Ho, ho, ho! -- A Christmas book review
Mime-Version: 1.0 (NeXT Mail 3.3 v118.2)
From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Tue, 16 Dec 97 12:38:17 -0800
Subject: Ho, ho, ho! -- A Christmas book review
Forwarded-by: elshaw@MIT.EDU (Libby Shaw)
From: "george m. anderson iii" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
BOOK: HOLIDAYS ON ICE
AUTHOR: DAVID SEDARIS
A compilation of Yuletide stories from a decidedly jaded perspective. The
first chapter, entitled SANTALAND DIARIES, narrates the tale of David, broke
and approaching homeless in NY,NY. Entranced by the want ad: Macy's Herald
Square, the largest store in the world, has big opportunities for outgoing,
funloving people of all shapes and sizes who want more than just a holiday.
Working as an elf in Macy's SantaLand means being at the center of the
(REVIEWER'S NOTE - FAR AWAY IN THE NORTHERN LANDS IS A LARGE CITY FILLED WITH
MUCH MOVEMENT CALLED NY,NY. IN THAT PLACE EXISTS A VERY LARGE STORE IN
WHICH MORE THAN 20,000 PEOPLE A DAY SHOP. While I know this secondhand since
my sister has been there and does so attest, I do believe.)
Turns out that being an elf is more complex than one might suspect.
Divisions of elfin responsibility: entry elf, greeting elf, photo elf, santa
elf, register elf, exit elf, and a plethora of elf associated with various
sites like 'the Magic Tree' which are arranged in this near unimaginable
As Christmas approaches, people become unreasonable, extracting a toll on
This afternoon I worked as an Exit Elf, telling people in a loud voice,
"THIS WAY OUT OF SANTALAND." A woman was standing at one of the cash
registers paying for her idea of a picture, while her son lay beneath her
kicking and heaving, having a tantrum.
The woman said, "Riley, if you don't start behaving yourself, Santa's
not going to bring you ANY of those toys you asked for."
The child said, "He is TOO going to bring me toys, liar, he already told
The woman grabbed my arm and said, "You there, Elf, tell Riley here
that if he doesn't start behaving immediately, then Santa's going to change
his mind and bring him COAL for Christmas."
I said that Santa no longer traffics in coal. Instead, if you're bad
he comes to your house and steals things. I told Riley that if he did'nt
behave himself, Santa was going to take away his TV and all his electrical
appliances and leave him in the dark. "All your appliances, including the
refrigerator. Your food is going to spoil and smell bad. It's going to be
so cold and dark where you are. Man, Riley, are you ever going to suffer.
You're going to wish you never heard the name Santa."
The woman got a worried look on her face and said "All right, that's
I said, "He's going to take your car and your furniture and all the
towels and blankets and leave you with nothing."
The mother said, 'No, that's enough, really."
She said, "I'm going to have you fired."
I had two people say that to me today, "I'm going to have you fired."
Go ahead, be my guest. I'm wearing a green velvet costume, it doesnt get
any worse than this. Who do these people think they are?
I'm going to have you fired" and i wanted to lean over and say, "I'm
going to have you killed."
There's lots more for interpersonal exchange, but really, what Sedaris is
doing here is a crude, lighthearted parody of Par Lagervist's book "The
Dwarf" which is one of the most alien books you will ever read. It is in
analogy style and works straight on the subconscious. If you ever wonder
what the dark cold world of the near artic circle can do to the human mind,
read The Dwarf (but I bear no responsibility as to the outcome).
© 1997 Peter Langston