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August 08, 2022

Memo to Santa

By Kellie Gillespie

Memorandum

To: S. Claus

CC: F. Calmcacil, Director of Elves, North America

From: Olwe Felagund, Elf 2nd Class

Date: 1/7/05

Re: Surveillance of Billy Jones, Age 7


Subject: Billy Jones is a seven-year-old male child. He has two siblings: Susan, who is five and Janey, who is three. He lives in a typical suburban neighborhood in the middle quadrant of the United States. He is in the third grade. His father works as a chemical engineer and his mother is a part-time secretary.

Assignment: I was assigned to observe the activities of the subject for a period of two days during the month of December, when he would have been especially aware of the rules regarding Christmas gifts. Specifically, I was asked to assess the subject in a few key areas that have been problems for him in the past. Please see Memo #46,709 for more information regarding last year's assessment, which was not a good year for Billy. Specific problems in the past have included: calling his younger sisters names like "poopyhead;" running away from his mother when it was time for a bath; hitting Johnny Smith on the head during silent reading time at school; and making yucky noises whenever meatloaf was served for dinner.

Surveillance Log:

Wednesday, 12/08, 8:00 am: Subject is observed running about the house dressed only in Spidey Underoos, singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" loudly and off-key. Subject's mother, clearly frustrated, chases after him with a wooden spoon clasped tightly in her hand while yelling that he, the subject, will be very sorry when she catches him, which she does at 8:04. Subject is spanked soundly and told to get dressed this minute or she will tell Santa about this atrocious behavior. Record should clearly reflect subject's remorse regarding his actions when Santa's name is mentioned. He promises to behave himself until Christmas.

Wednesday, 12/08, 9:14 am: Subject is faced with a difficult dilemma at the end of school recess. Should he quietly stand in line awaiting his teacher's instructions, or should he repeatedly poke Sidney Silverstein in the arm with his Search and Rescue Buzz Lightyear Action Figure? The subject makes an unwise choice and is sentenced to fifteen minutes in the time-out chair, during which he chants over and over, low enough so that only Sidney can hear, "Sid is a dingdong, Sid is a dingdong." This earns him another ten minutes in time-out, plus a note home to his mother.

Wednesday, 12/08, 3:46 pm: Subject is confined to his bedroom until dinner. Instead of giving his mother the note from Mrs. Johnson, as he was specifically told to do, he uses it to wrap up his chewed-up piece of Juicy Fruit Gum, which he then hides in his almost-new tennis shoe. His mother finds the shoe while picking up around the house and discovers the wadded-up note has become unwrapped, distributing the used gum all over the inside of the shoe. Subject occupies himself during his confinement by drawing pictures of Power Rangers' Dino Thunder getting eaten by Barney, the big purple dinosaur.

Wednesday, 12/08, 7:32 pm: After watching "The Charlie Brown Christmas Special" on television, subject is told to take a bath. While not specifically complaining about this task, he does take a moment to pull Janey's hair on his way to the bathroom. Janey yells and runs after Billy, which leads to a minor altercation in which Janey ends up being pinned to the ground by the subject while he orders her to say uncle. Subject's father intervenes and pulls the siblings apart. The subject escapes punishment by blaming Janey for the incident. His father is too tired to pursue a full investigation.

Thursday, 12/09, 7:09 am: Subject is observed sitting at the breakfast table with a bowl of Quaker Oats Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal. Despite the fact that he specifically requested this for his breakfast, the subject is not eating the oatmeal but instead has used it to liberally decorate his Santa Claus placemat. In place of rosy cheeks, Santa is now sporting big globs of raisin-speckled oatmeal. Instead of a belly like a bowl full of jelly, Santa's midsection is decorated with oatmeal dollops of various sizes. In addition, oatmeal plays an important role in the battle between Santa and the Creature From the Black Lagoon, who has arisen from the bowl in an attempt to take over the North Pole and make it a place of evil forever. When the subject's mother comes into the room and discovers Billy's breakfast all over the table, she expresses her frustration with his artistic endeavors and makes him clean it up. Billy is reminded, once again, about Santa's rules about being naughty or nice, which he promises, once again, to obey.

Thursday, 12/09, 10:18 am: Music class is disrupted by a minor squabble between the subject and Rosie Howard during "Jingle Bells." Rosie had been assigned to play the cymbals and Billy had been given the wood blocks to tap as the class sings the song together. According to the subject, the wood blocks are "lame" and "boring," so he reaches over and bonks Rosie on the head with one of the blocks. This causes her to miss her cue, which infuriates her so much that she in turn dings Billy on the ear, using one of the cymbals as a weapon. After the ringing in Billy's head stops, the music teacher makes them apologize to each other, but the subject "gets back" at Rosie by chasing her around the playground at lunch with a worm on the end of his finger.

Thursday, 12/09, 5:30 pm: Dinner has been served and the family is seated around the dining table. The subject's mother has made a comforting meal of macaroni and cheese, which I understand to be Billy's favorite. Although Billy has consumed a healthy portion of the main dish without any trouble, he is balking at the vegetables that must be eaten before any dessert can be distributed. From my perch outside the window, the vegetable appears to be Brussels sprouts. The subject has already created a pyramid with them and was getting ready to topple it with a massive earthquake when his mother reminds him about Santa and the naughty or nice lists he makes every year about this time. I'm pleased to report that the subject stopped playing with his vegetables and choked down every single one, even though the amount of whining was a distraction for the rest of the family as they finished dinner.

Thursday, 12/09, 9:45 pm: Subject is in bed, supposedly asleep. He has, however, made a tent with his covers and has a flashlight shining underneath. Using the standard issue V60 Silent Witness Night Vision Goggles, I discover that the subject is playing checkers with himself, muttering such things as "Take that, you poopyhead," and "You can't do that, stupid meanie," in a quiet voice. Knowing that his parents are not likely to discover this specific misdemeanor, I take it upon myself to give a quiet little tap on the window, in accordance with the Elf Surveillance Manual, Section 14, Part 8. The subject is quiet for a moment, then resumes his game, whispering, "Ha ha, now you gotta king me, butthead!" I made another rap on the window. The subject is quiet again for a moment, then I see the covers flip up and suddenly the flashlight is shining directly at me. I make myself visible and show him Scary Elf Face #27. The subject drops the flashlight, screams as though he has seen a ghost, and runs out the door crying for his mother.

Friday, 12/10, 5:45 am: After a sleepless night filled with scary elf dreams, the subject is awake and sitting up in bed. The sun hasn't risen yet, but pale streaks are beginning to show in the eastern sky. The subject is looking at a picture book edition of The Night Before Christmas, which I have placed on his bed at approximately 2:45 am. As he pages through the story, he sings "Santa Claus is Coming To Town," a song I had placed in his subconscious mind while he slept. When he reaches the part about being naughty or nice, he stops singing and appears to be thinking. Then he gets out of bed to stand by the window. "Naughty or nice, naughty or nice, naughty or nice," he repeats to himself. "I think I'll be nice," he says, and looks directly at me, or it would be directly at me if I wasn't still invisible. The subject turns around and makes his bed without being told and goes downstairs to breakfast, a changed boy.

Friday, 12/10, 6:10 am: After asking sweetly for a glass of orange juice, subject is observed sticking out his tongue at his sister Susan. Susan, who is five, responds by sticking out her tongue back. The subject then responds by sticking out his tongue and Susan sticks out her tongue again. Bored of this game, the subject begins to throw Cheerios at Susan, who, lacking the ammunition to respond to this terrorist threat, loudly sounds the alarm. Their mother, who is preparing toast, whips her head around at Susan's scream, clearly expecting an appendage to be ripped off or a nuclear attack but instead finds Cheerios all over the table, Susan crying and Billy sporting a satisfied smirk. The subject is lectured on table manners, the proper way to treat his sister, and sent to his room to prepare for school. At this point, I conclude the assigned surveillance and leave the premises.

Final Recommendations:

While the subject definitely possesses a few distinct naughty tendencies, I don't believe these fit the qualifications listed in the manual, which clearly state that children who are naughty must possess, "a mean-spirited nastiness or just plain cruelty" (Section 1, Definitions). Billy Jones is annoying and mischievous, even sometimes bratty, but the actions I've observed are clearly caused by boredom, immaturity and a legitimate dislike of Brussels sprouts. I recommend he remain on the nice list this year and receive some, but not all, of the toys he described in his Letter to Santa (dated 11/05/04). I also recommend monitoring his behavior throughout the year, as outlined in the manual (Section 3, Procedures), in order to more adequately assess his progress.

Respectfully submitted,

Olwe Felagund, Elf 2nd Class

Article © Kellie Gillespie. All rights reserved.
Published on 2005-12-19
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