Friday, December 19, 2014

A Santa Story! Kind of.

(WARNING! This story is not appropriate for little kids. You'll see why.)

This is a true story that happened to me a long time ago, when I was but a wee ankle-biter. A third grade student to be exact.
I was in Mrs. Reed's social studies class at Lybrook Elementary School, learning about Christopher Columbus. Actually, we were learning how people considered Columbus to be either brave or foolish, because people back then thought the world was flat and that if you sailed to the horizon, there was a very high likelihood that you'd go right over the edge and fall off of Earth. We as a class were having difficulty processing how something so silly could be a widely-held belief when Mrs. Reed interjected. "It's really not that hard to understand. Large groups of people are frequently led to believe things that seem impossible. For instance, how old were you when you found out there was no Santa Claus?"
"Um, well, what time is it right now?"
I have no idea what followed because it was all drowned out by the sounds of minds exploding. Suddenly, 30 sets of wide-with-horror eyes were scanning the room for each other. It was like Mrs. Reed had just summarily executed Santa right in front of us. Worse, really. It was more like she had rendered null and void any possibility that he had ever existed in the first place. A few kids had looks on their faces that read, "It all adds up now..." but otherwise, we were devastated. Of course, nobody would admit that afterward when we interacted with one another. But we knew. We all knew. A major piece of what had defined our very existence had just been erased.
"Duh. I could have told you Santa Claus wasn't real. What? No, I haven't been crying!"
I recovered, obviously, since I basically had no choice, although I have remained quite bitter about the situation. After all, Mrs. Reed didn't teach us anything important... or, you know, true... about Christopher Columbus, choosing instead to take that opportunity to assassinate a beloved figure of folklore and completely decimate a belief system that my classmates and I had built our young lives upon. It would be a long time before I found out (on my own) that Christopher Columbus "discovered" America in the 15th century about the same way that I "discovered" Burger King last Thursday.
"Hey everybody, look what I found! Yeah, it's been around for years and years and there were already a whole bunch of people there doing stuff when I got there and many more travelling around outside who already knew about it but yeah, I 'discovered' this."
Yeah, I'm not sure that whole situation couldn't have been handled better.

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