I was talking to my brother about family vacations the other day and I got to thinking about how, for many years, my family would go to the Jersey Shore from the DC metro area for fun in the sun.
My parents both grew up in Philly so it was a logical destination - that's where their friends and family would congregate. It was either in Sea Isle City or Avalon. I believe there was the odd Stone Harbor rental thrown in there once or twice.
But besides the aunts, uncles and cousins; besides the sunburn, salt water taffy, swedish fish, and skee ball; besides the boardwalk, bodyboarding, and the buff lifeguards all the cute girls would gravitate to, there was the trip to the Christmas shop which would inevitably be having its "Xmas in July!" sale.
My mother loved Christmas. I say that like she still doesn't. There's an unwritten code in the family and that is that you go to mom's house for Christmas. She has taken to collecting Santas over the years. She has to take pictures of them displayed because otherwise she might forget she possesses them.
Anyway, my youngest son decided to rent some Nickelodeon compilation DVD of Nick Xmas shows.
"Christmas in July," I thought. Then I thought about how one of the reasons I hated living in Los Angeles was that, as I once proudly proclaimed in a poem, that in LA it is the same in July as it is in December. In other words, outside of the piped music and displays in drug stores, you may never know Christmas was upon you because you'd still be wearing a t-shirt, shorts and ride with your windows down. This was a huge mindfucked for a boy who grew up on the East Coast with a mom who made the most out of Christmas. Hell, I don't like scraping the ice off my windshield but at least I feel like time has passed, not like I'm stuck in some age-less Twilight Zone episode.
So today we had to return the Christmas DVD and my boys were talking in the back about to each other about what they wanted to ask Santa for Christmas this year and would alternately then ask me how long it would be until Christmas. And, as it is common with the post-modern world, I got blindsided by "questions I cannot answer."
The first was, "If people don't have chimneys, how does Santa get into there house?"
That was followed by, "Those people have two chimneys, which one does Santa use?"
And then, brace yourself, there was this: "What's Santa's email address?"
Ah, modern technology.
So Santa may have an email address but he rarely checks it because it gets so much spam and he's too busy getting his elves to make all those toys that he doesn't have time to go through all that junk email. Sorry kids.
Cell phone? Well when you live at the North Pole your signal tends to drop out a lot. I mean that aurora borealis can really throw off a signal.
They're gonna catch me in the lie soon. It almost happened last fall when we saw road killed deer on the side of the road with blood on its snout.
"Dad look!" said my son Spencer. "Something's dead on the side of the road."
His younger brother chimed in, "Is that Rudolph?"
Of course I had to stop, show them the corpse, explain it wasn't Rudolph.
Because showing them a dead deer was better than trying to explain the lore of a Red-Nosed Reindeer.