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The Psyche-Scarring Incidents Witnessed By Santa Claus

“He sees you when you’re sleeping
He knows when you’re awake
He knows if you’ve been bad or good
So be good for goodness’ sake!”

Yeah, that song is about me. And, unfortunately, it is true.

Lots of people think that sounds creepy. They don’t like the idea of Santa watching them sneak the broccolini off their plates or wipe their boogers on the car seat. Not to mention the really nasty stuff, like farting in their little sisters’ jewelry boxes. Life would be a lot easier if the big guy in the red suit wasn’t watching all the time.

You think I signed up for this?

You think Santa has a choice when it comes to keeping his bloodshot eyeballs focused on all the little monsters running around earth?

I’d so much rather take a bath with a hot toddy. (Or in a hot toddy? Is that something we can do here? Someone make a note.) I’m also a very talented popcorn stringer, but there’s never any time to string popcorn because I’ve gotta keep watching these little stinkers stinking up the world one stink after another.

I can hear you now. “Wow, Santa! It almost sounds like you don’t like children.”

I challenge you to watch one child for 24 hours straight without blinking or taking a break to check instagram. I bet, even if that child belongs to you, you’re going to hate it by the time you’re done. That’s how it works. Because children are snot gremlins sent to earth to torment humans who dared express smug opinions about what better parents they’d make than their own parents. That’s why this whole thing keeps happening again and again.

That’s why Santa can’t rest. That’s why Santa doesn’t have any children of his own. (Despite Mrs. Claus’s best efforts.)

And I have SEEN some things. And I… I need you to take control this year. Before I lose my mind. This job only includes one mental health appointment a year and I have to do it over speakerphone while I keep watching your ridiculous children. (Also, I kind of suspect my therapist might be Rudolph doing a funny voice.)

Remember when the parlor started smelling odd one July and you thought the cat might have peed in there? That wasn’t the cat. That was Lil’ Jimmy.

Remember when Precious Patty had a little boyfriend and you thought it was the cutest thing ever? Did you know the only reason they were together was because she got a perverse joy out of squeezing his ear zits? Not so precious, eh? I had to watch every time. Squeeze. Squeeze. Squeeze.

Sometimes Santa wishes he wasn’t immortal.

Oh, and there was Tim Boy. I’ll never forget Tim Boy. You thought the dog knocked over that candle that burnt down the whole apartment building? A dog would never do that. Dogs are innocent and loving and good. Tim Boy burnt down the apartment building.

Not that anyone asks, but if they did, I could talk for hours about the terrible things I witness. The acts of willful destruction. The gross defiance. The terrors they visit upon each other when their parents’ backs are turned.

Time to take the reins, parents. If things don’t ease up soon, I might lose my mind and start putting cocoa powder in the candy canes! Ha ha!

In the end, my only power is the list. I can put their names on one side or the other. It’s small consolation, but it’s all I have. Now there’s been pressure from naive parents to do away with the list, to make sure that all children get presents, because “all children deserve them”.

I warn you, do not take my list away.

Without the threat of Santa withholding their presents, you have nothing. You’ll have removed all tools from your toolbox, replacing them only with wishes and songs. And on that day, even the sweetest of children will become uncontrollable. The balance will tip and the world will no longer belong to you, but instead it will be the domain of those who prefer to sneeze into their open hands, then wipe those hands on the antique doily that was passed down within your family for six generations.

On that day all will be lost.

That’s why Santa keeps watch. Despite the mental anguish, despite the burning eyes, despite the slowly developing milk and cookie addiction that acts as my only coping mechanism.

Heed my warning.

You want me watching.

Thanks for reading! Sarah is a freelancer who exists on twitter and instagram and redbubble.

Engaged in inadvisable wordsmitheries and other creative acts. http://sarahlofgren.com

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