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Friday, December 26, 2008

The Santa Lie and other traumas of childhood

I had a nice Christmas. I really did. But just a couple moments ago, I texted a friend whose nephew, who is now 8, has begun questioning the veracity of the Santa Lie. It made me remember back when I was that age and through conversations with other kids, it all began to unravel.

When I found out there was no Santa, well, something changed. I didn’t know it at the time, and really had never thought about it, but up to that point, there were two people in the world that I trusted beyond trust. And they lied to me. It was the first time that had ever happened, and something, I think, intangible changed in our relationship. I didn’t love them any less, and I think I understood that they would never do anything that would hurt me, but they had lied to me.

As so the tooth fairy and the Easter Bunny quickly became casualties and in a way, so had the world I’d lived in.

People lie.

I know that sounds like a harsh indictment, and in a way, it is. But for a kid who’d been given the world on a string and told to run with it, well, it was pretty stunning. Of course, at the time I didn’t know what was going on, I didn’t understand my feelings, but they were there, beneath the surface, and my world changed before my eyes.

So I ask you, why do we abuse the trust of a child with fantasies and promises of a world that doesn’t exist? Are we, as adults, forever unsatisfied as we try to recreate that childhood lost world that we lived  in for the first ten or twelve years of our lives?

Ahh, to go back there once again… 

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This is me and one of my two cats. His name is Cougar, and he’s an F1 Chausie. A chausie is a new breed of cat under development. Chausies are the result of a cross between a domestic cat (in Cougar’s case, a Bengal) and a jungle cat (Felis Chaus). Cougar’s mom is 8 pounds and his father is a 30-pound jungle cat. He’s about 16 pounds, super intelligent, spirited, and toilet trained. A writer without a cat (or two) is not to be trusted.