The Dead Fantasy



On Christmas day I flew from Portland to Los Angeles. As is the case with Oregonians and airports, I found myself surrounded by oddly dressed people… not the least of which were Mr. and Mrs. Claus.

That’s right, as I joined the security screening line I noticed that just 7 people ahead of me there was a couple dressed up as jolly old St. Nick and his wife.

Everyone was quite happy to see them!

I didn’t do a double take at first, because I assumed that it was a couple of young pranksters out for a holiday lark…

…if you’re going to fly at Christmas, why not dress up like the Claus family?

The double take happened when I realized that these weren’t young people sporting snowy wigs and beards, they were an honest to goodness AARP couple wearing richly handcrafted costumes… and the hair was completely home grown.

Whatever possesses a couple in their early 70’s to dress in full red-velvet tailoring on Christmas day must also have possessed the “Mr. Claus” several years ago, because his full, chest-length white beard and shoulder-length white hair had been ages in the making.

While I assume that this was a professional Santa Claus performance team, probably headed to a charity event where they would no doubt stir the hearts of many children at their final destination, they weren’t working any magic for the 6am travellers…

…or the TSA agent who had to frisk “Mrs. Claus”.

To make matters worse, each person in the security line was wielding the largest possible carry-on bag and personal item, including the Kringles.

As the line surged forward towards the metal detectors another problem reared its head. Children throughout the line, who at first were quite surprised to see Santa, began voicing their concern for why Nick and his Lady were carrying their luggage through the airport security screening area.

“Why is Santa here?”
“It’s still dark, why isn’t he delivering presents?”
“How come he isn’t flying his sled?”
“He’s not as fat as he was yesterday at Fred Meyer!”
“Can we get on the airplane going to the north pole too?”

This sort of early morning interrogation did not make any of the parents in the line any happier. In fact, you could see their haggard, early morning faces grow grim.

Their eyes said that they hated the Claus family.  Things only got worse as the Saint moved through the security process:

For identification, he presented an I.D. card that stated that he was “Santa Claus” from the “North Pole”. No one appreciated the delay.

The Metal detector clearly detected every one of his “Jingle Bells.” No one appreciated the delay.

Since everyone has to remove their caps, jackets, and shoes, every child in line got to watch Santa Clause take off almost all of his clothes.  No one appreciated this display.

Nobody was very happy. Not the kids, not the parents, not the security personel.

Why not dress up like the Claus Family when you fly?

Because Santa Claus is never supposed to be in an airport, that’s why!

Having Santa strip down to go through security didn’t just remove him of his bejeweled cap and fanciful jacket, it stripped him of wonder, mystery, and a fair amount of dignity.

Without the proper attire, Santa became just another pear shaped, unkempt, man… wandering around in red pants and black socks.

For everybody in concourse B, the Santa fantasy died a grim death that morning.

Which reminds me,

Fantasy is never able to meet up with reality, because reality destroys fantasy every time.

Fantasy has a place in our life, for entertainment and diversion, but as fun as fantasy can be, it only lasts for a season.

The Santa family reminded us all that to pursue fantasy as a sustainable lifestyle is not just destructive to ourselves, it also robs the people around us as well.

Solomon says this:
“Prudence is a fountain of life to the prudent;
But folly brings punishment to fools.” 
Proverbs 16:22

Attempting to order our lives according to some ideal level of comfortability, or sheer whimsy, has become something like an unfortunate side effect of our affluence of late.

Men often put aside their wives for newer, fitter models

Women can put aside their responsibilities for more pleasurable diversions.

And many children are not encouraged to grow in ways that are uncomfortable or, dare I say, “not sports oriented”.

While every fantasy does have an expiration date, trying to live our lives in ways that indulge our flights of fancy is something that really can be done for any length of time.

It’s just as ill advised as attempting to play Santa in the airport.

Is there a fantasy belief that are you currently trying to shake free of? I’m having to let go of the notion that “Things are always better someplace else.”

4 Responses to “The Dead Fantasy”

  1. Janna Kainos December 28, 2011 at 5:40 pm #

    I love fantasy land…as I call it. That place I go where everyone is happy all the time especially me! Where my husband fixes things before they break, the kids are getting straight A’s and scoring touch downs, where money grows on the tree in my back yard,and I have all the time in the world to do what I want to do. Reality is I am single, no kids, and a broke college student. But ask a mom who has two toddlers at home running her ragged a husband who comes home angry because he hates his job and a house that is too big to clean by herself I bet my reality is her fantasy! I love your words and insight Jon!

  2. Jon December 28, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

    Wise words Janna! I know I always find myself wanting to trade my fantasy for someone else’s.

  3. Keith December 28, 2011 at 6:49 pm #

    The only time I find that my fantasy ALWAYS becomes a reality is when I walk through those pristinely clean doors of an In N Out burger….it NEVER disappoints!

    • Jon December 28, 2011 at 9:28 pm #

      Soo true, their standards and practice department is unparalleled !

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