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Secret Santa

Secret Santa
By Jeff Folschinskysecretsanta

Well, the man scared the hell out of me, if you want to know the god’s honest truth? He always had this look about him, which made you think something bad would have happened to you if you looked him straight in the eye. It was a little disconcerting to say the least.

Why I know of at least three supervisors that had nervous breakdowns during his yearly evaluation.

He probably would have been fired a long time ago. If it weren’t for the fact that he was so damn good at his job.

For instance, he was out sick one week with mono and our sales numbers dropped more than half. Now, how a grown man develops mono is beyond me, but I learned a long time ago that there are certain questions in life that are best left unanswered.

Hence the old saying about curiosity killing the cat, and if you ask me, that man looked like he had a history with a cat or two in his lifetime. So I just stayed out of his way if I could help it.

So you can imagine my dismay when I drew his name for secret Santa. You know, secret Santa, where you draw a name out of the hat and secretly give that person little gifts during the Christmas season.

Now, I don’t like to portray myself as a scrooge but even before this, I was never a really big fan of the whole secret santa thing.

Number one, I really suck at keeping secrets. When my mother was shopping for christmas gifts for my siblings, she would never take me along. Knowing that I would eventually break down and let the cat out of the bag.

Number two, there always seemed to be this unnecessary pressure around the whole thing. You’re not supposed to spend too much money but you’re not suppose spend too little. I guess they don’t want you going broke doing this, but they also don’t want your gift to be too tacky or insulting.

And it’s the second thing that really had me concerned. I didn’t want to insult this man. Especially considering that at the end of the whole thing, we were suppose to reveal ourself to the person we were secret santa to.

I mean, I found this person intimidating enough without thinking he would be holding some grudge against me because he didn’t like one of his gifts.

Let me ask you, how is someone suppose to shop for someone like that, with that kind of pressure looming over them? It is impossible I tell you, it can’t be done.

I found myself at the shopping center, just walking up and down each and every aisle. In my mind, assigning the unholy punishment associated with each and every gift that fell within the acceptable secret santa price range.

Like I said before, I don’t want to portray myself as a scrooge but lets face it, some christmas traditions just really suck.

I guess I could have dropped out of the whole thing but I didn’t want people thinking I was being difficult because I didn’t like the name I had picked. Which in fact was actually the case, but still I didn’t want people to know it.

In the office it’s okay to be petty but you didn’t want to be too transparent about it. One does have a reputation to look after you know.

Besides, I didn’t know what was worse? Him not liking my secret Santa gift or him finding out that I opted out of the whole thing because I drew his name.

It seemed like I was in the land of the damned, where do or don’t didn’t really matter anymore.

Finally in my frustration I just picked out a funny little hummel figurine type statue that I saw at the store. It involved Santa getting his pants pulled down by a dog while he was trying to make his way to the chimney to escape.

The whole thing seemed to be a perfect metaphor for the situation I found myself in. Plus it just made me laugh for some reason and my Uncle Joseph always told me, any problem you can find humor in, isn’t really that big of a problem to begin with.

So I just consigned myself to the fact that he would be either very annoyed or very tickled with me. The second being the more preferred of the two.

Never in a million years did I think him breaking down into tears would be the final outcome though, but that’s what happened.

Full on tears in the break room where all the inner-office mail was kept.

He found the gift, wrapped and in his mail box, where I left it. When he opened it, he just stared at it for what seemed like an eternity and then he just broke down into tears.

It was kind of disturbing to be honest with you. I almost preferred it if he flew off the deep end and got mad at me, as strange as that might sound.

I mean a grown man of ferocious reputation was reduced to tears by little old me. It’s laughable; that is if you’re into laughing at other peoples misfortunes, which I am not, because that would be wrong. As a matter of fact, I was feeling an overwhelming sense of guilt about the whole thing.

This is what David must have felt like when he took down that giant with nothing but a sling shot.

Surprise, guilt and relief all tied up in a demented little package.

It’s like receiving a fruit cake. You really didn’t want it to begin with and you’re not sure what to do with it now that you’ve got it.

After a few minutes of watching this, the pressure must have gotten to me, because I found myself yelling out, “Okay, it was me that did this to you. I’m your secret Santa, do with me what you will!”

Like I said before, I suck at keeping secrets and for the life of me; I’m not really sure why I worded my confession that way. Looking back at it now, I realize that what I said could have, and was taken in several different ways. The most popular theory being that I was offering myself up to this man, for a private Christmas get together of a more adult nature.

This became plainly evident when another employee in the break area reminded us both that all secret Santa gifts were supposed to be kept under ten dollars.

I think the word “hussy” might have followed that statement, but I was in too much shock to be sure.

I left the break room as quickly as my feet would carry me. Looking for the nearest window to jump out of.

I only got a couple of feet away when someone grabbed me and pulled me back. When I turned around I found myself face-to-face with the very source of my torment since this ordeal began. The man that everyone in the office feared, and you know what he did?

He pulled me in close to him and gave me a big hug and thanked me, and just walked off smiling.

It was later that I found out his wife had been in and out of the hospital for the last couple of years. Something about a bad kidneys and I guess the pressure was taking it’s toll on him.

The little figurine reminded him of his mother who use to collect them when he was growing up. I guess when you’re looking for hope any where you can. A little funny looking porcelain statute is just the thing to remind you of better times, and give you that sense of hope you were so badly looking for.

Well, needless to say, that was the only secret Santa gift that I gave him that year. I figured one was enough. I couldn’t even imagine what another one would have done to our sanity, and you know what? We both seem fine with that decision.

Now, I would love to tell you his disposition in the workplace got better after that day, but that would be a lie.

Employee evaluations came and went that next month and afterwards so did another one of his supervisors, who I could have sworn was crying when he left the conference room they were in. On the plus side though, we had record sales for this year, so all things being even, management just decided to leave well enough alone.

Personally, I still try to stay out of his way. Not because he scares me, but there were rumors about he and I involved in some wild Christmas affair that were starting to go around, so I figured a little distance between the two of us seemed like the most appropriate course of action.

He still has that little statue I got him by-the-way. Yeah, he keeps it right on his desk next to the computer all year long. Which other people feel is kind of strange, but I think it’s kind of sweet. Knowing what I do about his situation, it makes me feel kind of good every time I see him smile a little.

Now, I’m still not a big fan of the whole secret Santa thing, but I don’t make a big fuss over it anymore. I just keep in mind that while it might not seem like much. Sometimes the little gifts you’re giving someone can be just the Christmas miracle that some people are looking for.

And you know what? That makes me feel, all christmassee inside. Which when you think about it, is probably the point of all this.

THE END

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