Following our recent move, I came across this old photo. It is the last in a series of four annual photos taken at the same department store Santa chair over the first four years of my life.
This photo is important for two reasons:
The first: It was taken at the age when I was at the peak of my physical attractiveness.
The second: Apparently, this was where I began learning to stand up for myself.
I honestly cannot remember the circumstances now, but by examining the photo as forensic evidence, the camera appears to have caught me in the act of
You’ll notice from the photo that Santa Claus caught my wrist just before I closed the deal with a sucker punch to the gut.
Having been a fair-minded child, I must assume that he had brought on this incident himself, probably from having failed to deliver the goods after nodding assent to a whispered request the previous year. Even then I had a weak stomach for double-crossers.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Clearly, I had no intention of playing the fool a second time.
In retrospect, I probably should have spent more time working on my Hey, look over there! fake smile, which, evidently, did not produce the measure of distraction necessary to cause the Jolly Old Elf to drop his defenses. Perhaps he’s seen that trick before.
Whatever I asked him for that year is lost in the mists of time, but I don’t doubt that the message I delivered to a certain Mr. Claus that day was received, loud and clear.
I don’t recall being disappointed the following Christmas morning.