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Santa’s Performance Review

1coverwebEditor’s Note: The following article was birthed thanks, in part, to the fearless efforts of “private, secret and classified media” from anonymous”whistleblowers”—otherwise known as gtleaks. In fact, our exclusive website, which was secretly launched early last year, has nabbed too many secret documents to list—and most of them hitting front pages of major news organizations. Early releases included major documentation of Wal-Mart hitting Santa Cruz, a Banana Republic outlet store arriving somewhere along Pacific Avenue and just-released data of a three-way thoroughfare along a major Downtown Santa Cruz strip. There’s more. (There’s always more …)

In addition, our organization has received countless documents revolving around the current economic state of our country. In this economic climate,nobody’s job is safe. The following transcript between Santa Claus and his Human Relations representative was leaked to us by company insiders seeking to maintain the integrity and magic of the holiday season amid draconian cost-cutting measures:

Human Resources: Thanks for coming in, Mr. Kringle. Once again, stellar job. A fine year. You must be exhausted.

Santa Claus: Not at all! And call me Santa!

HR: Please have a seat. Sorry, are you fitting there? It’s an ergonomic chair, maybe we have another …

Santa: I think I’ve got it …

cover santadarkHR: The arms sort of slide out when you lift that lever …  not that one!

Santa (suddenly dropping down six inches): Whoa Dancer!

HR: Oh my God! Here, let me help you.

Santa: Ho ho ho, I’m fine, young man, let’s just get on with this. What can Santa to do for you?

HR: Well Mr. Kringle—Santa—I hope you know all of us here have nothing but the highest regard for your work all these years.

Santa: Why thank you. I remember your first letter

to me.

HR: Those were, of course, good years, innocent years, but as grownups we have to face the fact that circumstances are forcing us to make some changes this year.

Santa: You wanted a brother! Classic stuff!

What do you mean, changes? I’d say things have gone quite well for many generations now.

HR: And from the Pole, I’m sure it looks that way. But things have changed quite a bit. Globalization, a recession … we’re just going to have to tighten our belts.

Santa: I’ve tried losing weight, but that Mrs. Claus sure can cook! Ho ho ho!

HR: I’m sure, but this really isn’t a laughing matter. I’m just going to lay it out for you. We’re going to change your employment status from full-time to seasonal hire. We’re just getting too much pressure from Internet sales. Apparently delivering items ahead of time and through the door rather than the chimney is comparatively cost effective. We’ve still got the stockings trade locked down, because nobody else will do overnight delivery on a major holiday, but it’s a fraction of our former volume.  

Santa: I … But what about the elves?

HR: The elves are still needed to make the toys, and, to be honest, they were very forward thinking about their contract. But we’ve been at a loss to figure out what you’ve been doing 11 months of the year to justify being on payroll.

Santa: I must say this is all very naughty. And I’ll thank you to stop that smirking. I hate how that word has been co-opted. You people have no idea how much I have to do keep Christmas jolly. Did you know the world population doubled in the past 50 years? That’s a manifest of almost 7 billion. And you’re talking about cutbacks?

HR: We did get you that computer …

Santa: Pah! Computer. That’s about as useful as a merkin on a wrapping elf, which is a little Santa’s workshop reference you’d understand if you ever got out from behind your computer and visited where the real work happens.  

HR: Santa. Half of what you need is on Facebook, people confess everything. Your “Like” numbers are staggering, and we got you that all-access permit from the FBI.

Santa: It’s no substitute for …

HR: For what?

Santa: For just knowing.

HR: I’m glad you brought that up. Management has always been impressed with that little trick of yours, and if you’re willing to share the technique with the company I can guarantee you’ll never have to work another day in your life. The licensing potential is unbelievable, why the Victoria’s Secret people alone would pay …

Santa: But I like working! This is what I do!

HR: And you’ll always be the face of the company. But to intuit the character of the world population, that’s huge. You can tell me. Does it have anything to do with Jesus?

Santa: Who?

HR: Very funny. Seriously. There has to be a connection.

Santa: There is. You got me. I admit it. I am Jesus.

HR: Oh my God.

Santa: I said I’d return. I can’t believe I tricked you all with this costume. Give a tug on my false beard, you’ll see. Ouch! Let go you fool! Of course I’m not Jesus. If I were Jesus I would have turned you into wine about 10 minutes ago.

HR: OK, OK, you got me. Santa, help us help you. Have you considered retirement?

Santa: Retirement? But I’m immortal!

HR: You are?

cover SantaimageSanta: So far …

HR: Well then, eternal retirement, think of it! Leave the Pole for a life with fresh produce, friends your own height, hell, an ozone layer! No more four-inch condo chimney pipes, no-fly zones, or reindeer farts! You’ve earned a break. You know what’s in this drawer? A ticket to Bermuda, a bottle of schnapps, and a red Speedo can all be yours if you play ball. And of course the platinum card. Get the Mrs. a little lipo.

Santa: I can’t believe this. Ashton, are you here? Get me out of this damn chair.

HR: Santa, listen …

Santa: Mr. Kringle. My boy, the job’s not just about working out who’s nice, there is an enormous amount of additional research involved. Those lists I get in the mail don’t always make much sense. For instance, last year I got a couple million letters from kids in China describing how bad they’ve been all year, talking back to parents and refusing to work double shifts, and therefore deserve coal. I got suspicious; turns out they were pressured by the government to acquire coal for the power plants.

HR: You’re kidding.

Santa: Every town has its quirks to sort through. For instance, you’re from …

HR: Santa Cruz.

Santa: Indeed. Santa Cruz, Saint Cross. Santa means Saint, at least to some people. This year’s batch of letters from there included two dozen requests for protest signs. Nothing specific, just protest signs. I could take the lazy seasonal employee route and get them whatever worked in the past: slogans for marching against a Borders store, or apartheid, or killing Mumia. But I went the extra mile and did the research. These days it’s all about student fees, lack of jobs, and occupying the oppressive local government due to its nefarious ties to Wall Street. Or something like that. That one’s a little unfocused.

HR: So what did you get them?

Santa: A permanent solution. White board on a stick. And they were very happy. I’ll tell you something else about Santa Cruz, I have to budget a little more time. It’s the only place I’ve ever seen a “please remove your boots” sign at the bottom of the chimney. Next to the tree, which was really more of a bush I recognized from those “end the ban on industrial hemp” signs they used to want, there were vegan cookies with soy milk. Soy milk is OK, but they should put a label on it or something. You know how when your mouth is expecting one taste but then…

HR: Santa, I have a 2:30 coming up.

Santa: Here’s the other thing. They’re always laying specifics on things. They don’t just want a toilet plunger, they want a green toilet plunger. Or a sustainable food processor. And everything needs to be local, which rules out the Pole, so I have to check out other manufacturers, and find that this whole green-washing thing has gotten totally out of hand. Companies figure out that people want things to be natural or sustainable, so they just type the words on the label. If there’s a regulation blocking them from using a term, they lobby to water down the legal definition of, let’s say, “organic” until it means “anything that costs forty percent more than the other thing.” Then they slap a leaf logo on the label and switch over to that damn Papyrus font and assume nobody’s going to know the difference.

HR: Please, calm down.

Santa: It makes me steaming mad. I hate to do it, but sometimes I have to send down the punishment elves to straighten them out.

HR: Punishment elves? What are you talking about?

Santa: Sorry, I assumed you had a higher security clearance. Forget I said anything. Let’s just say it’s one of those off-season things we have to deal with. It was decided long ago that the rank and file be left out of the loop for deniability purposes.

HR: This is getting dark.

Santa: There’s much that gets done behind the scenes, but all you know it’s what’s stuffed in your stocking. Your oversize stocking, by the way. I’d like to see any of you actually wear one of those things. It just creates gift inflation, but do you see me complain? Listen, if money is the problem, I’m sure the government will pitch in. Consider what I do for the economy!

HR: Ha! Bailout season is over, haven’t you heard? You don’t want to be perceived as part of the 1 percent, believe me.

Santa: Typical. Take take take. Nobody asks what Santa wants for Christmas, which is just a chance to give

give give.

HR: I’m sorry we couldn’t come up with a mutual agreement. (Pushing his intercom button) Security? Could you please send somebody up here to help Mr. Kringle out of his chair and down to the lobby? Make that two people. Hold on, he appears to be rolling himself out.  

Santa: You haven’t seen the last of me. You think holiday depression rates are bad now? You’ll be begging me to take the reigns again. And when you do I’ll have a few downsizing ideas of my own. And to all, a goodbye.

HR: Santa?

Santa: Yes?

HR: We’ll need the suit.

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