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Letter to Santa
by John Sheirer

1 December 2010

Santa Claus, President
Christmastime Productions
1 Pole Place
North Pole 00000

Dear Mr. Claus,

This letter is in response to the lump of coal (hereafter referred to simply as "coal") received by stocking just before midnight, 24 December 2009, to be forwarded to my eight-year-old son Johnny Jr. on Christmas morning 2009. Said coal was an entirely inappropriate gift for Johnny Jr. I know you have been in this business a long time, and you are an "expert" in your "field," but I must submit my deepest objection to your position (as expressed in your handwritten note accompanying the coal) that Johnny Jr. had been a "very, very bad boy" during the calendar year 2009.

While it is true that Johnny had some attitude problems relating to his little sister Paige, he has since worked out those problems with the help of his therapist. This year, we have had no repeats of the unfortunate bathtub, skating rink, or backyard mudslide incidents that occurred in 2009. (Paige is healing nicely and sends her thanks for the My Little Pony Hospital Set you provided for her last Christmas.)

I must also mention that the investigators have informed us that electrical issues might have been just as likely for this October's fire as Johnny's recreational use of kitchen matches. Unfortunately, it will be necessary this year to forward whatever presents might be headed our way to my brother-in-law Stan Frankel's home in Parsippany, New Jersey, because the repairs to our house will not be finished until February.

In Johnny's favor is his exemplary work in school, where he is making wonderful progress and will almost surely complete the first grade on this year's attempt. In addition, we are confident that he will once again be allowed to enjoy recess with his classmates before the snows have melted this spring. Johnny has also been a big help to his mother, my lovely wife Julie (thanks from her for the Redbook subscription!). The doctors tell us that I will only need to be on this liquid diet for another few weeks, once the effects of the food poisoning from Johnny's Thanksgiving dinner "help" have worn off. (As a related aside here, I would really appreciate a new blender for Christmas—Stan's is in very poor condition.)

So I hope you can agree that no one wants to repeat last year's coal incident this holiday season. Perhaps instead, this year you might provide more games to go with the X-Box 360 I procured for Johnny last year shortly after I discovered the coal in his stocking. (It was wonderful timing to find those nice men selling electronic equipment from the trunk of their car downtown on Christmas morning. Do I sense your miracle-working hand in this serendipity?) FYI: Johnny is especially fond of the games with lots of violence and bloodshed, and I am thankful that he has this cathartic outlet for his occasional aggressive tendencies.

Warmest holiday wishes,

John Kringle