By Tommy Acosta —
Sedona, AZ — I remember as a kid how we all tried to behave better as Christmas approached
One special Christmas song we paid extra attention to was “Santa Claus is Coming to Town.”
For us habitually naughty kids, it was a dark specter that we lived under because of the incredible magic powers we were told Santa had.
To be a tad bit cynical here, one can almost compare Santa’s omniscience to God, or even our present-day government’s ability to observe everything that goes on in the world.
Right off, the song kicks off with the ominous warning, “You better watch out.”
Uh oh! What danger lurks if we don’t watch out? What will it do to us? What pain might that thing we have to watch out for bring? Do we need to live constantly looking over our shoulder?
Then the next line: “You better not cry.”
Does that mean we had better not cry out against impending doom or corporal punishment? That we should bear our punishment in silence? That we could not seek the relief of tears if we are sad?
Then there is, “You better not pout,” meaning not to complain about anything because if we do, Santa won’t bring us any toys, or worse.
“He’s making a list and checking it twice.”
What the heck? How do we know if our name is on that list? What stress!
“He’s going to find out who’s naughty or nice.”
And once he does find out, then what? Does the list detail how many times we were naughty or nice? Is there a scale he uses to determine whether we get a toy or a lump of coal?
“He sees you when you are sleeping.”
So now there’s Santa in our bedroom watching over us while we sleep. Does he do anything to us while we sleep?
“He knows when you’re awake.” OMG. There is no place to hide. Is he the precursor to Big Brother, the inspiration for “1984?”
“So be good, for goodness’ sake.”
It’s not about being good for the sake of goodness. It’s being good or you get no toys.
Needless to say, for us naughty kids, it was important to figure out a way to slip under Santa’s radar in order to go about the business of being naughty without being caught. Especially as we got closer to Christmas.
I remember staying up at night, knowing in my heart I was on the naughty list. Also checked the closet in my bedroom regularly to make sure he was not hiding in there.
Even in class when misbehaving, I would look around to make sure he wasn’t watching.
But I did note through the years when I believed in him that I always got the toys I wanted, regardless of my naughtiness.
One thing that song taught me was how to be stealthy and keep things from my parents. Basically, I took my chances, and most of the time, I never got caught.
I had the epiphany that perhaps Santa could look anywhere at once but not everywhere at the same time, like Big Brother.
Maybe though, with AI and the high-tech surveillance equipment we have today, they can now.
So, naughty kids out there, here’s a word to the wise.
Yes, Santa is coming to town. Naughty or nice, Santa still loves you.