Dear boys and girls,
I know this is very short notice, but I wish to tender my resignation.
This is not a decision I have taken lightly.But I feel you have given me no alternative. This action might have been averted if my pleas last year, the year before and the past umpteen years had not gone completely unanswered. But I am sick of the silence, you hear! I have had enough of being taken for granted.
Let me recap on my grievances, just so we can all be quite clear about why I am quitting:
WHEN I started out at this job, the world's population was something less than a billion. Now there are more than six billion, and my hours are considerably longer. I am constantly being told to work smarter, not harder. Yeah, right. As if? The mistake I made was trusting my employers.
IT is all very quaint - very Christmassy - being towed around the world on a sleigh drawn by reindeer. But we are have embarked on the third millennium, for goodness sake. Surely the technology exists to replace the reindeer with a rocket or a Very Fast Train. The reindeer are slow. Dead slow. I dread the Christmas Eve one of them actually keels over from exhaustion. Have you ever called roadside service and asked if they fixed dead reindeer? On Christmas Eve?
I HAVE NOT had a pay rise since 1812 and my uniform has not been updated for longer. Even the army of part-time workers at McDonald's gets paid more than me, and look a whole lot smarter in their sensible outfits. I feel like an underpaid, unkempt dork.
NOBODY ever buys me anything for Christmas. Not once in several hundred years of faithful work. I don't want much. An electric shaver would have been nice. Or a meat mincer. Yeah, Mrs Claus and I could have done with that.
MANY households make a big fuss about leaving out a snack for Santa. In theory, this is very nice. When little boys and girls go to bed, they usually tell their parents to make sure that they leave out a glass of beer and some cake for Santa, and a carrot for the reindeer. Ha, and who gets to have the beer and the cake? Not me! It's usually your daddies. The only thing left by the time I get there is a carrot for the reindeers. They're welcome to it. The last thing I want is orange poop.
SPEAKING of calls of nature, where on earth am I supposed to go? That's another thing about the old-fashioned sleigh. There are no toilets on board and Santa's prostate gland is not what it used to be.
I REALLY hate to dob them in but I suspect that Rudolph, Dancer, Prancer, Skippy, Flipper, Kimba, Gentle Ben and Rin Tin Tin are losing it anyway. They don't know who I am half the time and it's just as well they trust me with their lives. I have told them I will take care of them, no matter what.
WHEN I started in this job, long before I had whiskers of my own and had to don a false beard, it made a lot of sense to have my headquarters at the North Pole. No more though - there's a lot of boys and girls down in the southern hemisphere now.
WHAT didn't you understand about my request to be relocated to a seaside apartment at Bondi Beach? You would have saved me a lot of emotional turmoil.
I AM sick and tired of being ripped off. Do you know how many hundreds of thousands of Santa Claus imposters there are around the world, pretending to be me, and usually getting paid for it, at shopping centres and in parades? They are not real (if you want proof, tug their beards or ask them to name all the reindeers). And do I, the Real McCoy, get a cent of commission? No. Nor do I profit from countless Christmas cards bearing my image or stupid comic pieces written at my expense.
CHIMNEYS are not what they used to be. Nearly every house used to have a big, stone chimney for me to come down. No more. As people have got smarter and installed heat pumps, and electric and gas heating, my job has become a lot harder. It's all very well for your parents to assure you, 'don't worry, kids, Santa will probably slip in through the heating ducts.' I'm the silly bugger who has to work out how to do it. The problem is 10 times more difficult if you have to direct a senile orange-pooping reindeer to a small aperture on the roof.
Despite all this, boys and girls, I shall miss you.And I am really deeply sorry that when you wake up on Christmas morning, your stockings will be empty.
©December 22, 2000, 2001 John Martin. All Rights Reserved
If you liked this short column perhaps you'll like my new comic fiction novel, which has nearly 250 pages of laughs. Check out the first chapter here free