A brief letter to Santa Claus


Dear Santa Claus:

I may be the oldest kid writing to you this year. At eighty, I don’t have any parents or grandparents to send me presents. 

My aging friends, generous as they are, have themselves to look out for. Themselves and more progeny than the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe.

The dozen or so households on our street exchange gifts each Christmas, but we’re only supposed to spend a couple of dollars.

I’ve long since given up asking elected officials for anything, even if I could afford a lobbyist.

Neither Blondie nor Charles the Cat, our two feline companions, is of any help, and we don’t have a comfort dog. A dog might at least try.

My cupboard is bare of solutions. I’ve had to give up on friends, family, neighbors, and public servants.

Because I believe I’ve been more nice than naughty—though contrary opinion exists—that leaves it up to you, Mr. Claus. I hope that you will consider my short Christmas wish list...Here are my wishes:

I wish that our nation had a dress code. It couldn’t hurt.

I wish that our Mississippi electorate, and our media, could distinguish between public hangings and lynchings. And for that matter, between indictments and convictions.

I wish that entertainers, like plumbers and renovators, would spare me infantile political caterwauling. An actor is not always smarter than an air conditioning technician.

I wish that my car were not more complicated than the international space station. I’m too old to hire an astronaut to run my Lincoln, and I’ll be dead before Elon Musk sends help.

I wish that smart-mouth kids knew what I was taught as a child. There are two things you say to a policeman: “Sir” and “Yes, sir.” That may briefly humiliate you, but it will keep you alive. If you’re treated badly, call a lawyer.

I wish that our high schools taught what previous generations knew as Civics. That might begin producing citizens who understand how government is supposed to work.


I wish you would give Sen. Bernie Sanders a fourth house. If Socialists have enough houses, it might change their thinking.

I wish that you would remind our young Socialists that Karl Marx and Vladimir Lenin were old white men. So is Sen. Sanders.

I wish that our colleges would regain their most valuable contribution to society: a spirit of unfettered inquiry. It seems to have gone missing.

I wish that our nation realized that college is not for everyone. One can attain self-respect and financial security without a degree in gender studies. Have you hired a finish carpenter lately? Or a welder who can work with aluminum?

I wish that television personalities, whatever their viewpoint, were subject to stringent volume control. I am sick and damn tired of being yelled at.

I wish that legislators obeyed every law they pass. Any exemption legislation should contain a provision reducing the pension of anyone who votes for it.

I wish that celebrity environmentalists were forbidden to fly in private jets—except for Al Gore, who keeps his Gulfstream because he’s so much fun to ridicule.

I wish for a mandatory three-day waiting period before you can get a tattoo. Tomorrow’s senior citizens will be less unsightly.

I wish Egg Bowl officials, when the clock reads 00:00, would blow one of those whistles we give them.

I wish the White House would quit pardoning the poor turkey each year—after they’ve scared the poor thing half to death. Just spare us.

That’s about it, Mr. Claus. I thank you for considering my wishes. I think they are unselfish and kind-spirited. I will leave milk and cookies for you, and a swell bumper sticker for your sleigh that says, “Will Rogers never met Jim Acosta.”

William Jeanes is a Northsider.


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