1 Thing Santa Has More of Than You and Me

He’s jolly.

I looked up the definition of “jolly,” and quickly found several dictionaries which claimed that the word is so little used that it has become “archaic.”

In other words, “Move over, Grandpa. No one under the age of seventy knows what you mean.”

Jolly is not complicated.

Jolly simply means “to purpose to be exceedingly glad.”

We don’t favor that anymore. We have this idea that we demonstrate our true worth by appearing strained, overworked, busy—and just a little bit cranky.

We assume someone who’s jolly has no worries whatsoever and therefore can presume to be frivolous.

But here’s a clue: that would not refer to Santa Claus.

You’d have to agree that he has a pretty big job. He’s supposed to provide toys and gifts for all the children of the world. And even though the calendar says he has three hundred and sixty-four days to do it, that would still require manufacturing and packaging millions of toys every single day.

What further complicates the Toymaker’s pursuit is that his employees have very tiny hands. I don’t know why he chose to labor with elves, but I certainly hope there won’t be a scandal over how much he pays them.

Also, I don’t know why he’s jolly since he’s so fat.

It certainly doesn’t make anyone else happy, with its threat of heart disease and diabetes. Being jolly would almost appear to be insanely in denial.

Yet for some reason, he giggles his way through several million chocolate chip cookies on one passage across the globe. (I wonder what that does to his blood sugar…?)

Meanwhile, how do you keep up with the inventory? The budget must be frightening. And on top of that, he’s supposed to be involved with animal husbandry—caretaking a whole team of reindeer.

Did I mention the fact that he runs a mailroom? And supposedly the billion or so letters which come his way every year—well, it’s claimed that his eyes fall on every list.

Then, after all of this concerted effort, he also has to deal with a wide range of disbelief. Each one of us probably would groan and moan at the first suggestion that we aren’t real, or we’re “against Jesus,” or that it’s time to hang up the red suit and “put the old boy on a diet.”

Yet, throughout history, including literature, one of the first words used to describe Old Saint Nick is “jolly.”

It kind of makes you wonder what we achieve by trying to appear so adult and contemplative.

It certainly doesn’t draw children.

And it doesn’t make us the point of focus for one full month a year, while those on their way to Bethlehem to worship the Christ child stop off to see Saint Nicholas, requesting their hopes and dreams.

Joy to the world should never be stated or sung by a grumpy believer.

Go ahead–try jolly.

At the very least, it’ll give you a word that you have to explain to all the millennials.

 

 

Untotaled: Stepping 1 … February 8, 2014

Jonathots Daily Blog

(2145)

(Transcript)

December 18th, 1963.

It was my twelfth birthday. Twelve years of age is such an annoying station of life. You’re not a kid, not a teenager, not an adult, not … anything.

You are stuck in some sort of limbo between a former oblivion and what might be an emerging consciousness. This grants you the ignoble position of being invisible.

My mother gave me a birthday present of one pound of pickle pimento loaf, purchased from Dick’s Market. It was not a slight nor an insult, but rather, a gracious response to my request. I loved pickle pimento loaf. Sweet pickles, pimentos with red dots pretending to have taste, surrounded by bologna. And it was beautifully presented–white butcher paper with some holiday scotch tape holding the package together, sporting holly and bells. After all, it was the season to be jolly.

And for the next fifteen minutes of consumption of the delicious treat, I was. Jolly, that is. It was so good that I ate it all in one sitting.

It was a confirmation of both my birthday and for a lifestyle choice–to be a fat person. Yet I needed that present to prepare me–anesthetize me–for the arrive of Aunt Myrtle and Uncle Benny.

They were coming to celebrate my birthday. Actually, no such jubilation was possible. Aunt Myrtle didn’t like me–always displaying a half-smile pasted below her German nose, prepared to turn into a full-fledged snarl at any moment. Uncle Benny, on the other hand, had his emotional backbone removed decades earlier, and more recently, a similar operation snipping his vocal chords.

You see, Aunt Myrtle had a favorite word.

“Tidy.” To this day I hate that term–tidy. Up-tight and makes me want to die. Ti-dee.

She had three criticisms which she rattled off immediately upon seeing me.

  • Your shirt tail’s hanging out.
  • Your fingernails are too long.
  • Stop slouching.

But in commemoration of my birthday, she added a fourth complaint. Out of the great, cloudy sky of her demeanor, she suddenly asked me, “Do you use deoderant?”

She went on to explain that I was becoming “a little man” and that my body excreted odors displeasing to others. She offered to bring me a tube of her favorite roll-on the next time she came.

Something snapped inside me. I needed to get out of that room. I knew the best way to achieve the purpose was to become insolent, so that my parents would dismiss me. So I asked Aunt Myrtle, “Do you like me?”

Shocked, she replied, “Well, I love you.”

I didn’t miss a beat. “Aunt Myrtle, it would be better if you liked me.”

This simple exchange seemed to set the whole conclave ablaze with disapproval. I was quickly sent to my room, banished from any further proceedings. I feigned disappointmend and arriving in my cave of seclusion, I shut the door and leaned my back against it.

Still lying on my bed was that wonderful white butcher paper, torn asunder. I eased my way over and lay down next to the present. I sniffed the paper for its former contents.

“You are empty, butcher paper,” I said, cuddling closer.

And so am I.

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