all of the selves we Have ever been
Letters to Santa--Red, White, and Blue
Dear Mr. Santa Claus:
It has come to my attention that many people are planning to submit their Christmas wish lists on paper via the U.S. Postal Service this year. That can’t happen. It will be a total disaster. Don’t be fooled by claims that people need to submit their wishes in this manner just because of a little worldwide pandemic. People are making too much of this Chinese virus, or the Kung flu, as I like to call it. We need more focus on the economy and on me. Therefore, I insist that any individual who wants a present this year come to a crowded department store and make his or her request in person. Feel free to give each person a MAGA hat for stopping by—that’s on me because I am the most generous President that’s ever lived, and Christmas is a red holiday.
Please be aware that I am onto those letter-dumping schemes. Millions and millions of people all over the United States are filling Santa mailboxes with multiple letters using different names, even the names of dead people. This is especially true in Georgia, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin. I will not stand for this. We will be sending pole watchers to read every letter and cross-check every address and signature. We don’t care if it takes all year or even four years because we know the result we are looking for, and we won’t give up until we get it.
I want it clear that I will get everything I want for Christmas this year or the entire timeless holiday tradition is over. I will bury you in litigation and send angry mobs to your home to dismantle your workshop, terrorize your elves, slap the red nose off of Rudolph, and hang you out to dry like a string of blown Christmas lights. People will forget you ever lived. We’ll even do away sleighs and snow.
One of my campaign promises was to bring back coal. It’s a beautiful thing, and I expect your full cooperation with this initiative. Since I am the one who determines who is naughty or nice this year, every person in each of the blue states, every registered Democrat, and every relative of a registered Democrat should receive a stocking full of coal this year. It’s my two–birds-with-one-stone policy.
Believe you me, I am already searching for your replacement. Krampus is tops on the list should you let me down by becoming a stupid loser. No administration ever has had the record-setting turnover of this administration. No one. Ever. I’m not afraid to tweet, “You’re fired!” You’ll find out. You’ll see.
A President of the United States
Dear Santa Claus,
As you know, there is a world-wide pandemic this year. With just days until Christmas, we have no hope that this scourge will end in time for your annual visit. As an essential worker, you may ignore the stay-at-home orders and the curfews. Considering your traditional twelve-month quarantine, we have deemed you safe for travel, and we are providing you with this authorization. Continue to come when we are sleeping to avoid face-to-face contact. There will be no holding children on your lap this year. And please do not attempt to kiss mama underneath the mistletoe.
I know you are a manufacturing genius, but can you please shop local this year? There is curbside pick-up so you won’t be slowed down. Food is a welcome present this year, and if you have some jobs to offer, there are many in need. Rent vouchers and gift cards are also appropriate. Please send as much PPE as you can spare and adequate vaccine for all of our citizens.
An American Governor
People have been calling us health care heroes, but we don’t feel much like heroes. We cannot keep up with the need. We are exhausted and terrified. A microscopic Grinch is stealing Christmas this year.
We don’t have much time for list-making, and the accumulation of stuff no longer matters. We won’t be home to open presents from under our trees. We now appreciate what it means to carry the weight of the world on our shoulders. The entire world is falling ill.
You know what it means to have everyone wanting something from you. We get it now, and we want to lighten your load and the weight of your sleigh. These are our most fervent wishes, and they will not take up much space: Bring us health. Bring us unity. We know that joy will follow.
We need you this year, Santa. We are short on beds, short on staff, and short on strength.
An American Health Care Worker
For the Birds
I awaken this morning
and immediately begin to think how best to use yet another long, shelter-in-place day. I step to the window for the weather report. The sun is coming up in a clear blue sky, a welcome relief from the recent persistent heavy cloud cover and rain. Sliding the window open, I take the morning’s temperature. Perfect!
Dressing quickly, I head for the urban bike path near my home. It is a lonely start. No one passes by with a nod of greeting, no “good mornings.”
A few mores paces, and I begin to hear it. Voices are singing. A choir stretches the length of the path, right and left. Like long strands of twinkling Christmas lights, the birds fill the dark, leafless trees; they tuck themselves into the shrubs. Some divas claim the spotlight high up on the utility wires.
I listen to the blend of raucous voices, tweets and twitters, cheeps and chirps, songs and calls. A loud, insistent voice shouts “be-caws, be-caws.” Tell me more, I think. Do you have an answer to our troubles?
Since last I stepped out on the bike path, the birds returned en masse to this, their summer home. It is a joy to see this flock of essential workers. They have pollinating to do, seeds to disperse. Poop where they may, the ground needs fertilized. No need to fight over toilet paper. There is pest control to be done and scavenging to keep nature clean of decay. A good-natured bunch they are, singing as they work. Soon they will search for food to feed their young. More voices will join the work force and the choir.
The birds remind me that there are seasons in life. Each spring they return home to a place that is barren. They are not discouraged by the sight of empty sidewalks, leafless trees and lifeless soil. The task of these essential workers is resurrection, a mighty job of pollinating, seeding, fertilizing, cleaning, and pest control. We are aware of none of it. All we know is that they are singing.