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2006-12-03 @ 3:52 p.m.

Dear Santa:
As you know, I've never really believed in you, even as a kid. I suppose my childhood disbelief really had to do with the fact that my parents used to use you as a disciplinary measure rather than as a jolly loving guy who gave me presents.

How did that work? Well, we'd all be sitting around the dinner table, I'd smart off, and then my mother's head would immediately snap to the left and say, "Oh my god, Santa's looking in the window! He just heard you be bad! I guess you're not going to be getting any presents!" And then I'd jump up and try to see him in the window and not be able to see any more than a few palm trees fronds hitting the glass. And then five minutes later, she'd do it again. "Look! There he is again!!" and my Dad would agree. Of course, my Dad was an alcoholic and probably didn't realize that the fat guy staring in the window was, in fact, his own reflection, but I digress, because I'd jump up again and Santa wouldn't be there and then I'd get all frustrated and angry and pouty. Hey! Kinda like I am now!!

And then my mom started using it when I was in the bathroom taking a bath. She'd walk by the slightly open door and say, "Oh my God! I think I just saw Santa looking in the window! You better hurry up!"

WTF? Please Santa, please tell me you weren't watching me take a bath. I mean I know all about that "I see you when you're sleeping, I know when you're awake" stuff. I mean that sounds kinda pervy as it is. I mean, what are you doing running around looking at kids? Shouldn't you be up at the North Pole with the elves, building Play Stations or something? That's kinda creepy. In fact, even as a kid, it was so creepy, I eventually got scared of you. Remember?

Every year my mom would say, "You wanna go see Santa down at the mall, witty?" And to myself I'd be going, "Why go to the Mall? That damn perv's been hanging out at my window every night for the last frickin' month!" So I'd always go "No. That's okay. I'll just wish really hard for my presents."

Because to be perfectly honest, I kinda knew they were in the living room closet we never used anyways. And plus my mom, who really wasn't interested in sustaining my child-like wonder in Christmas, used to put wrapped presents under the tree early. Like December 10. So when she left the room, I'd grab the one that said, "To: Witty From: Santa" and shake the hell out of it. If it was soft and rustlely, it was clothes. Blerge!! If it clanked: Roller skates. If it was solid but not metallic: a doll!

I remember one time there was a package wrapped for our dachshund Whiskey. Of course Whiskey was just a dog and couldn't comprehend that Christmas was on December 25th and yet, evidently she could smell some dog bones wrapped in some flimsy Christmas wrapping paper with dogs on it. Heh, like she could really comprehend that either. The Christmas dog wrapping paper. Anyhoo, all she knew was that there were dog bones under a tree in the living room. It was like a doggie wet dream. Dog bones. Indoor trees! Whee!

So when nobody was looking...not even you Santa, the dog scarfed up all the dog bones AND the wrapping paper all in one sweeping Hoover-like move. I guess she thought they were sauteed in some exotic Christmas paper de'doggie in Santa hats sauce. My mom was so mad! I guess because she had also rooted through the rest of the presents looking for dog bones and chewed holes in most of our presents. Bad doggie!

But see, none of this would have happened if she had waited for you to bring them on December 25th. But since she had already destroyed the myth of Christmas and you were merely just some weird fat guy in a velvet suit down in the Mall, almost nothing could make me want to go see you. Nothing.

Okay, I did go once. And it was horrifying. It was at the old Mets Department store and I was standing in line with all these kids, watching at least every third kid burst into tears as they were placed on your lap. And I was like, what the hell, he's even scarier in person. Because as you know, at least for people with anxiety, the anticipation of any event is almost always worst than the actual event. So I had a death grip on my mom's hand and she kept telling me not to was ONLY Santa. Yeah, right. The guy who's been looking in my window while I was taking a bath, fercrissakes.

So I finally got to your royal throne of Christmasness and rather hesitantly crawled into your lap, sorta like a tiny cute bunny would hop into the mouth of a massive, snarling crocodile for a Discovery Channel special, and you leaned over and said, "So honey, what do you want for Christmas?"

And at that moment, time stopped. Everything blurred out. I couldn't see my mom who was standing about 2 feet away. I felt dizzy. And I definitely knew I couldn't look up at you, so I just yelled, "EVERYTHING!!!!!" and took off running across the store and hid under a clothes rack. My mom couldn't find me and they finally had to call my name over the store loudspeaker. Remember, Santa?

So, as you can see, I come by my anxiety problems legitimately. I do wish I could ask you for presents, even though I'd feel like a hypocrite. My present has nothing to do with a store bought item though. I'm so used to going without, that its just a way of life. New clothes? Ha! Haven't had any in about five years, other than sneakers. New CDs or DVDs? Only as gifts from my wonderful friend down in Manhattan. New sheets or bedspread? They're all from Goodwill and garage sales. Dishes? Garage sales. Frames for artwork? Garage sales and Goodwill. Furniture? Inherited from my Dad and its falling apart.

What do I want for Christmas, Santa? Happiness. One size fits all. I thought I had a possible lead on that with Handyman, but he called this morning and canceled our date. He had some paperwork to attend to. He wasn't mean or anything. In fact we talked about a lot of things after that. But I cried during the conversation. I felt stupid and didn't do it on purpose. Oh no. I tried really hard to choke it back...but Oy! I have overies, dude. And you know how THAT is!

So I think I should be getting a call to appear on the "He's Just Not Into You" segment on "Oprah" next week. And to think, I used to think those girls were such losers.

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Lyrics by Lennon/McCartney. All angst copyright by awittykitty