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The Tentacle


December 8, 2003

Yes, Frederick, There is a Santa Claus!

Joe Volz

I came to town a year ago all set to be inundated with Santa requests. I figured my full white beard qualified me and I have had lots of experience performing every place from an elementary school to a nursing home.

But I havenít received a single offer. I am crestfallen.

The first stop I made upon arriving here was to visit the Weinberg Center. If anyone needed a Santa, those folks did. A polite young woman said she would put me on the list as a backup in case the resident Kris Kringle caught the flu.

But that was then. This is now. The place has been in a continual uproar. Most of the staff have quit. Others were fired. Santa was lost in the battle. No call.

I thought that the schools would be interested. Nothing.

How about a nursing home or two? No.

How about an apartment house? Nope.

So I have decided that Santa needs a PR man. Someone to extol his virtues. To spruce up his image. After all, he is portrayed as a fat red-faced man dressed in outlandish clothes. Now, I can see why no one would want to invite such a 19th century guy to stop by for a visit óeven in a city that loves history so much.

I need to be upbeat. So I have gone on a diet. I am a healthy looking Santa now. Of course, we know that the red face was probably caused by overindulgence. No longer a problem. The workouts at the YMCA have also slimmed me down.

I donít know about the clothes. I suspect people would not recognize me if I wore mufti. I tried it out on a couple of kids at CVS, told them I was Santa in civvies. They didnít believe me.

I also realized I needed to advertise my talents. I just canít assume people know I am a great Santa.

So here is my resume.

My finest hour was playing Father Christmas at my apartment house back in Washington. The place had an abundance of young single women who wanted to sit on Santaís lap and whisper fantasies in his ear. Unfortunately, none had to do with Santa. In any event my ever-watchful wife would have vetoed any such entreaties. The women told me of their unprintable desires for men in a city where females outnumber males by 9 to 1.

I could not oblige. My friends are all over the hill.

I went out to a Virginia nursing home and a 93-year-old woman jumped on my lap. Thatís right. Men were the last thing on her mind. She wanted a fire engine red Caddy convertible. Well, on second thought, maybe men were on her mind. Next to driving a Mini Cooper, what would be the best way to pick up a man? Once again, I could not help.

This resume isn't turning out to be a great success story. Maybe, like most PR people, I overstated my qualifications.

The kids at the Brentwood Elementary School in Washington didn't want anything ó except to pull Santaís beard. But they were an interesting bunch of tykes. For example, one wanted to know where my sleigh and reindeer were. He saw no signs of them outside.

I pointed out that there was no snow on the ground. So, I had parked my sleigh up in North Pole, N.Y., and took a train in. That seemed to satisfy them.

But, this year, with just a few weeks to go, I am unemployed. Even as the national employment rate picks up.

I learned with dismay that some towns donít even plan to put up Christmas decorations because of budget shortfalls. Thank goodness, that is not the case in Frederick.

We may quibble over Weinberg funding or the Ten Commandments memorial, or whether or not to allow restaurant tables on sidewalks. But the important issues, like celebrating Christmas, unite us.

Well, if you know anyone who wants to help Santa have a Merry Christmas, give me a call at 301-620-7004 or e mail: jvolz2003@adelphia.net

Yes, Frederick there is a Santa Claus.



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