A recent phone call between Santa Claus and his business agent, Jerry.
Jerry (J): Nicki, you there? It’s Jerry ... (pause) ... Jerry, your agent. You OK, big guy?
Santa (S): Hello, Jerry. I’m good. And you? Oh wait, I can look it up here in my naughty-and-nice book.
J (interrupting): I know about the book, Nick. Hey, I’m sorry that I couldn’t score any mall gigs for you this year.
S: That’s okay, Jerry. 2020 has been a crazy year, hasn’t it?
J: True that. What are you going to do about all the no occupancy and stay at home orders? It looks like you can’t go down chimneys this year.
S: But I have to.
J: Don’t do it, Nick. If you do in New York or California you could end up in Attica or Folsom. Trust me on this one.
S: How else can I get presents to all the boys and girls?
J: Maybe leave them on the porch. Amazon does it all the time. Maybe a bright red box. Yeah, I like that. Red says Santa. Could help the brand.
S: The brand?
J: Listen, Nick. That’s really why I called. We need some serious work on the brand. For example, your digital presence.
S: My what?
J: Let me unpack it for you Santa baby. First, you don’t have a Facebook page. Second, no Instagram followers. Third, kids still write you letters and mail them. Fourth, you don’t text. That won’t cut it today, Nick. I’ll send a team of media consultants up there to get
you set up and help manage communications. Twitter, TikTok, Tumblr, everything you need.
S: Can this wait until after Christmas?
J: No can do, Nick. The competitive landscape is too volatile. Jeff Bezos has package distribution centers and delivery trucks everywhere. Elon Musk can shoot packages on rockets around the world. These guys are disruptors, Nick. This calls for transformative strategic digital and cyber changes ASAP. You snooze, you lose, my friend.
S: Oh, my!
J: Let’s talk image. You’re an old, white guy which isn’t all that great right now, but we can work with it if we make some changes.
S: What changes?
J: Let’s start with the beard and mustache. Facial hair is in, but yours is too ZZ Top. Trim it back. Go for a fashionable stubble and dye it black.
S: But Mrs. Claus likes my beard.
J: Nick, ask her if she would like you to look like you do now or more like Ryan Reynolds? OK? Dye the hair on your head black, too, maybe with some grey highlights. Then pull it back into a bun. And add some tats.
J: Tats, Nick. Tattoos. All the celebs have them. On your arm; but just one arm. I’m seeing an arm full of colorful Christmas tats – wreaths, Rudolph, stockings, maybe yourself – you get the picture.
S: I’m not sure Mrs. Claus will approve of that.
J: Show her a picture of David Beckham. She’ll be cool. Now, I know we have talked about this before, but we need to get serious about some weight loss.
S: But I’m still lively and quick, my dimples are merry, and people love it when I laugh and shake like a bowl full of jelly.
J: Nick, I can’t even wrap my mind around that image. Right now we need more keto and fewer cookies. Let’s talk about the reindeer.
S: What about the reindeer?
J: Well for starters, do they really work all night Christmas Eve? Sixteen hours straight. No breaks?
S: Yes, but they get the rest of the year off.
J: Where do you keep them?
S: They live outside.
J: Outside? At the North Pole?
S: They’re reindeer. They love it outside.
J: Try telling that to PETA when they get on your jolly butt. Do you remember what they did to the monks at Mepkin Abbey? That could be you next. I know a top animal husbandry technician. I’ll send her up to see what restructuring is needed to make us Humane Society compliant. Now, are you green?
S: Yes. Green and red are the Christmas colors.
J: I meant environmentally green. What is your carbon footprint?
S: My boots are size 14. Triple E.
J: Cute, Nick. Let’s come at it this way. Do you heat the place with gas or electric?
S: We burn logs in the fireplace.
J: Don’t tell me you cut down trees!
S: I don’t. The elves do.
J: You can’t cut down trees unless we buy you some carbon credits, and they are not cheap; believe me. I’m sending an environmental consultant up there to look everything over – your operations, your suppliers, your travel – and develop a plan to be carbon neutral by 2030.
S: Jerry, I appreciate your input, but how long have we been working together?
J: About five years.
S: I’ve been doing this for several hundred years now, so listen to me now. Ixnay on the consultants.
J: Okay boomer, but no pain, no gain. Am I picking up some negative feedback here on my recommendations?
S: For now, let’s just say I’m laying a finger aside of my nose. I have a lot to do before Dec. 24, Jerry. We can talk about this more after then.
J: You know you could skip Christmas this year. People would understand. It’s 2020. Come back next year with a huge reveal as the retooled and improved Santa.
S: I can’t do that. The children are counting on me. They believe in me. Do you believe, Jerry? ... (pause) ... Jerry?
S: Was that ‘yeah, I’m here’ or ‘yeah, I believe?’
J: I guess ... both, boss.
S: Good boy. I’ll record that in the book. Anything else?
J: Don’t forget your mask.
S: You be well and safe, too, Jerry. Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!