by | Nov 21, 2008 | Detroit Free Press | 0 comments

Ho, ho, ho! Merry Christmas, son! Come sit on Santa’s lap. What’s your name?”


“Jack what?”

“Jack Morris.”

“Ho, ho, ho! There’s a famous baseball pitcher named Jack Morris.”

“I know, I’m him.”

“I’ll be darned! Say, you’re a little heavy.”

“That’s my wallet.”

“Oh. Well, Jack. Have you been a good boy?”

“Good? I’ve been great. Didn’t you watch the World Series, old man?”

“Well, I . . .”

“I was MVP. The big cheese in Minnesota. I just got a new contract. Over
$5 million a year.”

“How nice. They appreciate you.”

“Minnesota? The hell with them. This is a new team, with a new bank vault. Go Toronto!”

“Toronto? But didn’t you ask me last year to please let you go to the Twins, your hometown club?

“That was last year, Santa. Times change.”

“Very well. What do you want this Christmas?”

“Protection. I need a new security system. And a Swiss bank account. And an armored truck. And an electric fence around my house in Toronto — no, wait, make it a fence around all of Canada, and . . .”

“I’ll try, son. Merry Christmas.”

“No excuses, pal.”


“Yo, Santa!”

“My, you’re tall. Come sit on my l-mmmph!”

“Like this?”

“That’s — unnnh! — fine. What’s your name?”

“The Mailman.”

“The Mailman? Say, you’re doing a splendid job, bringing all those Christmas cards to peop. . .”

“Not that mailman. Karl Malone. The Mailman. Utah Jazz. Don’t you watch TV?”

“Well, I . . .”

“Look. I got a situation here, and I need some help. The other night, I accidentally bumped this guy from Detroit and now the people therewant my hide.”

“Was he hurt?”

“Nah. Just 40 stitches. I bet he didn’t even need more than 30.”

“Hmmm. And what do you want for Christmas?”

“I want my $10,000 back, for starters. That’s the fine. Then I want
$40,000 back for missing a game. It’s not my fault Isiah pushed his eye into my elbow.”

“His eye into your . . .”

“So he bled a little. Big deal. That’s what they got mops for. Listen, Santa. Just get me back my 50 Gs. And while you’re at it, you know those big-screen Mitsubishis? The 70- inch kind?”

“I’ll do my best, son.”

“With the picture-in-picture . . .”


“Hey, hey, Santa man! It’s me, Jerry Ball! Let me crawl up on your lap a minute.”

“Uh, wait, Jerry, you’re too heav . . . ayeeep!”

“You OK, Santa?”

“Grzzzllp mmmphznt.”



“Me, too. See, there’s this guy with the Jets, Brad Baxter? Cut my knee out from under me. And now I gotta miss the first playoff game in Detroit in eight years. Can you believe it?”


“Damn straight. I called him worse than that.”


“What do I want? I want you to kill him, Santa. Make him dead. Slice him in pieces.”


“That’s all. That, and one of those new Mitsubishis. The 70-inch kind. Whoa, Santa, I gotta go. Cinnabons is having a two-for-one sale!”

“Nzzzpp . . . gasp! . . . whew . . .”

“Pardon me, Santa?”

“Now what? I mean, eh, hello, son. What do you want for Christmas?”

“Nothing. Thanks anyhow.”

“Say. You look familiar.”

“Michael Jordan. At your service.”

“Goodness. And such a nice young man. You don’t want anything for Christmas, Michael?”

“Well, actually, I came to tell you we’re taking away your reindeer after this season. We’re replacing them with 12 life- size figures of myself, in new Nike shoes, called The Blitzen. We feel it will increase sales. You understand.”

“My reindeer? But you can’t do that.”

“I’m afraid I can. See, I own you now, Santa. I purchased you as part of a multibillion-dollar deal last week. Call me crazy. I liked your colors. Red, black and white. Cute.”

“But. . . but. . .”

“Merry Christmas. Keep up the profit margin.”

“WAIT! . . . Well, of all the . . .”

“Santa? Santa?”

“NOW WHAT? Oh, sorry, little boy.”

“You didn’t ask what I want for Christmas.”

“(Sigh). All right. Come on up.”


“Now. What do you want for Christmas.”

“I want a toy football and a toy basketball and a baseball glove, that’s what!

“Sorry, kid, no can do.”

“Why not?”

“Too dangerous.”


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Mitch Albom writes about running an orphanage in impoverished Port-au-Prince, Haiti, his kids, their hardships, laughs and challenges, and the life lessons he’s learned there every day.

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