Santa For A Day

Written by Michael LaRocca

The year was 1981. I was eighteen years old. Much too young to be Santa Claus, right? Especially with my short skinny self. Right? Wrong!

It’s all my fault. I can blame nobody else. I wasrepparttar one who opened my big mouth, and I paidrepparttar 118307 price.

I was working at a restaurant called The Village Inn, down in Tampa Florida. There are no white Christmases in Tampa. Nope, it drops to about 60 in December. (16 to those of you measuring in centigrade.) The coldest month ofrepparttar 118308 year. Truly, notrepparttar 118309 best weather for wearing a padded suit, a fake mustache and beard, etc.

Lemme describe our busboys, those fellows who clean uprepparttar 118310 tables after you finish eating. There were four of us.

First we had Stacy, an engineering student atrepparttar 118311 university uprepparttar 118312 road. Very tall, very thin, very black. He was never a candidate forrepparttar 118313 position of Santa Claus and he didn’t want to be one. This isrepparttar 118314 same guy who’d work for six hours, get so exhausted he could barely move, then pop off torepparttar 118315 restroom for a moment and come back running and dancing inrepparttar 118316 aisles. He swore he wasn’t taking speed, but nobody believed him.

Next we had Ricky, a high school student. He was short. Shorter than me, and not many could say that back in those days. If we were auditioning for elves, he’d have wonrepparttar 118317 job. But Santa? No way. His ambition was to formrepparttar 118318 world’s first all-white funk band. He introduced me torepparttar 118319 music of a then-obscure fellow named Prince. Last I heard, Ricky was breeding snakes.

Then we had Michael LaRocca. That would be me. Not a bad fellow, really. Working to pay his way through college. Thick legs (muscle, thank you) and broad shoulders. But it was never any big secret that he didn’t especially like kids. To be blunt about it, he still doesn’t. Apologies to any parents reading this, but Michael was never meant to be one. It’s just that simple.

Finally, we had Mike. Tall, thin, angular, thin, blonde, thin, and sunburnt. Oh, and did I mention thin? I don’t know if/where he was a student, but his face lookedrepparttar 118320 youngest of us all. A real surf dude. He even called people “dude.” In fact, when this unlikely candidate gotrepparttar 118321 job of being Santa Claus, he would say “What do you want for Christmas, dude?” Even torepparttar 118322 girls.

The dining room manager was always a consummate professional. Quite strict onrepparttar 118323 busboys. A drill sergeant of a woman, in fact. Maybe she was a prison warden in another life. Her name was Jo LaRocca. That’s right, my mom.

On Christmas Eve, Mike put onrepparttar 118324 Santa garb and sat at his post. The rest of us were laughing before he even got there. He looked absurd. Sunburnt Santa. The beard was falling off his angular red face, and any fool could compare his padded upper body to his skinny legs and see that this was NOT Santa Claus. He was a joke, and we enjoyed it thoroughly.

Day one of two, Mike was hanging out withrepparttar 118325 kids. They weren’t buying it. It was obvious. I like Mike a lot, don’t get me wrong. We all did. Bussing tables or BSing inrepparttar 118326 breakroom, he was hilarious. Givenrepparttar 118327 stresses ofrepparttar 118328 job, we needed hilarious. But he wasrepparttar 118329 worst Santa ever. Kids were yelling at him, peeing on him, calling him a fake. It was a disaster.

Should folks laugh at their co-workers? Of course not. But could we stop ourselves? Of course not! And as we all laughed at him, mocked him, and just plain acted real stupid, I maderepparttar 118330 biggest mistake of all. I dared to utterrepparttar 118331 words, “I could do better than that.” Mom heard me say them. This was very bad.

Thus, day two of two, yours truly got to play Santa Claus. An eighteen-year-old Santa Claus. An underage alcoholic with a bad attitude. Mom was a strict boss, in case I forgot to mention that. She told it like it was. Be Santa, or be unemployed. Grr! So, on Christmas Day, which I’m fairly sure was a Sunday (our busiest day ofrepparttar 118332 week), I was Santa Claus.

I strapped onrepparttar 118333 various and sundry accouterments required to be Santa Claus and checked myself out inrepparttar 118334 mirror. Not bad, to be honest. But I was in no mood to be honest. Kids? Noooo!!!

It didn’t take me long to work outrepparttar 118335 deal. I’d seen most of these kids every Sunday for about a year, but even if I hadn’t, I knew what was what. The girls were all angelic, andrepparttar 118336 boys were all evil. Truly, mean rotten nasty evil. It was in their eyes. Demonic eyes. You know how some photos show people with red eyes? Inrepparttar 118337 case of these little dudes, it wasn’t bad photography. It’s just how they were.

Withrepparttar 118338 girls, it was easy. “Yes yes, you’ve been a good girl this year. What do you want Santa to bring you?” Then I’d hearrepparttar 118339 list and say encouraging things and send them on their merry way. Quite simple.

The boys were different.

Let me backtrack a bit. I am Scrooge. Sorry if that offends you, but I am. Back in my younger days, I was even worse. For me, Christmas isn’t Christmas unless I can watch How The Grinch Stole Christmas. I have yet to forgive him for wimping out atrepparttar 118340 end, but never mind.

Okay, here comes a little boy sitting on my lap. Or to be more specific, jumping on it. Pouncing, leaping, going for broke. Little fat bastard trying to crush my family jewels. Is there a bull’s-eye on them?! He’srepparttar 118341 Antichrist. I still have nightmares about that little... dude.

“Ho ho ho! Merry Christmas! And what do you want for Christmas, young man?” I boomed in my best impression of a baritone. It wasn’t much, but it dang sure beat Mike’s wimpy little tenor. But it didn’t matter. I could’ve been God’s gift to Christmas and this little… dude would have been unimpressed.

“You’re not Santa! You suck!”

I’ve heard stories about Santa colleges, where one can go learn what to say and how to react to allrepparttar 118342 various and sundry things that naughty little boys (always boys) say. But I’ve never been to one. No, dear sweet Mom just threw me torepparttar 118343 wolves and probably laughed behind her hand. In fact, I saw her hand covering her mouth more than once. I was winging it here. So, I simply ignored his question and made something up.

“I know you’ve heard that I have two lists, right? The list of nice children andrepparttar 118344 list of naughty children.”

“Yeah,” he muttered, thoroughly unconvinced.

“But I also have a third list, one you haven’t heard about. It’srepparttar 118345 borderline list. That’s right, some children are right there onrepparttar 118346 border. Are they naughty or are they nice? I’m not sure where to put them. And to tell yourepparttar 118347 truth, little man, you are on that list.”

Stunned silence. On his part, because he’d never heard that before. On my part, because I wasn’t quite sure what I was going to make up next.

(Note to my fellow authors -- If you’re going to lie, do it big.)

“So you can tell me what you want me to bring you, but that doesn’t mean I’ll bring it. Because I don’t know if you’re naughty or nice, see? You’re borderline. Those arerepparttar 118348 hardest ones for poor ole Santa to figure out.”

(By now his mother was beaming at me. I was happy. But I had to ignore that and try to keep piling it on. That’s a lot to ask of a mere eighteen-year-old BS artist.)

“I’ll tell you what I think,” I added. “If you want to know.”


That was all he said. “Yeah.” But to whip out a cliche, his eyes spoke volumes. If this were a fishing story, I’d say he’d bitten into that bait and found a hook stuck in his mouth. Amazing!

Friends -- With Benefits

Written by Kwame DeRoche

We've all been there. That long, seemingly endless drought during which time you get no play. No action. No sweet lovin'. The dating life is mediocre, and you've got no prospects. But as we've proven time and time again, we're a resourceful bunch. Many take matters into their own hands. Inrepparttar Appalachians, many fall intorepparttar 118306 arms of a sexy sibling. But there's a number of us that decide to try… 'Friends with benefits.'

Yeah, that old song. You start workin' your mojo on your friends. And try to stay friends. And, it usually ends in disaster.

FWB finds its origins in some breakup many years ago. The guy, sick of all her crap yet still lusting for her body, voiced a proposal. An agreement, if you will. Sex without relationship complications. Totally need-based, not emotion based like what those other suckers are doing. Just for a little while. It'srepparttar 118307 perfect plan. Kinda like a severance package for his package, until it finds 'new employment.'

The mistake didn't lie inrepparttar 118308 idea. Because people come up with stupid ideas every day. And trying to have sex with your ex isn't exactly original. The mistake, my friends, is that she agreed to it. So opened a new loophole for commitment-phobes everywhere. Sex with no strings. The multiple-night-stand.

The 'friends with benefits.'

In later years, FWB made way for other dating loophole innovations like Revenge Sex andrepparttar 118309 Booty Call. But I digress.

So there you are, still complaining about not being able to find someone special, but now with a big grin on your face. Why? You gettin' sum.

In order forrepparttar 118310 FWB plan to work, there must be rules in place. You must both be single. You're probably not getting any from anyone else, otherwise you wouldn’t be looking for FWB. You can't get emotionally attached, jealous, needy, or any of that crap. You probably try to keep it a secret, too. And, most of all, you can’t let it interfere with your (our your friend's) dating life. You know what? With all those rules, it starts to sound an awfully lot like a…uhm…what's it called? A relationship. Or worse, a JOB.

Anyway, in theory, it's like finding a gold mine. Pack uprepparttar 118311 wagon, Ma, you're a free sex 49er. You can't believe that you'rerepparttar 118312 only one who thought of this. No anniversaries to remember, no hearts and flowers, no explaining where you were Friday night, you're in heaven. But likerepparttar 118313 great gold rush, you never know when it's all gonna run out.

Disaster comes into play when one ofrepparttar 118314 two friends inrepparttar 118315 agreement is harboring a crush. Only one. And think about it folks, any friend who would just up and agree to start having casual yet semi-exclusive sex with you has to have an agenda of their own. (The fact that they look at you and lick their lips is a give-away too.) Chances are they not be fully aware of it themselves. This accounts for 90% ofrepparttar 118316 FWB files. So, whenrepparttar 118317 drought is over, andrepparttar 118318 emergency FWB rations can be put away, that pre-existing crush is enough to cause BIG (yet sudden to you) jealousy. The casualty? Your platonic, un-awkward, normal friendship.

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
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