December 1, 2011
"Barry, whom shall we get to play Santa for the White House Christmas party this year? Last year's guy turned out to be a Tea Party operative who told all the kids you were playing Santa Claus with their parents' money. I should've known. I thought I smelled Darjeeling on his breath."
"How about Newt Gingrich? He's got the girth and the hair. I wonder if he can grow a beard in a couple weeks."
"He's grown noses in less time than that."
"Forget it. He's too erratic. We need a stable Santa. Besides, his name sounds too much like ‘Grinch.'"
"What about Romney? That chameleon could morph into a Santa in the space of a debate cycle. The only problem is, not even Republican kids would believe in him. His name fits, though — every all-American boy and girl wants to find a mitt under the tree. Who else? Clinton?"
"Michelle, you've hit on it! Clinton's got global qualifications and I love that disheveled white hair. Add a red pant-suit, and . . ."
"Not Hillary, sillery. I meant Bill."
"Oh, Bill! Never think of him. But he sure fits the part, a right jolly old elf. Twinkling eyes and red nose to boot."
"Let's text him. See what he says."
"Too bad. He's busy that day. Playing Santa in Africa somewhere."
"Excuse me, Mr. and Mrs. Obama. I'd like to offer my services for your party."
"Who are you?"
"I'm Nicholas de Myra."
"How'd you get in here?"
"I have to advise you that your chimneys are not secure. You should alert the Secret Service about that."
"How'd you find out that we're looking for a Santa?"
"I hacked you in the Cloud. Gotta keep up with the times, you know. Parents don't want their kids sitting on Santa's lap anymore — can't be too careful. And kids don't know how to write letters anymore either. Facebook and Twitter are helpful, but it's that secret texting between parents that tells me what their kids really want — and what they'll really get."
"You do look authentic, right down to the ashes and soot. But I think we need a second opinion. Sasha, come here! Who is this man?"
"He's Santa Claus!"
"Now be sensible, girl. If you want to be a lawyer like your daddy and me, you've got to prove that this man really is Santa Claus."
"That depends on what your definition of ‘is' is."
"You'll be a good lawyer. Maybe even a President."
* * * * * * * * * * * *
"I can't believe it, Michelle. At the party, that guy worked the room even better than Bill could have. He actually had Boehner and Reid talking with each other instead of at each other. Even the worst ideologues left shaking hands, just like Macy and Gimble. And he got results, too. Before the Christmas recess, Congress passed a progressive tax, cut the defense budget, gave immigrants a path to citizenship, authorized high- speed trains. Of course a Santa would think of trains. I'm glad he likes drones, too, the naif. He thinks they're just oversized model airplanes."
"But I knew it wouldn't last. The Senate Homeland Security Committee just subpoenaed him."
* * * * * * * * * *
"Please state your name."
"Senator McCain, it's a pleasure to meet you. My full name is Nicholas de Myra, but most Americans call me Santa Claus. That's what comes out when you say ‘Saint Nicholas' really fast."
"It's nice to meet you too at last. Where were you born?"
"In the region of Lycia, which is now part of Turkey."
"Do you still live there?"
"Not for many years. The place got a little too hot for me, so I moved farther north."
"Are you a Muslim?"
"I used to be a Christian, but I've transcended that. I bring gifts to all children. I bring good will to all believers, including atheists."
"You're a citizen of . . ."
"State your age."
"I'm not sure. Close to 1,700, I think."
"Don't make light of these proceedings. Can you produce a birth certificate?"
"Mr. McCain, have you become a birther too? To find out my age, you'd have to carbon-date me. Just be sure to clean off the ashes and soot."
"Mr. de Myra, you're undermining your credibility already, and you know that your credibility is why you are before us today. Don't get me wrong. I admire all the good you've done around here lately. The Congressional approval rating has jumped into double digits. Consumer confidence — and I know that seems to be your specialty — is bouncing back."
"So I see. In fact, I've written a little song about it:
I'm dreaming of a Black Friday,
Just like the ones I used to know.
Where the midnight spending is never-ending,
With Wal-Mart raking in the dough.
I'm dreaming of a Black Friday,
With Nooks and Kindles in my sack.
May your bank card never be hacked,
And may all your Fridays be as black.
"That's beautiful. Almost makes me believe."
"Oh, don't believe because of that; that's just economics. Believe the intangibles. Years ago at a similar hearing, my lawyer brought in sacks and sacks of mail addressed to Santa Claus, and the judge took that as proof enough of my identity. Those were the days, when the Postal Service was solvent. Have you checked your iPhone lately?"
"OMG, Facebook is full, and there's tons of tweets! Kids all over the world are threatening to occupy the Senate if we don't clear you. What do you say, colleagues?"
"Thank you for your vote of confidence, esteemed Senators. I'll head back north now; the reindeer are restless. And please don't forget the intangibles."