Scrooge woke up in a cold sweat.
“Ghosts,” he muttered, crawling out of bed and looking around. “Damn those ghosts.”
He threw open the window and called out to a boy walking down the street.
He asked the boy what day it was, and the boy responded “Christmas Day!”
Scrooge then asked him if he knew of the poulterers with the prized turkey in the window.
“There’s a Hindu mystic who lives next door to that shop.” said Scrooge. “Fetch him at once!”
Scrooge pondered how much an exorcism would cost… oh, he’d just take it out of Cratchitt’s pay.
The senior troubleshooters at webhosting support had Christmas week off.
Customers would schedule downtime for kernel and software updates.
Which invariably went wrong.
“I’m losing thousands of dollars every minute!” they’d scream.
Thousands they should have spent on a system administrator.
We were supposed to escalate only critical issues, but nobody answered.
So it went up the chain… supervisors, managers, senior managers, a VP.
The only person who’d get suspended or fired was the unlucky fucker who got the call.
The next year, it would happen again.
Thank goodness the bosses rewarded themselves with bonuses for their keen planning skills.
Do you remember the days when Santa used to hitch up reindeer to his sleigh and fly around the world delivering gifts on Christmas?
Do you remember when Santa retired and handed over the business to Amazon and FedEx?
Do you remember when the skies were filled with drones, delivering packages while playing Christmas songs?
Did you notice the cameras?
Did you notice when troublesome people who tried to resist started to disappear?
And I don’t care.
We’re almost out of egg nog.
Hit the dash button.
And listen for the door.
Walking in a Winter Wonderland is meant to be a happy song, and we sing it to lighten the mood as we march through the snow.
The soldiers threaten to shoot anyone who sings.
For miles and miles, the only sound is the crunching of the snow beneath our bare feet, the moaning… the occasional gunshot and thud, the quickened pace.
I mouth the words as I walk. For hours, the song in my head.
And then, I hear it: sleigh bells ringing.
A soldier pulls me out of the line, and he aims his rifle at me.
Santa has cancer.
He flew down to the Cleveland Clinic for treatment.
Left the elves in charge of things.
They know what to do. They’ve been through this before.
The old man gets chemo and radiation, loses all his hair and eyebrows and beard, forty or fifty pounds.
Glue on the fake beard and put on the wig.
Cover the burns with makeup, make sure the catheter bag is taped to his leg securely.
Everything sorted and labeled, RFID tags and GPS coordinates.
The sleigh practically flies itself.
Good to go, say the elves, and it’s off into the night.
When I was little, I was told that Santa Claus didn’t exist.
Neither did the Easter Bunny or The Great Pumpkin. All lies.
Everything was a lie. Everything was just a corporate scheme to control me.
So I asked about Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day.
If all those other holidays are marketing fabrications, aren’t those too?
“We exist,” my parents said, “Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, and The Great Pumpkin can’t send you to your room without dinner.”
And I was sent to my room without dinner.
I wrote a letter to Santa, asking for new parents.
It’s Christmastime, and that can only mean one thing:
Red and green M&Ms.
The other colors, like blue, brown and black, they get left out.
It’s just red and green for the holidays.
I know that Jews like to put out white and blue ones, but that’s your business, not mine.
I’m all about the red and green.
I’m also too cheap to buy the special bags with just red and green.
I buy big bags for Halloween, pick out the orange and black, and then for Christmas pick out the red and green.
Fuck the yellow and blue ones.
Long ago, I worked at a television station as the IT manager.
We upgraded the weather system from a clunky hard-to-maintain box to a set of easily-configurable systems that ran Unix.
I knew enough to navigate the filesystems and do minor updates.
So, when I found the sprites directory, I realized I could play a few pranks.
With a few copy commands, I replaced the Santa sprite with a flaming meteor.
So on Christmas Eve, instead of Santa flying over the map, there would be a flaming meteor.
But the savvy weatherguy changed it back before they went on air.
Every year, the town puts everybody’s name into a hat and they hold a drawing.
The first person to be drawn from the hat plays Santa in the Christmas Parade.
The next person to be drawn plays Mrs. Claus.
Then, the next eight people will play his reindeer.
We’re a fairly progressive town, so it didn’t matter who played the Clauses.
But people bitched about playing reindeer because they had to pull the sleigh.
Especially with a fat Santa and Mrs. Claus.
Eventually, we added wheels and an engine.
When a drunk Santa ran over the reindeer, we cancelled the parade.
According to the maps, the first place to celebrate Christmas is Samoa.
The last place is Howland Island, which is uninhabited, so there’s nobody to celebrate Christmas there.
Or notice that’s where Santa dumps any leftovers from his sack.
Modern companies like Amazon spend billions of dollars on research to develop advanced infrastructure.
But Santa’s a traditionalist. So, there’s a lot of error in production, logistics, and contact management.
Some kids who send wish lists don’t make it to Christmas.
Cancer. Genetic diseases. Accidents.
Oh well. We’ll wait until his sled takes off before we grab the loot.