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Uneasy Lies the Cap...Cont'd

conscience, apparently, as eyebrows knit away at a difficult decision. Pursing his lips, and wrestling with his chair, he tilted his head to one side. "I must confess, this will be a first, and you may not like what you hear from me."

"I don't understand - you're Santa - what's not to like about Santa...?" I pressed, raising his gift of cables as example "You give selflessly, you fill people's dreams and you have a jolly disposition - you're an inspiration to everyone!"

"Am I...?" he volleyed, becoming unlikely philosopher in red and white fur "What it is to be truly selfless is to be without self - an emptiness that may only be filled vicariously by the joy and tears of others. I know who's naughty and nice because these are not drowned out by my own conscience. I am not kind; I am, however, a kindred spirit - a like kind - one intimately familiar with the wants and needs of those around me rather than my own. I deliver only to the good people of this Earth - which simply makes me a karmic mirror. I don't inspire, I reflect."

"Would that be why you give coal to the naughty?" I fired in.

"No, but let me tell you about that mistake" Santa leaned back, eyes rolling, "My first winter, when I was still pretty green, I used to give out one lump of coal for each and every bad deed one did - that is, until the Pyrolas brothers came along. Peter Pyrolas took advantage of the policy and started a campaign of round-the-clock misbehavin' that lasted all year. His brother Herb did nice deeds all year, then he asked me for a truck. When Christmas came along, Peter got tons of coal and Herb got his truck. They made millions on the open market. I'll never live that one down." He laughed heartily, then I joined in, knowing that I'd not offend him.

"I'm surprised to hear that you of all people have regrets, Santa" my amazement leading him on, "What is your biggest regret?"

He sat quietly, reflecting to find delicate words. "I deeply regret what I cannot give" his voice choking. "People think of me as a miracle maker - a limitless fountain of good deeds. I am limited to giving things."

"What's wrong with that?" I asked with growing confusion. He fell silent for what seemed like hours. A troubled, wordless conversation chased 


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Jaywalker December 2003



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