Now, I know what you’re going to say. I’m going to make the same old jokes about how Santa is likely a pervert at worst, or the FBI at least with this surveillance. That Santa Claus is like ceiling cat, watching you masturbate.
No, I want to talk about another part of the song, the part that is left out half the time, but is LOADED with meaning. I’d sung this song my whole life and never heard this intro until Ella Fitzgerald sang it, and since then I’ve heard it elsewhere.
This is not a song about Santa. This is a song about a being so much more powerful than Santa, and s/he is teasing us that we have to watch out for Santa… or else something worse might happen…
I just came back from a lovely trip, along the Milky Way
I stopped off at the North Pole, to spend a holiday
I called on dear old Santa Claus, to see what I could see
He took me to his workshop, and told his plans to me.
“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
Stop a moment and think about this. Santa does the amazing feat of going around the world in one night and leaving presents for all the good little girls and boys (who celebrate Christmas, that is.) That’s pretty freaking amazing, and we attribute this power to magic.
BUT WHO IS THIS GODLIKE BEING WHO SKIPS ACROSS OUR GALAXY? I mean, according to a recent post by my buddy Phil Plait (totally name dropping, I know, I know), our galaxy is “a flat disk about 100,000 light years across and a thousand light years thick.”
So we’ve got this being who possibly has Star Trek-like technology. Who just casually wanders across 100,000 light years. Who thinks dropping in on Santa is like asking your neighbor for some sugar.
Who on this entire planet is cool enough to just drop in on Santa? No one, that’s who. This being is powerful enough to just stop by for a cup of tea, and Santa will put everything on hold to take this person on a tour of the workshop. It’s Christmas Eve and he’s editing the naughty list? Forget it, the VIP is visiting.
Is this Santa’s boss? A respected colleague who’s a gift giver on another planet? A GOD? The entire song is a veiled threat – “do what Santa says, because if you fear his wrath, you can’t even comprehend what I have in store for you!”
I’m terrified of this god-being who is Santa’s house guest, and I welcome him or her as my eventual overlord. I think Santa is his/her Silver Surfer and the bigger, badder, more magic being is coming.
I also fear Bruce Springsteen because when he sings the song I fear he’s going to burst a vein in his face. Sometimes when I listen to it, I imagine this has already happened and HE is the great new god’s herald, covered in blood and red fur.
Grade: A. I am too scared to give it anything else.