A Letter to Santa

#Holidays

Mon, Dec 6th, 2004 01:00 by Brian Newman ARTICLE

It seems I go through life breaking people's illusions. So let me start off with a simple statement of fact: There is NO Santa.

I work at the post office. As anyone with kids knows, the post office delivers 'letters to Santa'. The little tykes write out what they want, and Mom or Dad posts the letter. A few weeks later, hopefully, the kid gets an answer. Plus the parents get to learn whatever toy has caught the kids' eye. The Post Office collects the postage, and everybody is happy.

There is no Santa. The Post Office gets a few old Sunday school teachers to help answer those letters. They even ask us workers to take on that job, when there is a rush. No pay for it, just that good old Christmas spirit. Humbug I say. But, every year I answer a letter or two. It's no big thing. We get a rough draft of what to say, and some rather nice Christmas stationary to write on. Plus we don't pay the postage. I take one or two simple because I can get some extra stationary, and even send an extra letter or two free. So it works out.

As it happens I work in the department where those letters come into. Every year, early in November, a special section is set up which deals with this mail. The incoming numbers are totalled, and help is arranged for the outgoing mail. Plain and simple. No Santa, no North Pole.

Well, I'm working away one year, and in comes a letter to Santa. The problem is, the letter comes in July. Nothing is set up for this; there is no place for me to deliver this letter. So it sits on top of my mail frame, until I figure out what to do with it. My supervisor has no idea what to do. He tells me to deal with it. I ask, but there is no stationery and no free postage yet. So the letter sits there.

It bugs me, every day. I look at this letter when I come in to work, and I look at it when I leave. The more I look at it, the more I wonder about the kid that sent it. Is he some greedy little kid who wants to get the drop on getting all the best gifts? Does he want his list at the front of the line? Kids can be rather nasty, you know. They take after their parents.

After a week of looking at this letter, I know I have to do something with it. I'm sure not going to answer it myself, and I'm not going to pay my own money. Then it hits me. Use the Post Office system. When mail cannot be delivered, we have rubber stamps to notify the mailer, and return the letter. I can use one of those, and get rid of this problem.

As I look over those rubber stamps, I realise I can teach the kid a lesson as well. The "MOVED" stamp doesn't do it. How can the North Pole move? "UNDELIVERABLE" makes it sound like this is the Post Offices problem. Flipping through my remaining stamps, with a grin, I use the last one. It leaves a big red mark on the letter, and will hopefully leave a mark on the greedy kid. After all, how would you feel if you wrote a letter to Santa, and it was returned to you, marked, as if in blood:

DECEASED - RETURN TO SENDER

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