Lots of little kids are afraid of monsters or the boogeyman or ghosts. Not me. I was afraid of Santa Claus.
When I was four years old, my dad hired a Santa Claus to visit us. My brother claimed that he knew that the Santa Claus who’d visited us before was just a neighbor-friend from down the street. So, my dad thought he’d play a little trick on my brother. When Santa Claus arrived, my brother raced to the phone to call Mr. C. Apparently, the jaw-dropping look of surprise on my brother’s face when Mr. C answered the phone was priceless. I wouldn’t remember because I was still hiding.
I’d never been so terrified of anything as I was of that fat man in the red suit. He horrified me. Perhaps I’d been too young in the previous years to realize what was happening, or maybe I could truly sense this was a stranger. I don’t know. But for some reason, that Santa Claus struck fear into my very core. It could have been the mess of white hair dangling from his face. Or maybe it was the large belly that looked even fatter in his red suit. Maybe it was the red suit; I never really have been a fan of red. But it must have been something because there is picture after picture of me clinging to my mom. Whoever that white-haired, fat man was, I wanted no part of it.
This probably explains the shudder that traveled through me years later when one of my internet dates turned out to be a rat-faced Santa. Plump of belly and red of cheeks he was, and I wanted to run and hide. Just like the little four-year-old I used to be.