"We Don't Let Dorothy Crack The Eggs Anymore" Chapt. 22, "Santa Procedure"

Every year department stores hire those apple-checked paunchy guys to sit on tinseled thrones and lap-hold our fidgeting midgets.

Arise, mothers, to change this procedure. Arise, mothers, To Sit on Santa.

Moms who have been magnetized into maddening lines in order to pose our progeny to click with St. Nick, harken:

That quick commercial confessional doesn't serve our cause.

Your little lap-lander pounces on Santa's expanse and gets the "Ho, Ho, were you a good little boy, Sonny?" and the little scamp dulcet-tones back, Yuk!"

Does Sonny realize he just uttered another bare-faced prevarication?

As a just inquisitor Santa makes a good toy salesman.

He shot the admonitory words in "Santa Clause is Coming to Town" right up the chimney.

What does he care if Junior tore up his daddy's expense account notebook? Junior knows this. He catches on fast. Santa merely exchanges letters for toys.

In my Sit on Santa campaign, mothers shall be instructed to:

Buy disappearing ink for the kiddies misssives to the North Pole;

Keep accurate lists of childish misdemeanors, insist that children read lists to every Santa they encounter;

Get Santa to check the list twice...to see who's been naughty and who's been nice.

(if this campaign works, not only will Sanats sprout the most-bent ears in captivity, they'll be white-caned in oblivion.)

Shove your little ones aside and perch on St. Nick's knees yourself to give him an earful.

Recount for the jolly old soul how the kids injured your id, not to mention a limping libido when they locked themselves in the bathroom and mistook the Desitin ointment for toothpaste.

And does he think a little girl who painted the wall with Mommy's "eye-shout-o" and one who guzzled the mouthwash and the one who put bubble gum up her nose are deserving of lavish presents?

Before he can answer, ask him if sticking lollipops in Sister's hair isn't unfair?

He'll be St. Nicked right out of our collective hair, girls.

After all, why should this complete stranger take credit for your ventures into the small loan company to make stockings budget? Particularly if he's got a jolly red giant smile, no matter what caused your mean mien?

How are you gonna keep the brood in line after telling them their Christmas Big Buddy is going to steer the sleigh the other way when he ignores the question of behavior?

Last year, the Claus-that-refreshes simply shot a no-cavity smile for the birdie, exchanged private jokes with the female shutterbugs and wearily asked my younguns "Uh, what would you, uh, like in your stockings?"

If all else fails in this crusading campaign, I will see that Santa is unnerved. I'll have my children answer this time, "Whattsamatter, didn't you get my letter?"

Yes, Virginia, there is a loan company manager. And the last time I looked, he was wearing a blue, not a red suit.