My name is Roger, and I’m a janitor at Two Rivers University. On December 1st, I came to work dressed like Santa Claus. I wore a white beard, a red hat with a white band, a white fur-trimmed red jacket, red pants, and cowboy boots.
I mopped the floors, cleaned the bathrooms, and said, “Merry Christmas!” and “Ho! Ho! Ho!” to students.
They smiled and said, “Hi Santa!”, “Happy holidays!” and “The toilet is plugged in the men’s room.”
I was so happy that students were paying attention to me (because the rest of the year they ignored me). Students loved me in my Santa costume, so I decided to keep wearing it.
On Dec 9th, the last day of classes, I had a brilliant idea to spread Christmas cheer to students before they wrote their exams. We often have white-tailed deer on the campus grounds that eat grass and woody browse. They are very tame; you can walk close to them, and they don’t run away.
I saw an opportunity to initiate a new Christmas tradition on campus. I named it Santa Rides.
He didn’t fight with me or try to break free. I stared into his eyes, and he stared into mine. I was the Santa he had been waiting for!
After I patted him on the back, I went to my car, opened the trunk, and took out a harness, three ropes, and my crazy carpet. (I can’t afford a sleigh.)
I returned to the buck, put the harness on him, and then tied my crazy carpet to the harness. I tied the other two ropes to his antlers to use as reins.
There was a foot of snow on the ground, and the buck pulled me around campus. As he trotted along, I could feel the wind on my face. It was like riding a motorcycle, but a lot slower.
Dozens of students saw me, but instead of cheering for me, they shouted mean and nasty things at me.
They said things like, “That isn’t funny!”, “Untie the deer, or I’m calling security!”, and “I hope you get trampled!”
The students no longer loved me; they hated me!
I couldn’t understand why they were so upset. Santa has twelve reindeer that pulled his sleigh (thirteen if you count Rudolph). I live much further south than the real Santa, so it’s impossible for me to find a reindeer to pull my crazy carpet. I had no choice but to use a white-tailed deer.
It only makes sense that in different parts of the world, if you want to be Santa, you will have to use a different species of deer to take you where you want to go.
When my lunch break was over, my boss wanted to meet with me. I waited in his office and admired the deer head mounted on the wall. There were rumours on campus that Dave was a great and mighty hunter.
When he came in, he had a stern expression on his face.
Sitting behind his desk, he said: “Do you know why you are here?”
“Yes, sir. I think so.”
“If you pull a stunt like that again, you will no longer be a janitor. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, sir,” I said sadly. “I won’t dress up like Santa anymore.”
“No! Dressing up like Santa is fine.”
Then I knew why I was in Dave’s office. I said: “I guess you heard what happened outside.”
“Yes. It’s all over campus. What were you thinking?”
“I was thinking like Santa. I did what he would do.”
Dave, however, had a different view of Santa than I did.
He said: “A deer can’t pull you around on a crazy carpet. It’s cruelty to animals.”
I didn’t agree with Dave’s reasoning.
I asked him: “Is it cruelty when Santa has twelve reindeer pull his sleigh?”
But he wouldn’t answer the question. He deflected and said: “Santa isn’t real, Roger.”
I laughed at that and said: “Okay, sir. You believe what you want to believe.”
Dave sighed and shook his head at me. “Do you want this job or not?”
“Yes, sir!” I said like a soldier. “I won’t lasso a deer again or climb down a chimney on Christmas Eve!”
Dave, his sternness gone, and replaced by a slight smile, said: “Good. You can go now.”
I stood up and went back to work.
For the next two weeks, I wore my Santa outfit to campus, but students didn’t greet me. They just glared at me, or looked away, like they used to.
I worked until Christmas Eve, and although I looked like Santa, I didn’t feel like him anymore.
After work, if someone in my apartment building said, “Merry Christmas”, I felt like Mr. Scrooge.
I could only say two words in response: “Bah! Humbug!”
On Christmas Day, something unexpected happened. I took my crazy carpet to Peterson Creek Park, and I saw my buck. He had that same look in his eyes. I knew what he wanted, and I wanted it too.
I went to my car, got my lasso, harness, and ropes, and my buck took me for a ride!
As we rode past senior citizens walking in the park, they stared at us in awe and wonder. And unlike the students on campus, they were speechless.
The Christmas spirit that was dead in me came back to life.
I shouted: “Merry Christmas!” and “Ho! Ho! Ho!”