Santa Claws

12/09/95 (Guest Ranter: Scott Jennings)

tell me tell me
why you do whatever you do
tell me tell me
why you always let me down
tell me tell me
how you can ever sleep at night
tell me
tell me

tell me tell me
why you lied about my god
tell me tell me
why you let me live in pain
tell me tell me
what you get from this holy farce
tell me
tell me

tell me yell me
what there is that I can do
tell me tease me
with the hope of something good
tell me make me
into something bit more whole
tell me
tell me
tell me

And a "Ho Ho Ho!" from this sad, benighted administrative corner of Ellison Webderland. I'm I'm your guest ranter this evening. Please do not adjust your audio, and whatever you do, ignore the leopard.

I'm told Harlan Ellison doesn't like receiving Christmas cards.

This is probably due to some nagging small detail such as some of his best friends being Jewish (his mother and father, for example) but I'd like to think it's a bit deeper then that. It is for me, anyway.

Christmas for me died when I was 12 years old.

At the time, I was a fairly typical juvenile delinquent, breaking into thinks, staying away from school, plotting how best to vex authority figures, looking at girls oddly, the usual.

Anyway, it was Christmas morning (which is always anticlimactic for me anyway, since my birthday’s a week before Christmas and the celebratory thing just kind of all ran together into a sloppy mess) and I, as was usual, argued loudly and with great gusto with my mother and finally stormed out of the house.

However, as I said, it was Christmas morning. The arcade was closed -- so much for answering the challenge "Can You Penetrate Our Scramble System?". In fact, pretty much every damn thing in the city was closed, and it was unseasonably cold (this being Florida, any degree of cold qualifies), and I was left to wandering the deserted streets aimlessly.

Twelve years of age is far too young to start developing angst, but I was well on my way. What was it with this place, anyway. Dammit, the whole country shuts down just over some Jewish kid who got killed later anyway. Goddam Christian theocracy. Everyone’s supposed to be happy. Well, I’m not happy, dammit. I’m wandering aimlessly down University Avenue (every large city has a University Avenue -- it’s the law) and it’s Christmas morning and it would be nice to just have a normal life once in a goddam while like you see on TV.

That was about the time I quit merrily singing carols.

As I grew older I looked at the phenomenon with a bit more depth -- the callous cynicism of using a supposed religious holiday to move money from pocket A to merchant B. The enforced good cheer, deviance of which was punishable by smart bombs, or at least societal approbation. And the fact that this little farce happens EVERY YEAR. Like clockwork. Every year. Twelve months and it happens again, and you get to grin and go out and buy moldy fruit cakes and silly ties and elbow aside millions of the lumpenproletariat in malls and pretend as though you’re having the time of your life.

And every year it gets earlier and earlier. I don’t know if anyone else noticed, but Thanksgiving was CANCELLED this year. The Christmas monster encroached against the November holiday so much, that the wimpier turkey day just delivered an unconditional surrender.

And yes, I am well aware that children take a special joy in this time of year and it inculcates a sense of good cheer and wonder that we would do well to emulate. Uh, I hate to be the bearer of foul tidings, but most children I know take a special joy in this time of year because they get stuff. Lots of stuff. Very few of the precious little rug rats would have that special joy and wonder if the Blue Power Ranger was not delivered unto them. And they grow up into frat boys and Southern American Princesses expecting the world to be nice, clean, tidy, white, Protestant, and reasonably wealthy.

It’s the Christmas conspiracy. Do your part to sabotage it -- take the opportunity this year to open a CD or something equally miserly. When happy carols come on the alternative rock station, slip a Public Image Ltd. tape on, just as an antidote.

And as the year draws to a close, remember that the really cool holiday is just around the corner -- because on New Year’s Eve, no one cares if you drink yourself senseless.

Scott Jennings
December, 1995

Editor's Note: Scott Jennings is the Webmaster of, the server on which Ellison Webderland lives. Scott is a fine friend and a poet who wouldn't want you to know he is often kind to small animals.

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