The Perfect Metaphor for a COVID Christmas

It started with a garage sale a few months ago. My wife is always on the lookout for ‘vintage’ items (however you define the term) since getting her mid-mod groove on a while back. Lamps and clocks are the typical fare but, as Forrest Gump was fond of saying, “You never know what you’re gonna get.”

This time she hit the jackpot – not only a sixties-era piece, but a Christmas item to boot (in case you’re counting, that’s two character-flaws). An old-school blow mold Santa, in decent shape for his age and sporting a three dollar price tag. Either the owners didn’t know what they had, as these things are becoming desirable and causing prices to climb, or they didn’t care and just wanted the jolly old elf out of their garage. I didn’t gripe too much, operating under the ‘it could always be worse’ assumption – at about four feet high, he was far less obnoxious than the giant inflatable Santas and their ever-whirring air pumps.

So this is his first season on the front porch…in fact, yesterday was his first day. And it turns out the blow molds are kind of a hot ticket. By that I mean the reprobates among us won’t hesitate to snatch them up and spirit them away due to the aforementioned desirability factor. To avoid such a fate, I brought him inside at the end of the night rather than just unplug him, and stood him next to the front door in anticipation of setting him right back out again the next day.

But I forgot to clear these actions with my dog Toby. As he was descending the stairs later that evening, I heard him growling softly, something he rarely if ever does. At first I couldn’t figure out what might be the problem, but then I realized that Kris Kringle was now an interloper in Toby’s world. Standing there in the half-light with his bag of toys and that vapid smile, the old guy could have been looting the place for all Toby knew.

Fair enough. Once I grasped the situation, I tried to explain who this rotund cherub dressed in red was, but Toby was having none of it. At that point all I could do was spin Santa around so that he and Toby were no longer making eye contact. That seemed to placate the dog, who crept up to the plastic statue and gave it a tentative sniff before going about his business. All good.

Of course, being of a certain age, by the next morning I forgot that I had done any of this. So as I came down the stairs…

          What to my wondering eyes should appear,

          But a miniature man with a bag of good cheer,

          At first I was startled and said “What the frick?!?”

          But knew in a moment it must be Saint Nick,

          He stood in a corner, his back turned to me,

          Looking as if he were taking a pee.

          I smiled when I saw him, finding it cute,

          But then had a thought ‘bout the jolly old coot.

          With COVID and lockdowns two years in a row,

          A piddling Santa seems quite apropos.

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