Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Ghosts of Christmas Past -OR- Recycled from 1997

Originally published Dec. 17, 1997

Dear Santa,

Here we are again. Christmas 1997 is upon us and I can almost relate to how busy you are. I honestly don't know how you do it. I suppose having the midnight sun helps. Heck, having any sun at all sure perks things up down here. If you have any pull with Old Man Winter, we could use some snow, but only on the sledhills, scenic overlooks and, of course, the areas you require for safe landings and take-offs.

Another year means another wish list from me. For the last few years, if you recall, (and I'm sure you do), I've not asked anything for myself. I asked that you give those who lead us a clue as to how to lead us. Nothing fancy. Just a little common sense in our policy making, an understanding that a dollar spent is a dollar spent and a tiny glimmer that they know whose dollars are being spent on what.

When I made those requests I hadn't intended for attorneys to be involved, but I must admit that the steady stream of indictments was a singularly special touch. I just hope it all adds up to a better mousetrap rather than smarter mice. If there is any way to tie a little taxpayer restitution to the upcoming circuses, it would be appreciated.

I received the memo about the North Pole downsizing and I've trimmed my expectations accordingly. Times being what they are and the process being what IT is, I expect I should wish that everybody gambles more, smokes more, spends endless hours on the phone making reservations for Illinois' riverboat casinos and talking to their Health Management Organization. That would surely brighten the fiscal outlook for at least some school districts.

While I have trouble understanding the wisdom of pinning our educational future on such harebrained long shots with such glaring downsides, I'm sure the braintrusts down in Springfield know best. I do know that I now look at the lunatic masses huddled outside for a smoke and see them in a whole new light. They're just doing their part for education. Perhaps in 1998 we can solve the problems in the health care system by taxing the proceeds of blood and plasma sales by the homeless?

There is actually one thing you can give me this year: Some more consistent company in the cheap seats. I figure that a few more bodies might make a few other, public, bodies more mindful of their purpose. While I appreciate the occasional booster provided by hot-button issues, people need to realize that just being there can prevent, augment and improve the decision making process in all aspects of our communal lives.

Thanks for taking the time to read this letter, all those that came before, and the ones going forward. You're a busy guy. I understand the time pressures of a hectic schedule and impending deadlines.

I hope you find some pleasure in reading this. I do enjoy corresponding with you through your fine staff. How you keep them from jumping to the brass ring of the private sector is beyond me. I've secretly wondered if you have incriminating evidence about their private lives. (Oops, I guess you know that too) As usual I will have the usual Santa buffet laid out for your arrival. Please remind your helpers that the empties go in the recycle bin, not the garbage can. Every litter bit hurts.

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