Mike Deville, PhD

         Santa Claus? Sure, the name sounds innocent, but really, what do we know about this man? He hangs out in malls and waves to little children to join him. Parents actually encourage their children to sit in his lap while he holds the children and whispers to them. Not so innocent-sounding now, eh? Think about it the next time you walk through the mall this season and spot an old man saying “ho ho ho” to anyone passing by.

There’s more. “He sees you when you’re sleeping. He knows when you’re awake. He knows if you’ve been bad or good….” Starting to sound a little scary, right? So what do we really know about this man who seems so interested in children? Do the police have a file on him? Is Homeland Security watching him and tracking that ‘sled’ he travels in?

And how about that RED suit? Hey, I was only a history major for one semester (one semester as a history major is all you need if you do it right), but here in America, RED used to be a bad word. For years, being ‘red’ meant you were un-American, almost a Commie. But even through those years, good old Santa retreated, never apologized, and just kept wearing that red suit. So exactly WHO is this bearded old guy who ‘likes’ little children maybe a little too much???

Well Camp Alfred, this is your lucky day because Dr. Deville has done his homework on the man we innocently call ‘Santa Claus’ and some of the stuff I learned is gonna rock your childhood images of S. Claus.

I hear you saying “Deville, how you know dis stuff?” OK, so correct English isn’t your strong point….but I’ll still answer your question. Last summer I took an on-line class to get my private detective license. It was a hoot. The ‘final exam’ was multiple guess, and they even gave you the answer if you got one wrong!

Anyway, I’m now an official ‘private detective’ in NYS, and I’m licensed to carry a concealed intellect, not a bad idea here at Camp Alfred, if you know what I mean. And my ‘private dick’ course only cost me $39.95, even cheaper than my $59.95 PhD a few years ago. Internet scams! You gotta love ‘em!

So long story short, I have a license to stick my nose in anyone’s business and ask questions. And here are a few things I uncovered about Mr. Claus. For example, in Germany, they call him Weihnachtsmann, which means ‘man who lives in a trailer down by the river.’ In China, he is affectionately named Dun Che Lao Wal-Mart, which loosely translated means ‘man who wants everything our factories make and gives us all his money in return.’

In Chile, children call him Viejo PascueroBabbo Natale. I know, it sounds so cute. I can almost hear, “Daddy, can Babbo Natale sleep over with us tonight? PLEASE?” Hey, remember the four years of Spanish you took in high school? OK, I didn’t think so. Well if you did, you’d have second thoughts about having Babbo Natale sleep over with the kids. I’m just saying….

I could say more about ‘Santa Claus’ but I don’t have to spell it out for you. You’re in college. You know two and two equals four (unless you remember Nazi Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring’s statement “If the Führer wants it, two and two makes five!”) Achtung Baby! I told you one semester of majoring in history is enough if you do it right!

Look, I don’t want to snow on your keg party, but let’s all agree that the old, bearded man in the red suit is a little more complicated than the phrase “ho ho ho” would suggest. Enough said.

Hey, the Christmas season is just getting started. Sure, SUNY insists on calling it the ‘Holiday Season,’ but we all know they mean Christmas. So even if your religion sort of forgot to include Santa Claus and Christmas in its calendar, don’t worry. Dr. Deville also became a certified ‘life coach’ this summer (thanks to the internet and another $39.95 on the credit card). Dr. Deville is telling you to ‘give yourself permission’ to have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year this year. And try to share some good spirits with at least one other person this Christmas season, even if that person happens to be a lonely, old, bearded guy shouting “HO HO HO” in a crowded mall.


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