Mr. Claus goes to Washington
By Michael M. Bates
Prancer could tell there was trouble. Santa had been downing hot cocoas all afternoon. Straight.
The reindeer asked the jolly elf if there were a problem. Santa looked down at the huge pile of letters on his desk. That was clearly the trouble.
"When Britney wrote me asking for underwear, I thought I'd seen everything. Not that she intended to use it, she just wanted it handy in case she has to go to a hospital. But look at the rest of these," Santa said.
Prancer glanced at the top one, from Teddy Kennedy. "Dear Santa, I already have enough toys. So all I want for Christmas is for you to not fly your polluting sleigh over the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, one of my pet interests. You know how much I value the wild life."
"Well, at least he's not asking for another case of Chivas Regal and an 18-year-old Korean orphan to adopt like he usually does," said Santa.
The next letter is from George W. Bush. "Hey, Santa. Please give me a believable pretext to stay out of Washington for the next two years. Not that I'm fearful of being investigated or subpoenaed or impeached or anything like that. If those Democrats think they're going to get away with it, they've misunderestimated me again."
Altruistic as always, Hillary Clinton doesn't request anything for herself. No, she only wants Santa to give Senator Barack Hussein (yes, that's his middle name) Obama something very special this year: an intern just like her husband had.
Coincidentally, right beneath Hillary's letter is one from Mr. Rodham Clinton. He asks for the same exact present. For himself, though, not Barack. Guess the former president's not as selfless as the Mrs. Or as smart.
Prancer keeps looking through the letters. John Edwards writes: "Santa, I really, really want a Play Station 3. My only wish is that it not come from Wal-Mart or, if it does, no one knows it's for me."
Former Congressman Mark Foley admits in his letter that he's been "a little naughty this year," but hopes Santa will stop at the rehab center – where he's making great strides - and drop off some computer software that'll let him browse the Internet anonymously.
Current Congressman William Jefferson's letter is chilling: "Hey, Santa, this Christmas I'd like a new set of Tupperware. As the FBI learned when they found $90,000 in my freezer, I like to keep my ‘lettuce' on ice so it stays nice and crisp. Thanks, and let me know if there are any special favors I can do for you, big guy. If so, I've enclosed a large, plain brown envelope for your convenience."
Nancy Pelosi writes Santa: "I need something extraordinary this Christmas. As you know, Santa, there are constant mean-spirited comments made about my supposedly having a facelift or two. Or five. Hurtful words about me, the first woman speaker of the House, looking like the Joker in Batman and other cruel things and are those people ever going to get it when I'm in charge and total control and make their lives thoroughly miserable by. . . ..
"Anyway, what I'd like you to bring me is a surgeon capable of doing ‘some work' very discreetly. I'd be ever so happy if I were able to blink again. Preferably by January 3, 2007."
And so the letters went. All from Washington, all from politicians with specific requests. New Senate majority leader Harry Reid wants a personality. John Kerry asks for either a gag writer or a sense of humor; no more botched jokes for him. Howard Dean tells Santa he'd like some Xanax for those moments when he feels like emitting another scream heard round the world.
John McCain, known for his flaring temper, needs a copy of "How to Win Friends and Influence People." In observance of his new position of unimportance, Denny Hastert wants "The Incredible Shrinking Man" on DVD. Trent Lott requests a new comedy CD, "The Discriminating Humor of Michael Richards," with an intro by Mel Gibson.
"Year after year these characters pretend they're me and hand out ‘gifts' paid for by other people," said Santa, "and yet they still want me to remember them with presents every Christmas. It's more than a soul can take sometimes."
Prancer nudged him comfortingly. "It's OK, Santa, it's OK. We have a lump of coal for every lump in Washington." Santa visibly brightened. Maybe it would be a merry Christmas after all.
This column by Michael M. Bates appeared in the December 7, 2006 Reporter Newspapers.