Sunday, November 25, 2007

Saga of a Second Rate Santa

Like most of my promises, I'm a day late in making good on declaring a winner for the caption contest, but as punishment for my tardiness I'm picking two. Merry Jelinek, for her therapy story to go along with the Santa picture, and Jason for being the only person to correctly identify me as the face behind the white beard.

That's right folks, that is me lurking beneath those snow-white whiskers and red hat. And here is the real story of how I became a mall Santa and happened to have a six foot plus two hundred and something pound red-headed man sitting on my lap.

The years was 2001. I was just shy of my 29th birthday, far too young to make a good Santa but then again I never claimed I was a good Santa. The previous spring I had agreed to play the Easter Bunny at the mall so the Santa gig was my second stint for the company. Who ran the company -- the red headed man on my lap, who also happened to be my boss at the Post Office. He knew I had a new family and could use a bit of extra money so he hired me for nights and weekends.

The Easter Bunny was easy. Ten bucks and hours plus commission if we met our goals of getting so many pictures. Later, I will share some Bunny stories, which are actually funnier than the Santa ones, but y'all will have to wait for spring for those. The good thing about the Easter Bunny was I just had to sit there in my suit. No talking, no Ho, Ho, Ho'ing. Just wave and sweat in a gimongous fur covered suit while the sun beat in through the mall's atrium windows. Easy money.

There was nothing easy about being Santa. First, because I was young and my eyebrows are black, I had to get this wax pencil and color my brows white each time I donned the suit. Also the middle part of my moustache bled through the fake beard so I'd have to use the pencil to color what I'll call the Hitler portion of my 'stache white as well. Then, despite having a fairly ample gut of my own, I'd have to tie this big poofy pillowed girdle around my torso. Then I'd slip into the red velour trousers and shirt, hoist up the black suspenders, and then slip into the leather boots. Did you know Santa's footwear isn't much different from a Hell's Angel's?

Last, I'd slide the beard into place. It itched like hell and those little fine grey hairs constantly found their way inside my mouth and nostrils. They tickled like hell and over the course of a night spitting out the hairs and keeping them out of my nose proved to be nerve racking. For all I know they gather that crap my the backside of Polar Bears so who the hell knows what kind of germs I was ingesting. Of course every sick and snotty nosed kid in town ended up on my lap, so it didn't really make a difference.

So after a half hour of getting dressed I'd wait for the Santa on duty before me to come back so I could take his place on the throne. Then the fun would really start.

At Easter you might get three or four people in line at the busiest time. The parents are calm and relaxed for the most part since they haven't spent all day running around from store to store maxing out their credit cards in the name of good cheer.

Christmas was an entirely different story. After a ten minute break the line would be twenty screaming kids long. Parents would be eyeballing their watches and scowling like constipated elves forced to eat prune-laced fruitcake.

Between now and Christmas I'm gonna tell y'all many a tale of what went on after that. From sad, to funny, to head shaking, people- are-crazy. But I just might have been the craziest of them all. I also might have been the worst mall Santa the world has ever witnessed, but my pain, and the scarred memories of many a child is y'alls gain. So get ready to read all about, The Saga of a Second Rate Santa.

** a couple of notes**

The man on my lap's name is Galen, As I said he was the boss at the Post Office at one time. I took a good amount of flack for working for him on the side. Things like Santa's nose is supposed to be red, not brown. This picture was taken to really give them something to talk about and to prove I could take anything they wanted to dish out. Don't worry I paid them back. If there is one thing I'm good at it is getting even, or even better getting ahead.

Merry and Jason. Y'all can pick between a homemade CD of some of the finest Texas music you've ever heard, or a book from my personal library. Your choice. If you prefer a book let me know and I'll send you a list of five or six to choose from.


Rox said...

Have you seen the movie "Bad Santa" with Billy Bob Thorton? That's my kind of Santa! LOL!

Danette Haworth said...

I watched a special on career Santas. There are salons devoted entirely to the year-round Santas--man who grow their hair and beards, keeping them groomed and just white for the season.

Merry Monteleone said...

Yay, I win a prize... la,la,la... I guess I'll go with the Texas Music...

Are you sure you don't want to save these stories for a short story collection, I'm just guessing there's some great material there for fiction.

Anonymous said...

Santa, Santa, this before or after the homemade irish cream?

Charles Gramlich said...

Better you than me is all I've got to say.

JasonScottAdams said...

Cool! I could definitely tell that was Travis. I told my wife the story of your side job(s) in the mall. She thought it was neat. I better be careful before she asks me to do something like that.

I'm definitely a music lover myself, so I'd rather hear some great Texas music!

Jason "Proudly born and raised in Texas" Adams

Chris Eldin said...

Congrats to the winners!
Fun story. :-)

Terrie Farley Moran said...

Great stories! Congrats to the winners!

Josephine Damian said...

Hi Travis,

Great blog. I really like your optimism and determination to succeed.

I see we have some friends in common.


alex keto said...

Did you really have to use an eyebrow pencil or was it just kind of fun? Humph, and to think you made fun of me for having to wear lip gloss to fend off sunburn in Kenya.

Sherry said...

OMG...this is hysterical..."behind the beard with a department store santa" has quite a ring to would fly off the shelves!!!

Alyssa Goodnight said...

You look like a pretty good santa, but that does sound like one awful job. You'll always have those stories, though... I'm looking forward to hearing about those!

Travis Erwin said...

Roxrocks I do like that movie. I was bad in different way.

Danette - Yeha the guy who worked the day shift had a real beard and was quite good at his job, unlike me.

Merry - Jsut email me you address travis @ and I'll get your Cd out ASAP. I could save them but hey I gotta have soemthing to blog about.

Jenn - Before, after, and during.

Charles - You shoudl try it. Misery loves company.

Jason - Give me a call when you get he chance. I'll get you address then and pass on that other info you wanted.

Church Lady - Thanks for stopping by and jsut wait for the rest of the Santa tales.

Terrie - Women of Mystery is creating a bit of stir over at Criminal Brief. So have y'all decied who is going to test and review the OmiBod?

Josephine - Thanks, stop back by anytime. The blog world seems relatively small so I think everybody's friends over lap.

Alex - it wasn't an eyebrow pencil in the Revlon sense of cosmetics. I haven't taken up cross dressing yet, though that might make selling my women's fiction easier. And if I recall correctly your lipgloss had glitter in it. That is much worse than my white eyebrow pencil.

Sherry - I like your title better. Wish I would have thought of it.

Alyssa - Being Santa had its moments, but I wouldn't do it again for triple the pay.

Shauna said...

Ooh, I'm looking forward to this Saga. I knew it was you, which made me REALLY laugh. Congrats to the winners!

Stacy said...

Ah, the things we do for money. I've donned a Bavarian girl costume for one job.

cher said...

crack me up!!!!

Terrie Farley Moran said...


Fortunately before the women of mystery had to draw straws to see who got to do the test run on the oMiBod, Leigh let us off the hook with a comment that the oMiBod would be redundant if our writing was really exciting. I may have to plagiarize Plundered Booty to be exciting enough to get out of the oMiBod trials.

Loved your Doctor Pepper comment. Figured it was pretty much true, because I had a similar reaction--all that techno babble and then oMiBod.

They are a smart and fun bunch over at Criminal Brief.


Kristen Painter said...

Hey, thanks for stopping by the blog! I love that you write women's fiction!

Patti said...

yesterday i came thisclose to having my piture made with santa. but then i thought he might like it a little too much...if you know what i mean.

Monnik said...

You picked a good winner - I loved Merry's story. :)

Wow - what a great provider you are for your family to do that job. Seriously, that would be tough. Did you ever get peed on by a kid?

cher said...

oh, and i was bummed to realize i missed this contest. i guess it's too late to cheat hey?

CamiKaos said...

My 5 year old is terrified of santa... this could explain some of that.

Aaron said...

Ok, I was half-correct. :)

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