Santa at Dream-Light Speed


Me & The Jolly One

Circa: 1959. The place: Macy’s Herald Square. Here I am, your faithful and eccentric blogger (yes, I’m that old), photographed when he first visited Santa Claus. My expression of innocent incredulity reflects the claustrophobic glitter and glare of the crowded faces and noise, of anxious kids and harried parents, which surrounded me beyond the frame and encapsulated me within it.

I was trying to figure out the nature of this man’s game, obviously a gentleman of wealth and taste…and probably drunk. Going through the routine-prompted responses to “What’s your name, little boy?” to the crucial “What do you want for Christmas?,” my shy and reserved nature may have kicked-in and drifted-away on the flash of a camera and on the waves of light-speed to consider the following:

Indeed, I never expected the most expensive gifts and presents, yet forever hoped for the most affordable but magnificent. As a child, I loved to dream and explore fabulous venues of the hopeful and quietly ambitious, where marvelous trinkets and splendid baubles would fall from the stars like snowflakes. I could subconsciously relate to Jason’s adventurous search for a Golden Fleece, even before I knew who and what Jason and his Golden Fleece were all about…and how the ambitious bum later fleeced Medea.

Nevertheless, due to the harsh reality of my family not being the wealthiest in our neighborhood (which wouldn’t be saying much if we were), I soon became very adept at the art of restrictive dreaming. This was dreaming to the very edges of the impossible while remaining firmly rooted within the possible. To go further would be like traveling faster than the speed of light, which would be (in theory) impossible.

I learned how to dream and learned a little science at the same time; besides, the newly-founded NASA and space travel were the “right stuff” of the time. Even though I was hopelessly in love with music and grew to be (arguably) a musician, my dream then was to become an astronaut…always admiring things out of this world. Probably imagining that if the stars wouldn’t notice me I would go to them and announce myself.

Santa Claus, however, was a character of a different color and a different dream; famed far and wide (even narrowly near, through the cracks and crevices of my neighborhood) for his unique talents. Here was a non-stop, jolly old soul who was reputed to travel faster and perform feats beyond the merry speed of light, of happy time, of delightful space and all those other constraints that nature and reality mischievously impose on mortals.

He was credited with even equaling or surpassing Aladdin’s Genie in his ability to permanently suspend disbelief and transform the incredible into credible form, in spite of one’s better judgment. With his flying sled-load of endless gifts drawn by flying reindeer, in an instant of time he was said to visit every sleeping child in the world, sliding down chimneys (whether or not they were there), fearless of being shot as an intruder. A person couldn’t argue with this sort of man…considering how he dressed, it was best to humor him. I don’t remember what I asked Santa for but, thanks to my art of restrictive dreaming and my parents’ good credit line at Macy’s, my gifts magically arrived on Christmas morning.

As with Merlin and the Genie, it’s better not to probe too deeply into such matters as Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny or other such entities that defy light-speed: these are affairs of the heart, also defying the speed of light in our respective imaginations.

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