by: Lee Pitts

I haven't paid much attention to department store Santas since I was eight years old and I saw a disheveled and sloppy Santa taking a long puff on a cigarette as he got into his putrid green VW bus with curtains. When the motor came alive that old VW's mighty muffler belched out more noxious fumes than the Basque do at their annual beer and beans barbecue.

I wondered, whatever happened to that whole sleigh concept? And I didn't see any reindeer either. I got a sense Santa traded them all in for the bus, probably shot the reindeer and had Rudolph's head mounted over the fireplace in his shack a long way from the North Pole.

Fast forward to the other day when I was sitting in a mall food court while my wife was shopping for my Christmas gift to her. I was watching parents drag their kicking and screaming toddlers to the almighty giver of gifts to have their picture taken. At first I didn't notice anything out of the ordinary about Santa but something seemed amiss. The first thing I noticed was that Santa appeared to be wearing mascara. That figures I thought, Santa was a transvestite. Why not, every other tradition has been blown apart in this politically correct world we're living in.

Curious, I left the food court to get a closer look. I tried to blend in with the parents so the mall security cop wouldn't think I was a pervert. Aa ha, now I could see what was out of place. Santa had, how shall I put this so as to not offend anyone? Santa had a bosom. A bust. An udder. And Santa didn't have a bowl full of jelly or even a beer belly, no, Santa was expecting a little Claus!

Really? Santa's a she? It's just another lie our parents told us like, "Eat your carrots and you'll have good eyesight; keep eating cookies and you'll turn into one; don't swim after eating or you'll drown; when you get my age you'll understand." But now I'm old and I still don't get it. What a pack of lies our parents tried to sell us! What's next, a transgender Tooth Fairy or bisexual Easter Bunny?

I guess it was only a matter of time. Women are in the Infantry, driving semis and riding bulls, why not shimmying down chimneys? Although I do admit, Santa being a she does explain a lot of things, like why I always asked for toys and only got underwear and socks on Christmas day.

I moved in closer because I wanted to hear what the kids thought of a she-Santa. Did they say, "Hey, mommy, that Santa sounded like a girl." Or, "Daddy why did that lady have a beard?"      

What if the little tykes saw the she-Santa use the lady's bathroom on her break, or reading Marie Claire, Vogue or the Ladies Home Journal in the magazine section of Barnes and Noble?

If Santa really is a she it does answer some questions. I never did buy the idea that any man was organized enough to be able to pack all those toys on a single sleigh. Only a woman could do that. And it always bothered me that Santa seemed to know so much about dolls and playhouses but did not know the difference between a Winchester 22, which is what I repeatedly asked for, and a Daisy BB gun, which is what I got.

I suppose a more lithesome female with smaller feet could get drown a chimney easier and it explains why there were no cookie crumbs on the couch, spilled milk or boot tracks of soot on the carpet Christmas morn. A real man would never wear clothes made out of what I believe is crushed velvet, and we all know that women are far more knowledgeable about stockings and such. And here might be the best argument yet that Santa's a she: everyone knows a male could never go around the world without a wife riding shotgun telling him how to drive.

Still, I do have a few concerns, like how a woman can grow such a great beard but I, a man's man, can't.

I also worry that this news is going to come as quite a shock to the elves and Mrs. Claus.

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