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Dear Santa 

I’m obviously going to tell you that I’ve been good this year, even though the concept that you’re either naughty or nice is obviously a gross oversimplification of human behavior—not to mention totally subjective. Judging by the mail I get each week, there’s a pretty solid segment of the population that would like nothing better than to see a big fat pile of coal in ol’ Shred’s stocking this year. But there’s also a group (a markedly more intelligent and compassionate group, in my humble and unbiased opinion) that would insist I deserve nothing less than a Pulitzer and a cherry red Ferrari for Christmas.

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Obviously, I’m hoping Santa takes a hint from the latter, but I’m a little reluctant to put my faith in a guy who passively tolerated brutal reindeer bullying, not to mention I hear that when the economy tanked, Santa started sourcing gifts from Asian sweatshops. Not that I’m critical. Far from it. Like Dick Cheney, I believe that the ends justify the means. Whether it’s torturing a bunch of possibly bad guys to possibly defend a country that represents freedom and justice or rewarding people for good behavior by buying them toys produced under near-torture conditions, I’m always on the side of the people wielding the money—and torture implements.

As my imaginary life coach always used to say: “’Tis better to find an iPhone 6 under your tree than to moralize about intangible so-called virtues like fairness, equality, and empathy. Besides, an iPhone 6 gets better Wi-Fi reception.”

So I’m in your corner, Santa. And Dick Cheney’s as well, apparently. Although if we’re going to hang out or meet for milk and cookies, I’d really prefer if Cheney conference-called in. I might admire the guy’s willingness to tell the country to stop whining about the fact that we tortured a bunch of people, but Magic Mickey’s Discount Insurance probably isn’t going to be much assistance if Cheney gets a little overexcited and someone winds up with a bullet wound.

I’m sending a notarized copy of my Christmas wish list in triplicate to ensure I get everything that I asked for and totally deserve. I even considered translating the list into a couple of different languages online in the hopes that would earn me brownie points and possibly a few extra presents. But that would have taken at least 10 minutes and, in case you hadn’t heard, Netflix is now streaming Gilmore Girls, so my time is pretty much spoken for, at least until I figure out whether Luke and Lorelai ever finally manage to get together. They totally belong together. In fact, the first thing I’m asking for is for you to rig it so that Luke and Lorelai somehow wind up together. Maybe give them a kid, or two, and a cute golden retriever, unless that’s too derivative, in which case you can give them whatever breed you want except for a labradoodle; one bit me once and I’ve just had trouble trusting the breed ever since. Also, I didn’t translate my list because we live in America and we speak English here, so if Santa isn’t willing to hire workers who speak English, maybe I don’t want to do business with him anymore, however fat and jolly he is. My second wish is that if Santa doesn’t hire English speakers, he should be deported.

I know my next wish will be difficult to fit into a stocking, but I’d like the Ironman suit, preferably in blue, which I’m told brings out the wrinkles beneath my eyes. My New Year’s goal for 2015 is to be prepared for possible nuclear fallout from Diablo: I keep getting the sinking feeling that PG&E is a little too cozy with its regulators, so they probably can’t be counted on to protect us. If the suit’s out of stock this close to Christmas, I guess I’d like a year’s supply of potassium iodide tablets and some bubble wrap and maybe I’ll fashion my own suit.

This next one’s going to be tough, and I know a lot of people are probably putting it on their list, but just remember that I have the power of the press behind me and maybe you can bump me to the top of the list just this once: I could really use some affordable housing. It’s not that the cardboard box I found in the dumpster for Christmas last year isn’t cozy (and well within my budget!). It’s just that it started to leak during our much-needed bouts of rain, and I’m starting to crave indoor plumbing. And I’m not talking about the (probably) half-million-dollar homes out by the airport that the SLO City Council insists are the answer to the city’s notorious lack of affordable housing. I mean actual affordable housing, a home that someone who doesn’t pull down a six-digit salary could buy without having to sell as much of their blood and vital organs as the market will accept.

I would ask for world peace, but I don’t want to sound like some naïve beauty pageant contestant. And the truth is, so much of our national identity is bound up in war and “defending our homeland” that I sorta feel like I’d be letting the warhawks down if the world suddenly descended into a state of peace and goodwill. How can we justify spending more than 20 percent of the national budget on defense while blaming our country’s budget problems on the nation’s poor if we live in a world without war? And while it might be true that the Christmas fable everyone likes to tell at this time of year does feature the birth of a man who preached compassion for the poor and hungry, I really think I’d rather sit here and talk about how lazy and worthless they all are. So this holiday season, may you be filled with the spirit of self-righteous superiority, and may all the corners of the world be filled with violence and hate, justifying our decisions to incarcerate, torture, and bomb them.

Merry Christmas.


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