25X: Beards


Sirens slowly wound toward us from down the block, the dog and me.  Of course, my first thought was, somebody’s fir got a little too dry.  But the pace was too slow.  Ripley let loose a long, drawn out mixture of grunt and whine as he repositioned himself between my feet.

But the truck wasn’t moving fast enough for an emergency.  The pace of the truck was leisurely at best; its siren, not so leisurely.

Rounding the corner at the end of the block, behind the truck, was a full-on fire engine, blaring a different, but just as loud, alarm.  Perched on top near the base of the ladder was none other then ol’ Saint Nick himself.

“What the blerg is this?” I muttered to myself.  It was like 10AM on a Saturday, and my dog was increasingly flipping out underneath me.

Screw this Santa.  He wasn’t even sporting a full beard.

Now, I believe in Santa Claus.  Maybe not the North Pole, elf slave-labor version, but I consider that enlarged sense of generosity and thoughtfulness, the slight relief of selfishness, that spirit is collectively “Santa Claus.” To throw around a cliche: there’s a little bit of him in all of us.

Still, when Santas manifest themselves as real, live people, I expect them to commit to the role: fat, jolly, and with a real white beard.  The whole experience of a mall Santa may be fake as hell, but something about a real beard gives it weight, an anchor of believability.  It means this guy considers the role as important…or he’s just a creep-o with a wild beer who probably lives in the woods, makes his own moonshine and cuts hit toenails with a hunting knife.  Regardless, the beard needs to be real or that “Santa” is a fraud, throwing on some synthetic fiber for a quick buck.

Real beards or bust!