Throughout December, I read with great interest a variety of different views on the Santa myth. I found all the reasons given for the various choices regarding Santa--pass the traditional myth down, debunk it, let the kid kind of decide--fascinating and thought provoking.
Now that Christmas is safely over, though, I think it's only fair that I tell you all that I am in possession of conclusive evidence: Santa exists and...he's a vampire.
On Christmas Eve, while waiting for their kids to go to sleep so they could perform Santa duties, Baby Brother and Sister-In-Law came over to our house to play Balderdash. Balderdash, for those unfamiliar with the game, is essentially hilarity in a box. This is especially true if you're not terribly concerned with who wins and instead focus on making your fellow players laugh so hard they're in danger of rupturing something.
In the game, you're given a clue--the name of a person, a movie, initials that stand for something, or an obscure word and you're supposed to write down a convincing enough guess that other players will vote for your option. Everyone's guesses are turned in to the "Dasher," who reads them all out loud, including the actual answer. The dubious honor of being the Dasher travels around the table round-by-round. The only way to get points as the Dasher is if no one votes for the actual answer, which almost never happens.*
We were in the middle of writing down our guesses for the category Laughable Laws, completing the phrase, "In Sterling, Colorado, a cat may not..." I was rolling my eyes heavenward in search of inspiration when I caught a glimpse of some kind of movement at the edge of my vision. I turned toward the movement and there was nothing there, but just as I was about to look down at my paper again, I caught another movement. This time, I rotated my head a little further and saw a fuzzy brown bat flying directly for my face.
I screamed more from being startled than from any innate fear of bats in general--though, judging from his facial expression, which I was close enough to read clearly, this one was not in a particularly good mood. (Have you ever noticed that bat faces kind of look like angry little baby faces?)
Mass hysteria ensued. Three dogs barking. Seven adults ducking and screaming. Daughter-Only and her boyfriend diving under the dining room table. Hubby calmly trying to shoo the bat out the sliding glass door while telling the rest of us to calm down in an annoyingly calm voice. Me, with visions of splattered bat guts dancing in my head, yelling for someone to please turn off the ceiling fans and then running into Hubby's office and closing the door behind me because I was laughing so uncontrollably and at such a pitch that I thought it might throw off the bat's powers of echolocation, which were apparently already somewhat compromised.
The bat eventually was knocked to the floor in the living room--Hubby is unsure whether our guest hit the ceiling fan or one of the dogs managed to knock him out of the air. The bat was stunned, but otherwise unhurt and Hubby scooped him into a Nike box and opened the box on the back deck. So, you know, Santa could fly off to finish his rounds.
Because, obviously, that wasn't just any fuzzy brown bat in my dining room around midnight on Christmas Eve--it was Count Saint Dracuclaus, right?
*Further proof that our bat visitor was, in fact, imbued with mystical powers: when we all recovered enough to return to the table and begin voting, Baby Brother read all the answers out loud and no one voted for the real one because the real one was "In Sterling, Colorado, a cat may not run loose with a tail light." Not only does it make little to no sense, it also sounded suspiciously like someone had gotten interrupted mid-thought by, oh I don't know, a semi-menacing-looking flying mammal. Those three points Baby Brother got for that round didn't have a shiny bow on top, but they sure as hell were a gift.
A PS--This is my second Balderdash-related blog post. You can read the other one here. Pointless aside: for months after that I first posted that one, it had daily double-digit page views from Finland. I'm still not quite sure what to make of that.
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