default avatar
Welcome to the site! Login or Signup below.
Logout|My Dashboard

I’ll Do It Stepping into the fat man’s boots

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Related Galleries

Posted: Monday, December 13, 2010 12:00 am | Updated: 10:54 am, Sat Sep 17, 2011.

I now understand why all the mall Santas I sat on the laps of as a child were likely drunk. After hours gagging on fake beard hairs and trying my best not to emotionally scar children by blowing the big secret, I craved a malty porter from the Lodi Beer Company like Mr. Potter yearned for poor peoples' tears in "It's a Wonderful Life."

Sitting under a gunmetal gray sky in Downtown on the corners of School and Oak streets Saturday, I pretended to be the great Santa Claus. For two hours I struggled to keep my baggy costume from revealing I was merely an impostor of a worldwide superstar. But as I saw how kids wore authentic looks of joy when they saw me from a block away, I put my misery on hold and in my narcissism started cherishing being such a big deal for them. Having a raven-haired female give Santa a peck on the cheek also made it tolerable.

Steve Bria, of Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, who has played the jolly fellow in Downtown during previous years, donated the pristine suit for the assignment. Everything was perfect, except for the person wearing it. With my gaunt frame, bitter disposition and unfruitful facial hair growth, I admittedly would be much better portraying an elf. But Jaime Watts, of the Downtown Lodi Business Partnership, and Bria had pulled some strings to enable this assignment, so I owed them a strong work ethic and good attitude. However, that didn't change the fact that every time I leaned to my left to grab a candy cane for an adoring child, my right hand clutched my skull to keep my cap from toppling off.

After multiple experiences of having the hat flop off and reveal my milky wig with tufts of auburn hair sticking out in front of questioning children, I finally learned to grab a handful of goodies to have at the ready for them.

As staff photographer Bob Bates circled me and took pictures for the story, I reclined in a cozy blue chair from New & Again Consignment Furniture Gallery and slowly ran out my required 120 minutes.

Once I started to roll with the situation, I actually started to enjoy it. People flashed genuine smiles from their cars when I waved to them. Dennis Bloom, of Spinning Tunes, played Frank Sinatra, Neil Diamond and Billie Holiday. It was a refreshing mix of original songs mixed in with classic Christmas carols that helped the time rush by.

When 4-year-old Sydney Meyer gave me one of the most loving hugs of my life, there was a brief period when I stopped viewing Santa Claus as an obese recluse one plate of gritty sugar cookies away from losing a leg to diabetes. I also delivered a chuckle worthy of Father Christmas when Addie the Australian shepherd jumped on my lap and nearly pulled my beard down with her back legs. Also, having a delightful waitress from Lodi Beer Co, Cetara Mettler, plant a kiss on my cheek certainly raised my Christmas spirit.

Even though my beard kept slipping down and my wig would droop forward and block my eyes, I'm not sure the younger children were any the wiser. That made the experience a bearable one. The biggest concern was being the Santa they wind up sobbing to a shrink about for $150 bucks an hour for 20 years from now. But despite some harmless barbs about looking too young to play Santa, the parents of the children played along.

After surviving the experience without traumatizing anyone, I ducked into the alley behind Abrahamson Printing and started shedding the outfit faster than a groupie at a KISS concert. I took my first breath unfiltered by scratchy beard hairs for more than two hours and kicked off the patent leather boot covers. I had made it.

After sweating under the heavy costume, I obtained a newfound respect for those who portray Santa Claus. For a few brief minutes, I made some amazing kids feel like they could have anything they wanted. No child sat on my lap with a soggy diaper. It was more enjoyable than I prepared myself for.

With that being said, may I please never do that again?

Contact reporter Jordan Guinn at jordang@lodinews.com.

Rules of Conduct

  • 1 Use your real name. You must register with your full first and last name before you can comment. (And don't pretend you're someone else.)
  • 2 Keep it clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually oriented language.
  • 3 Don't threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
  • 4 Be truthful. Don't lie about anyone or anything. Don't post unsubstantiated allegations, rumors or gossip that could harm the reputation of a person, company or organization.
  • 5 Be nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
  • 6 Stay on topic. Make sure your comments are about the story. Don't insult each other.
  • 7 Tell us if the discussion is getting out of hand. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
  • 8 Share what you know, and ask about what you don't.

Welcome to the discussion.

1 comment:


Popular Stories


Should graduations return to the Grape Bowl?

Lodi Unified leaders are moving Lodi and Tokay high school graduations from the Grape Bowl to the Spanos Center at UOP in Stockton. They cite limited seating, costs and unpredictable weather at the Grape Bowl. But others say graduations at the Grape Bowl are an important Lodi tradition, and one reason many supported renovating the stadium. What do you think?

Total Votes: 26


Mailing List

Subscribe to a mailing list to have daily news sent directly to your inbox.

  • Breaking News

    Would you like to receive breaking news alerts? Sign up now!

  • News Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily news headlines? Sign up now!

  • Sports Updates

    Would you like to receive our daily sports headlines? Sign up now!

Manage Your Lists