I’ve written about my unlikely family circumstance before, so this may not be news to many of you. You see, my closest family members have jobs with real honorifics like Honorable and Excellency — not phony ones like “Captain.” They spend their days making Important Decisions and being Respectable, while I run around with kids and try to write jokes that don’t offend my more reputable wife and brother.
Other than the constraints this puts on me as a humorist, it sometimes makes me feel… well, kind of lowly.
But there are other times, too, like last week.
My wife had gotten the girls an “Elf on the Shelf,” which, if you don’t know, is a gazillion-dollar idea that must be making every day Christmas for the people who created it. Anyway, you are supposed to give your elf a name. Any name you want. Most kids give it a boy’s name, but my girls, who always have to be different, gave their elf the name Violet. Remember that name, because Violet, according to the book that comes with the elf, reports to Santa every night.
Naturally, this got the girls all excited to go see Santa in person. Now, now, now! So, at the first opportunity, I put them in the car and drove out to a mall in the suburbs where we found our way into the Santa line.
The Santa there had a real beard, real hair and real belly, which made him look altogether real. But at a high-end mall, you’d expect that from a Santa.
When it was our turn to see him, he walked up to the girls and said, “Rebecca? Lucy? Is that you? Why, you’ve grown so much since last year!”
Okay, big deal, right? Lots of mall Santas have elf helpers who get the kids’ name from the parents and pass them along to the big guy.
But the next thing out of his mouth was, “Violet has been telling me so many good things about you lately.”
Violet??? Did he just say… Violet?
Pop! The girls’ eyes snapped wide open. Santa knew the name of their elf! Clearly this was the Real Santa!
They’ll believe until they’re 30.
Magic, right? Nope. Captain Dad knows people in low places. Like the mall. The guy with the beard is a guy I know from a writing workshop (held in the same room I drew for last week’s workshop cartoon, by the way). For the last couple Christmases, I’ve slipped him an email with personal details to instill my children with the wonder of the season.
Oh, yeah. Who da man? Captain Dad, that’s who.
My wife may know the President, my brother may know the Pope. But, me?
I know Santa Claus.