Featured Column
Week of 12.12.2005
Santa, please listen
          First of all, Santa, let me wish you a very Merry Christmas and if I don’t see you before – here’s wishing you a Happy New Year. I hope that you get some nice gifts from Mrs. Santa and the Elves. I know you spend the better part of your year telling the Elves what to build. Then you load up your sleek flying sleigh and in one special night you deliver gifts to every kid on the planet, at least to those that were good. You’re amazing, Santa, and I want you to know that I, for one, appreciate all your hard work.
           Santa, you know that I admire you for your kindness, thoughtfulness and devotion to your job, but if you don’t mind, I’d like to help you with your decision making, in my case anyhow. Lord knows I appreciate those gifts you leave me when you sneak into the house on Christmas eve, but, honestly, Santa, some of the things you drop off, are, um, uh, er, well, not things I would use. To be truthful with you, Santa, every year I take many of the gifts you leave me and “re-gift” them the following year. You know, like the 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with a picture of a wolf. That was “re-gifted” to my nutty neighbor last year. Remember the Snackmaster food dehydrator and jerky maker you left me two years ago. Well, last year that was re- wrapped and “re-gifted” to my second cousin who lives in Glendora and thinks that he’s Milton Berle’s long lost brother. 
           Get out your big, red pencil, Santa and make notes about what I’m talking about. Please don’t bring me one of those plastic boxes containing a chrome whiskey flask, a funnel and 3 golf balls. And skip the skimpy fleece blanket with the Oakland Raider logo on it. That thing wouldn’t keep a large gopher warm.
           Don’t deliver a Justin William’s Cajun hot sauce kit with 4 different kinds of objectionable hot liquids. Same with the Hickory Farms summer beef sausage, loaded with some kind of long term preservatives. Needless to say, please give any fruit cakes with my name on it to some worthwhile charity. I don’t need an “Auto-Vacuum.” You know the kind you plug into the car cigarette lighter. Those things couldn’t suck up two loose cotton molecules.
          Add to your no-no list any bubbly heated foot bath massager. Also no chartreuse Christmas tree salt and pepper shakers. Same with salt and pepper shakers shaped like ballerina pigs. Please, no candles of any kind. I have a closet filled with enough candle power to light the Statue of Liberty’s torch for two years. 
          Also, hold up on any gift with Thomas Kinkade’s name on it. Same with the Holiday Ham gift box kit containing a miniature ham, crackers and a small jar of mustard. Please donate that to the same charity you give the fruit cake to.
          Hold delivery on any product with the name “Nascar” on it. I don’t need and wouldn’t wear men’s “Passion Cologne” by Elizabeth Taylor. Don’t need any “Stetson Cologne” with Mathew McGoneghy’s picture on it. Save yourself the trouble of delivering a holiday starter aquarium kit (fish not included).
          Keep the horseshoe game kit. Same with any and all label makers. Save yourself the delivery of a Michael Jordan men’s kit with moisture balm, hair and body shampoo and cologne spray. If you leave it it will surely become a “re-gift” to my gardener who has yet learned to tell time or bathe regularly.
          I have no use for the fancy Spa Massage Kit, which has an eye mask, personal massager, memory foam slippers (?) and a CD containing 6 different nature sounds. Deliver this and it will immediately be “re-gifted” to my uncle Charlie, who shaves only the grey hairs from his beard.
           Cancel delivery of any pen and pencil sets of any kind. I don’t want any wrist watch that sells for less than $49.95. Hold any delivery of all bedroom slippers. Don’t drop off the holiday wrapped Oatmeal gift box with 2 bowls and 2 spoons enclosed.
          Immediately destined for the “re-gift” closet are any cookie jars shaped like a spotted dog or a tutu piggy. I have no need for a shiatsu massaging pillow or a gingerbread house kit or Field and Stream chili seasoning mixes. And, please don’t even think about giving me one of those 38- ounce tins of popcorn with a tiny tool set in the lid. This one would immediately be “re-gifted” to my former co-worker, Brian, who wore his pants so tight that everyone in the office knew he was circumcised.
           Now, don’t get me wrong Santa. I like the spirit of the season as much as the next guy. I appreciate anybody who will fight for a parking space at the local Wal-Mart store and battle the crazy crowds for the right to purchase an authentic Thailand knock off water pic with speeds from low pressure to “rip your lips off.”
          One more request, Santa. Please, please, no calendars with pictures of whales, sea otters, Elvis or Lindsay Lohan.
          Thanks for listening, Santa. I hope you have a merry Christmas.
The "don't get me" list
      Ron was born in the Bronx, New York. He was raised in Southern California and lived in Honolulu, Hawaii for three decades. He attended Inglewood High School and U.C.L.A.. His youthful goal was to become a major league baseball player. In Hawaii Ron played on a series of championship softball teams. He is an active tennis player.
      Ron’s career began at the Inglewood Daily News where as a youngster was enrolled in a publisher training program. He served as an advertising salesman, circulation manager, writer and layout and design staffer. He has been a newspaper publisher at the Oregon City Oregon Enterprise Courier, the Beloit Wisconsin Daily News, the Elizabeth, New Jersey Daily Journal and This Week Magazines (Hawaii).
      Ron lives with his wife, Marilyn, in San Diego, California. His two children, Douglas and Diane also live in the San Diego area. Ron’s interests range far and wide and are reflected in his columns diverse topics.
Ron Cruger