The annals of history are filled with stories of figures who rise to greatness after falling from grace or suffering a devastating defeat. Sports figures, political figures, you name it. Some claim the title of “Comeback Kid”, but none of them have done it so many times as Santa.
When you’re a year old, you head out on what appears to be a routine trip to the store. You’re minding your own business when suddenly your parents drop you on the lap of an imposing figure dressed in red. His face is covered with hair. He is surrounded by a troupe of loyal subordinates, most of them dressed in green and jumping at his every command. You don’t understand many words, but you’re pretty sure this guy is speaking a different language. “Ho, Ho, Ho,” he says in his alien tongue as he holds you in place, unable to move.
Your fight-or-flight reflexes are in full flight mode. You look to your parents for help, but they just stand there…smiling.
You’re on your own.
Then one of the green drone workers gets your attention and your eyes are dazzled with a brilliant flash of light. You are blinded momentarily, the spots floating over your eyes, making it difficult to focus. What kind of maniacal torture are they putting you through?
Here is a photo of that moment:
(Me and my brother)
But suddenly and inexplicably they release you. You run (as best as you can…you’re only a year old) to your parents’ embrace and you walk away, never to look back.
But by the next Christmas or two Santa has emerged as one of the most beloved figures in your life. You write him letters. You leave him cookies. You stay awake at night waiting – hoping – that he will visit your house. Your glimpses of him are fleeting nowadays, and often – since you tried, but failed to stay awake – your only contact with him is through the presents he left you while you were sleeping.
If you’re lucky, your parents will take you to the mall and let you see him again. You relish the few, fleeting moments you have with him, sitting on his knee and having a conversation. He’s like your grandpa you only see once a year.
And Santa does this over and over. Every year the cycle begins again, with new youngsters sitting terrified on his knee, thinking only of escape.
But he doesn’t sweat it. He knows that next year, or the year after, the children will be back, and then it will be different.
He’s the ultimate comeback kid.