Saturday, December 09, 2006

Saint Ersatz

Unseemly (and unsightly, some would say) as it seems, Pawlie Kokonuts (a.k.a. The Laughorist) played the part of Saint Nicholas yesterday. (This is either a new low, or a new high, depending on one's honesty or perspective.) The appearance marked the Feast of Saint Nicholas, December 6, at a local church event.

It involved Yours Truly donning a long, white robelike article of clothing, cardboard bishop's miter, wooden staff, and red velvety cape that weighs about 127 pounds. I did not wear a beard (except for my real goatee, trimmed very tightly today incidentally) or in any way try to disguise my so-called normal visage and appearance. And no ho-ho-ho's.

If you children don't behave, I will either spank you, or show you pictures of this episode.

In all seriousness, I tried to -- in a quiet way -- make a sort-of anti-Santa Claus statement.

The youngsters gathered around in a circle before me, and I crouched down to chat with them. Here are some of the things I told them, or tried to convey (whether based on facts or legends, I didn't get into; it doesn't matter):

  • The real Saint Nicholas, from present-day southeastern Turkey but under control of Greece in the 4th century, loved the poor.
  • And he showed it. When his wealthy parents died, he gave his whole inheritance toward helping the poor and lonely and troubled and suffering.
  • The whole bit about putting little gifts in stockings or shoes was based on the legend of his anonymous gifts to poor girls.
  • He loved children.
  • He loved them whether they were naughty or nice. He loved them. Period.
I don't deny I am flawed and filled with many contradictions. (After all, last month I managed to read these two books, though not exactly simultaneously: The Pornographer, a novel by the late Irish author John McGahern, and Praying Like Jesus: The Lord's Prayer in a Culture of Prosperity by James Mulholland. The former was ultimately dismal and only occasionally erotic, sort of like the movie "Alfie"; the latter was a challenging indictment about the misuses of Christianity in the world's richest nation.)

My point is: somehow I juggle these disparate tangents of self, these self-delusions.

But yesterday's event, and my little research leading up to it, underscored how Western society, and most especially the United States, has perverted everything Saint Nicholas stood for. We call it Christmas and Santa Claus, but ain't it really Capitalism and $anta Claw$? (And I'm not naive: an immediate cessation of this nonsense would cause economic hardship to many; the tamped-down economic activity would shed thousands and thousands, if not millions, of real jobs.)

Well, it explains, just a little, why I'm such a holiday curmudgeon.

Laugh. Or....

Else.

9 comments:

mist1 said...

My Grandma still sends me a $5 bill for St. Nick's Day. Who sends cash in the US mail anymore? Clearly, Grandma hasn't heard about the Amex Gift Card.

Odat said...

I'm all for going back to the simpler versions of what the holidays really are supposed to mean. It's a wonder why society is the way it is today..(OMG I sound like my mother!) Anyway I would have loved to see pictures of your St. Nick..... ;-)
Peace

Glamourpuss said...

Dear St Nick Kokonuts
I have been a very naughty girl this year.

I think I need to be spanked...

Puss

MyHeartHurts said...

Hi there Saint Nick... Wow! I am so impressed! I have been more naughty than nice this year but I promise to do better next year! ;) Unless... hmm sorry... shouldn't have read the comment by glamourpuss because now I can't seem to think! All the best! ~M

Meloncutter said...

Should we not start our own holiday and call it Capitalistmas?
A Parody holiday. I may make this an issue in my run for President. You just got 2 brownie points for my selection as VP.

Vote for Meloncutter and Fuggemall

Good Post!

Later Y'all

Natalie said...

I just hear d about a bunch of anticlaus types who go around on busses and do a pub crawl in Santa outfits. I think your vesion is much nicer.

Sheila said...

Wow, great post. Christmas used to mean something to people and now it's all about money... what the fuck! Well, hope you have a nice holiday anyway! ;o)

Margiemix said...

Sounds like it was a lot of fun! They came up with a "Copper Clause" here. A Police Officer with a furry blue outfit and hat. His elves are the Savannah SWAT Team and on Christmas Eve they'll swarm down the chimney looking to collect on all those unpaid bribes of the past year.

Crankster said...

Good for you. As the wife and I try to figure out how to help our daughter celebrate Christmas in a decent, non-greedy way, this story is a little inspirational.