WARNING: Spoiler Alert!!!!
by Sherone Rogers
Last week the television show “What Would You Do?” focused partly on Santa: Is Santa black or white? Is Santa allowed to get drunk in public? The scenarios presented (along with my own life) made me think.
The first situation presented two child actors (one white, one ethnic) in a diner in Hazlet, NJ. When the ethnic girl spots a black Santa at another table, she gets excited and points him out. The other girl is quick to tell her that he is not Santa because “Santa is white.” The first child’s spirits are not dampened because she believes, but the second girl is not convinced. Time and again, other diners tell the girls things like, “Santa can be anywhere at any time, so he can be any color,” and “Santa is there for people all over the world, so he speaks every language and is every color.” One says, “Christmas is about believing.” No matter what they say, the adults on the hidden-camera show are careful not to say “Santa does not exist.” People generally feel that is a cruel thing to do to a child.
In another segment of the show, Santa is knocking back shots at the bar of a restaurant when a woman and a little girl come in to pick up food. Once again, the other adults in the room become very protective, some telling the little girl that Santa is “very tired” and Santa himself telling her that he is drinking “Elf Juice.” Each time host John Quinones comes out and reveals the fact that these situations are ruses, the unsuspecting adults are visually relieved. One woman actually teared up.
In my mind, I juxtaposed this episode of “What Would You Do?” with scenes from real life: I know someone whose pastor recently told parents during his sermon that, in an effort to keep Christ in Christmas, they should stop telling their kids there was a Santa. “There is no Santa Claus!” he exclaimed. As you can probably imagine, children throughout the church were aghast. (So were some of their parents, I imagine).
On another note, due to unforeseen circumstances, a friend is unable to get her daughter Christmas gifts this year. My girlfriend said to me, “Label one of our presents from us. Say the others are from Santa; I don’t want her to think Santa forgot her.” While this was undoubtedly very thoughtful, I couldn’t help but think, “Isn’t the main thing that she has presents?” Does she really care if they’re from ‘Santa’?”
I suppose I’m the wrong person to ask; I’ve been called a Grinch for most of my life and have never believed in Santa Claus. I was a very logical (and, perhaps, overly-precocious) child and assumed I wasn’t alone. At three, I unwittingly spoiled my five-year-old aunt’s Christmas.
“Of course, there’s no Santa; it makes no sense,” I’d told her matter-of-factly.
“Yes, there is,” she’d said.
Needless to say, I went on to systematically burst her Santa bubble and had no idea I’d done anything wrong until she started to cry. She still hasn’t let me forget it.
I hadn’t meant any harm—it just didn’t make any sense to me.
Apparently, I’m not the only one who has burst the Santa bubble: an article was posted on Facebook suggesting that it is unhealthy to have our children believe in a lie, simply to have their hopes dashed later. I don’t know. Perhaps, like the Grinch, I am coming to see that a little belief is okay.
By Marvin Mann
There is a brochure available at the MU Bureau on bicycles. The law (I believe) says to ride with the traffic; however, this author totally disagrees. When I was a boy scout about 70 years ago they taught us to go facing the traffic. The reader can select either path he or she chooses. However, the reasons I feel that facing the traffic is better, especially at night. The main reason is that the lights can be clearly seen far ahead to show a person to be ready and a step off the road. They suggested safety techniques.
Safety Equipment and Accessories:
What is your best time of year to go for a nice walk in the woods? I find that fall is a really nice time, as the leaves are changing. It is never really too hot or too cold, and it is not often rainy. Winter is also nice too as the air is nice and clean, and although it may be cold, its better than being too hot since walking keeps you from getting too cold. When the snow is on the ground, things look really nice!
Even those who are challenged with mental illness can use a vacation now and then. Many have to struggle every waking moment in an effort to minimize mental pain and anguish. Dealing with stress is a full-time job for someone whose illness remains symptomatic.
I was able to leave many of my stressors behind during my trip to Aruba. Fortunately, I was able to compartmentalize them, realizing that they would still be there waiting for me when I got back from my vacation. For my time in Aruba, I decided to take a vacation from my Illness. Nothing was required of me there except to eat.
The climate in Aruba makes for an ideal vacation spot for rest and relaxation. The average temperature there during the day is 85° F (32° C). There is very little humidity, and there is a constant ocean breeze resulting from the trade-winds. It doesn’t rain during the day that often. Most of the precipitation occurs during the early morning, leaving most of the day to enjoy the sun and water. My family stayed at a resort named La Cabana in which we have a time-share for two weeks. La Cabana is located in Oranjestad, the nation’s capital. Downtown Oranjestad is a mixture of old and new architecture. It becomes very busy when the cruise ships are in port. Jewelry is big business there.
Aruba is not known for its adventurous recreation, but there are some locales where watersports are available. Also, there are some interesting overland tours that take you through the national nature preserve, Arikok National Park. We attempted to follow the main road through the rocky terrain using our rented Hyundai Accent. Navigating around the rocks and ditches was an adventure in itself. The park is best explored with a four-wheel drive vehicle. There are plenty of Jeeps available. You need one to drive to the caverns and negotiate the wondrous rock formations. Aruba is a rather arid island. Much of Arikok is covered by cactus and Aloe. In fact, farming and exporting Aloe had been the nation’s biggest industry until tourism took over. Aloe is not indigenous to Aruba, but was introduced in 1840.
One of the most popular tourist attractions in Aruba is food. Aruba is known for its fine restaurants and exquisite cuisines. They easily rival those that can be found in New York City. Much of what is served is locally-caught seafood. However, just about every type of food is represented in Aruba. Whether you want filet mignon or barbecued ribs, you will find what you want within a few blocks. This is especially true in the high-rise hotel district in the north. The best Chinese food I ever had was located in Palm Beach opposite the hotels. There are casinos in Aruba, but I don’t see them crowded with people.
The majority of tourists in Aruba follow a rather simple daily itinerary: Sun, swim, and eat. Also, one has the opportunity to watch others sun, swim, and eat. Relaxation is inevitable. My two favorite places in the Caribbean are Jamaica and Aruba. Although the atmospheres of these two islands are very much different, the net results are the same. Escape.
As I foresaw, my real world was waiting for me when I returned from Aruba. It was back to the struggle to survive and function independently while being challenged by mental illness. The brain is my mind’s worst enemy. Hopefully, this will soon change as new treatments become available. I seem to be stuck with having a never-ending supply of hope and optimism. This is a blessing.
Blog posts are written by Shore House members and staff.