Thursday, January 3, 2008

naughty and nice

The following, dated 26 December 2007, was received on 31 December 2007.

Dear Santa,

You must be surprised that I'm writing to you today, the 26th of December. Well, I would very much like to clear up certain things that have occurred since the beginning of the month, when, filled with illusion, I wrote you my letter. I asked for a bicycle, an electric trainset, a pair of roller blades, and a football uniform.

I destroyed my brain studying the whole year. Not only was I the first in my class, but I had the best grades in the whole school. I'm not going to lie to you, there was no one in my entire neighborhood that behaved better than me, with my parents, my brothers, my friends, and with my neighbors. I would go on errands, and even help the elderly cross the street. There was virtually nothing within reach that I would not do for humanity.

What balls you have leaving me a fucking yoyo, a lame whistle and a pair of ugly socks. What the fuck were you thinking, you fat prick, that you've taken me for a sucker the whole fucking year to come out with some shit like this under the tree. As if you hadn't fucked me enough, you gave that little quiff across the street so many toys that he can't even walk into his house. Don't let me see you trying to fit your big fat ass down my chimney next year. I'll fuck you up. I'll throw rocks at those stupid reindeer and scare them away so you'll have to walk back to the fucking North Pole, just like what I have to do now since you didn't get me that fucking bike. FUCK YOU SANTA. Next year you'll find out how bad I can be, you FAT COCKSUCKER.

Little Johnny


The following reply was mailed on 3 January 2008:

~~~~~~~~~~~

Dear Little Johnny,

I was indeed surprised to receive your letter. I am afraid, dear boy, that you have been rather hideously misinformed.

Studying in school prepares your mind for the future. It shovels the mental pathways so you will be prepared for whatever career you choose, whichever dream you want to follow. It provides the mental discipline to learn new information and helps you to know what your own strengths and weaknesses are and where your talents lie. Education is not about topping other students, it's not about being the best in your school, it's about reaching your own highest potential.

Now, on the nature of "being good". "Being good" is not something you do to earn a few Christmas presents. It is not a point-based system where an A in school is worth 5 points, helping a little old lady across the street 3 points, and not hitting your brother when you are angry 1 point, where the first kid to 100 gets a new bike. It just flat out doesn't work that way.

"Being good", son, is something you do because it makes your life better. You treat your brothers kindly because they in turn treat you kindly. Keeping the peace in your house makes life better for everyone, including your parents. When the other people in your house are happy, your life is enhanced by that.

You help little old ladies, my boy, because it is the right thing to do. Because someday you will be a little old man who would very much appreciate a kind, thoughtful lad to give you a shoulder to lean on as you cross the street.

As for the presents under your tree, maybe you should take a long hard look at your life. Your parents bought you those presents, all that they could afford. With growing boys in the house, it's not easy to make ends meet. But you would know that, if you weren't so busy "being good", but instead genuinely cared about those around you.

Why not take this opportunity to make an effort to get yourself the things you want, instead of waiting for them to be given to you? If you apply yourself to finding ways to earn your own money instead of trying to force my hand at Christmas time you will be much happier.

One final point, Little Johnny, genuine goodness is revealed when a person encounters hardships. I find it rather telling that one setback, however large you may perceive it to be, has shown what you are truly like as a person. How disappointing. You might, Little Johnny, want to spend some time deciding what type of person you want to be: the kind of person who manipulates others into giving him things, or the kind of person who goes out and earns what he wants and finds joy in the doing.

All my best to you and your family this upcoming year.

~Santa Claus

PS- I will take the personal threats under advisement. Fair warning to you, little friend, Santa packs a taser and as the moral compass of naughty and nice, I'm authorized to use it.

7 comments:

Protium said...

Classic... That is excellent.

How's your cold progressing?

Rest Sis XX

Thump Thump Eyes said...

That should be sent or read to every child who still believes in santa!! Nice one Fires:)

Fiery said...

awwww well shucks you guys, thanks!!!!

The cold is kicking my butt and I feel fairly lousy. Hopefully I'll get some good sleep tonight.

OzAtheist said...

That was piss funny.

I think we can all learn a lesson from that tale.

Fiery said...

Hey OzAtheist! Thank ya kindly! :)Glad to see you poke your head up again! :D

Richard said...

I somehow missed this post :-(

Santa’s response was great, but two sentences raised my philosophical 'antennae'.

"You treat your brothers kindly because they in turn treat you kindly."

"You help little old ladies, my boy, because it is the right thing to do. Because someday you will be a little old man who would very much appreciate a kind, thoughtful lad to give you a shoulder to lean on as you cross the street."

That approach to 'doing right', repeatedly fails --I have lots of personal experience on it! The approach is reflected in such claims as "Karma", the bahble's "Good Samaritan" story, the fable of the "Mouse and the Lion" and the movie "Pay it Forward" (which I have not seen, so can only comment on popular use of the phrase).

All implicitly presume that kindness will be repaid, somehow. The "Mouse and the Lion" promotes the notion that others will act with justice. Others often don't. The other three presume a kind of cosmic force (incl. God) that will make such things balance out fairly.

Certainly it is true that the poor character of the beneficiary (who does not respond in kind) will lead to a certain level of overall unhappiness (but they often manage just fine by blanking-out or rationalizing away their injustice).

None of the above are reasons to act kindly to another person. How we ought to act towards another person depends on the relationship one has with them.

A complete stranger should be given the benefit of doubt, so we would do minor things for them that do not cost us too much (in time, money or stress). If saving their life means a simple warning we should do so, because life is a value, and other humans are or can be a value by virtue of their contribution to one's social context. For example, if they hold down a job they produce things which make our life better.

Your parents, unless they are violent &/or verbally abusive, have done you the enormous service of raising you. They did it with the selfish goal of seeing a human being develop into a responsible and enjoyable adult whatever they may think that entails (even if you were an ‘accident’,). To the extent that they have done it well, it is right and proper for you to act with positive justice toward them.

A sibling is similar to the stranger above, but far more is known about him. Most importantly, he is a part of your parents' intentions. He must therefore be treated in that light --which in no way means ignoring or letting him get away with dishonest and destructive acts.

To act with good character requires a selfish honesty about context, and requires that one act with proportional justice. One may make errors in such judgments and be too kind to the undeserving or not kind enough to the deserving, but the selfish goal is productive relationships and personal good character.

With this selfish approach, one helps the old lady cross the street because it is not an onerous task and she is a general human value –to you. It is an error to help the lady in hopes of getting help in one's old age. By that logic one is acting on a faulty sense of investment for an unlikely compensation. One is likely to wind up bitter because the hoped for “compensation” may not occur.

However, I think if one does behave for the reasons I've suggested, and promotes that kind of rational selfishness, then one is more likely to reach old age in a society of people who will help you across the street.

Fiery said...

Richard: while I may not have enumerated the philosophic aspects as bluntly as you did, my statement in no way precludes the rational selfishness you suggest, since my own philosophic background is of that nature. As it was a letter to a child, it was stated in terms he could understand and relate to about his own behavior that he can control. It wasn't meant as a philosophic treatise that he should carry with him through grad school and base his adult morals on.

... one helps the old lady cross the street because ...she is a general human value –to you. It is an error to help the lady in hopes of getting help in one's old age.

I never said that by helping the little old lady as a child that he would be paid back in kind as an old man. I said that as a little old man, you "would very much appreciate a kind, thoughtful lad to give you a shoulder to lean on as you cross the street." Be the kind of person you want to have around you, modeling appropriate behavior for others is rationally selfish and not karmatically driven.

I was actually trying to encourage Johnny in a behavior that is more likely to create a society in which behavior like that is common, which you go on to say yourself.

"if one does behave for the reasons I've suggested, and promotes that kind of rational selfishness, then one is more likely to reach old age in a society of people who will help you across the street.