complain to Santa because I had reasoned just three years earlier he didn’t exist. Yet, in the off chance my reasoning was flawed, and that jolly old elf did inhabit the North Pole, complaining to him might put me on the naughty list for next Christmas. That was a risk I was not yet willing to take.
I couldn’t have complained to my parents, for that would lead to stories about how bad Christmas was when they were my age and then an admonishment to appreciate what I have and be grateful. “There are children in China that don’t have the toys you have!” I always thought this was strange considering the stamps on most of my things indicated China was where they had been made. Surely one or two toys would have fallen off the trucks during shipping.
I couldn’t have complained to my friends because their advice would surely lead me into trouble much deeper. “Go steal the one you want.” Again, with the slim possibility of Santa’s reality I couldn’t risk being placed on the naughty list for shoplifting. Plus the danger of once again running afoul of the law kept me on the straight and narrow.
I was stuck with my frustrations and no one to turn to for help so I smiled, bottled it up inside and let it fester for the next 34 years.
In late Fall of 2007, that frustration burned its way out and in an explosion of fury I raged in bitterness about the scumbag, Santa! “They say he is watching! He knows if I am naughty or nice! That he makes a list! Well!” I accused, “If he knows so freaking much about me, how come he doesn’t have a clue to what blasted language I speak?” I started to shake as I roared. “If the idiot is such a know-it-all, why? Why, was it that the talking G.I.Joe action figure I wanted so badly in grade three only spoke french!?!”
After three decades it felt good to finally vent.
In December I found the following note in my stocking on Christmas morning.