I don’t remember how old I was when David Ginsberg burst my bubble.
He lived down the hill on Lexington Street and was a couple of years older than me. We were standing in his driveway shortly before Christmas when he told me there’s no such thing as Santa Claus. I walked home stunned.
I don’t know why he told me, and at the time it seemed like a crappy thing to do. For me the truth didn’t come gradually, with the tiny suspicions that gently lead children to the truth. Instead it was a kick in the gut. I think I went to my room and cried.
This story has never been told without religion coming up. Yes, David Ginsberg was Jewish, and I Catholic, and everybody always gets a big kick out of that when they here this tale. But even though the Santa myth may have had no meaning for him, this was more about an older boy doing what older boys do. If it were not him, it probably would have ended up being one my brothers.
More than forty years later, I still remember this, the way some people remember where they were when JFK was shot. I’m not sure what that says about me, but this much is true: it made me a great protector of the Santa story.
So parents, this season please whisper quietly, walk softly, and hide your presents well.
Now, on a related note, here’s someone who has absolutely no regard for the Santa myth, Chicago news anchor Robin Robinson, in one of the most crass and clueless things I’ve ever seen on TV. And I’ve seen some stupid things on TV.