Dispatches from Suburbia

If I played an instrument, I would have a band called "The Simon Thomsen Sex Tape"; and other musings, rants, and disconnected ramblings.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Yes, Virginia...

"I heard it on the wind. I heard it from the birds. I felt it in the sunlight. And your mom was just in here crying."
--Thomas Builds-The-Fire in Sherman Alexie's short story "What it Means to Say Phoenix, Arizona." (Also used in the wonderful film adaptation Smoke Signals)

When I was younger I was, for whatever little-kid reason, crawling around on my grandparent's driveway. Due to some optic discrepancy, I saw a strange flash of light beneath Grampo's little blue pickup.

This was somewhere during the beginning of the holiday season, so I was convinced that I had seen an elf, checking to see that I was behaving and maintaining my place on Santa's "good" list.

Keep in mind that my mother comes from a strong Catholic/Hispanic background, where a child's behavior is so incredibly important. I've decided that telling kids that Santa has sent out a diminutive surveillance crew is a perfect way to ensure proper behavior without parent's having to keep an eye on your young ones 24/7. Plus, it's got that Christian slant.

We all know that kids will believe pretty much anything (ever been "snipe" hunting as a child?). What's I find so magical (yes, it's cheesy) is that children will believe anything with all their hearts. They are so convinced of the most far-fetched things, and yet they don't question for one second that yes, Santa exists. Yes, magic can take place. Yes, some fairy pays me for my teeth. This last one I now find kind of weird. What use would anybody have for old teeth? It sounds a bit nasty.

I believed in all this and more as a child. I believed I'd one day be an astronaut, or an adventurer, or some kind of magician that could fly or make my lovely assistant truly disappear. In a way, being a writer, I'm technically capable of these things--but as I child I'd never considered the possibility of writing and, instead, my goals involved very literal visions of these dreams.

And now, I'm such a cynic. When did that happen? Not that I don't like cynicism (in fact, I love it), but when did I abandon the possibility of the impossible? Once again, I'm pondering such bittersweet notions, but as much as I can't stand kids sometimes, you gotta admit that they allow their minds to wander to places that we eventually deny ourselves access to.


At 6:53 PM, Anonymous m said...

Good point!
My mom once told me that I had a rabbit in my head who ran a candy factory. If I took a nap the candy would come out my ears. Then she would leave candy on my pillow.

I totally believed her.

At 9:30 PM, Blogger mist1 said...

I had dreams of being an astronaut, but I will settle for being a space cadet or a cosmotologist.

At 1:05 AM, Blogger ShadowFalcon said...

I tell myself magic is not real but at the back of my mind I'm still dreaming...

At 8:41 AM, Blogger Laura said...

I don't know, there's a part of me way down deep in my soul, That still wants to believe in Santa Claus and such childhood fantasies. With the grandchildren around all the time, I can relive all that trusting childhood innocents and remember when I was as these little ones are now. It's a shame we have to get old.

Happy Thanksgiving.

At 7:49 AM, Blogger JR's Thumbprints said...

I'm a big Will Ferrell fan; my wife hates him. I did a Will Ferrell pose on my blog (Less Than Six Degrees of Explanation, 5/21/06). As for Santa, only the Billy Bob Thornton version works for me, with his sidekick elf.


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