The president scheduled the meeting with Santa Claus a month earlier. He met Santa about a dozen years ago at a mall outside Chicago but had not had a chance to talk to him since then, and he wanted to offer the jolly fellow some advice.
“Hilda,’’ the president repeated with annoyance. “Who is naming these winter storms, anyway? It is ridiculous. Can’t we put a stop to it?’’
“Yes, you are probably right,’’ the president said. “After all, people can still read whatever they desire, watch the TV shows they want and freely use the Internet, text and e-mail.’’ Then, chuckling, “NSA may be spying on what people are doing, but at least we let them do it.’’
After the jet was cleared for take-off, sped down the runway and reached cruising altitude, Steve asked the president about his first meeting with Santa back in 2002.
“Well, it was sort of embarrassing,’’ the president said, and he related how he and his wife took their oldest daughter to the mall so she could see Santa. Though only 4, he said, his daughter wanted to ask Santa for a popular video game that showed Americans killing Arabs.
“I didn’t want her exposed to that kind of stuff, so I took Santa aside during a break and asked him to disregard that item from my daughter’s wish list. Of course, it was all for naught. A year later, my predecessor invaded Iraq and, in real life, we started killing tens of thousands of Arabs.’’
Santa was pacing the corridors at the North Pole’s frigid airport when Air Force One slid down on the runway, which was kept icy because of all the upcoming sleigh traffic. It was Santa’s busiest time of the year and the elves were complaining about how they can barely survive on minimum wage. So, he was somewhat annoyed that the president wanted to visit now.
“Hello Mr. President,’’ Santa said, taking off his white gloves as he greeted the visitor with a handshake. “I’m honored by your presence, but I checked your daughters’ lists and you needn’t worry. No violent video games. In fact, they both asked for DVDs on creative thinking, because they said they were spending all their time in school preparing for standardized tests.’’
“That’s fine,’’ the president said, “but I’m sick of hearing complaints about Common Core. That’s not why I wanted to talk to you, anyway. I have a plan that should help you get all your work on Christmas Eve done more efficiently.’’
Santa smiled between his rosy cheeks and said he would welcome anything to make his job easier.
Santa’s interest was piqued. He told the president that Donner, Blitzen and the other reindeer were getting older, so going high-tech with pilot-less mini-jets could be a solution.
“Well,’’ the president said, “I’m afraid there would always be some collateral errors with gifts.’’
Cary Brunswick, of Oneonta, is a freelance writer and editor. He can be reached at email@example.com. The views expressed in this column do not necessarily reflect those of The Daily Star and its editorial board.