dobie_ryback-curtis-axelBY Dobie Maxwell

If I had to sum up the entirety of my life’s bombastic journey in a single word, that word would be disappointment. If I had to do it in two words, they would be major disappointment. If it were three, there’d be a swear word in the middle so we don’t need to go there. But you get my drift.

Life on this pathetic planet is sadly stacked against the overwhelming majority of us from even before our first day on it, and our first order of business directly upon arrival is a spanking. Only a scant few ever buck overwhelming odds to win entry into “the club,” where all the fun happens.

Tom Brady is a shining example. Could that guy have won a bigger cosmic jackpot? I doubt it. Everything came up aces in his genetic poker hand, while the rest of us poor slobs are left trying to make do with what’s left. It just isn’t fair, but has it ever been? I think the system if flawed.

A big part of the problem is that we’re all lied to from our earliest memories, and that throws it all so far off course, few of us ever recover. Those in charge who are supposed to be our rocks of reliability and sources of strength are the exact ones who heap our heads full of hooey. It stinks.

Mixed messages are everywhere, and it tweaks our trust. First they tell us not to lie or cheat or steal. Fine. On paper this is all positive, and the foundation of what should be sound morals for a lifetime should be started. But then they hit us with a sledge hammer from the blind side, and the game is forever tilted out of our favor. Cream of Disappointment is the perpetual soup du jour.

The sadistic sledge hammer of which I speak is the whole Santa Claus crock. What a crooked Christmas conspiracy if there ever was one – and they’re ALL in on it, those diabolical bastards. Mommies and daddies, grandmas and grandpas, neighbors and relatives, teachers at school and everyone on TV band together, and force feed fiction into the moldable minds of kids. How evil.

I’m not going to lie, even though they did to me. I’m still feeling the sordid sting of it all these years later. I suppose if you’re going to tell a lie you might as well make it a good one, but this is off the charts and completely uncalled for. We would have been happy with a lot lower standard.

But that wasn’t good enough. Not by a long shot, they had to go WAY off the charts and spin a yarn so crazy the only way we would believe it is if everyone else was in on it. I’m still steaming that I let myself fall for it, but the deal was so sweet I wanted it to be true. It’s the same strategy Bernie Madoff used to get to many idiots to sign up for his scheme. People fall for these things.

Now let me get this straight Mommy and Daddy, seeing as I’m just a wee tot and the soft spot in my skull hasn’t even hardened over yet. I’m new here and just learning the ropes. So what you are laying claim to is that if I agree to eat all those icky vegetables you pile on my plate, and go to bed early every night without crying, and blindly do all the other stupid stuff you keep harping on about there will be some special event coming up down the road to make it all worth my while?

Well, I have to say you’ve piqued my interest. DO tell of this upcoming event and let me know how I can possibly be a part of it. My toy supply does happen to be currently running a tad low now that you mention it, and I could always use an upgrade there. I’m up for joining this club!

Oh wow, this is not what I expected at all. Let me get this straight, what’s going to happen is a COMPLETE STRANGER, a big fat old man wearing a RED VELVET SUIT no less, is going to show up here at the house one night out of the blue. Is that correct? But I thought you told me not to ever talk to strangers. What? This particular one is ok? Well, if you say so. Where will he be?

On the ROOF? What will he be doing there? Looking for the what? What’s a CHIMNEY? I’m really having trouble understanding all this. Why wouldn’t he just come through the door like the rest of us? What? His FLYING SLED won’t fit? Well…okay…but couldn’t he land in the yard?

What’s a REINDEER? Oh, really? I never heard of those before. That big, huh? Yikes! I guess that makes sense then. Wait, EIGHT of them? Wouldn’t they fall through the roof with all of that extra weight? And wouldn’t they poop all over the yard? You know what the dog always does.

So this fat old guy in the red suit is going to bring me toys? I’m in…but how will he know who I am? I have to write him a letter? But I can’t even read yet. You’ll write it for me? Great!

Where does this guy live? THE NORTH POLE? Where’s that? Oh. Can’t we just send him an email?

And then the trap is set. The tall tale has been told, and all parties swear to secrecy. Just as they said, I woke up on the morning after when they said he would show up, and although I didn’t get the chance to see him with my own eyes, there were those toys I asked for right there underneath the tree, and even some underwear I didn’t ask for. It only took one year to make me a believer.

Then it happened all over again the next year! And the next! Boy, this was looking really good and all I had to do to keep getting loaded down with presents was keep eating that nasty broccoli and clean up my room every once in a while. This was a solid deal on my end, and I was hooked.

But after a while a few suspicious glitches popped up. One year I found a receipt from Kmart in one of my presents. When I confronted an adult about it I was told, “Santa was running a little bit late, and the elves were extra busy this year. He had to make a quick run to Kmart just this once.”

Of course I swallowed it like the rest of the story because by this time I was counting on this as a yearly thing. I barely noticed that the handwriting on the gift tags was suspiciously close to the handwriting I had seen around the house the rest of the year, but it must have been a coincidence.

Then, one year at school I heard some older kids talking about how they thought Santa was just their parents, and how the whole thing was a setup. I couldn’t believe anyone would talk like that, and I sure didn’t believe it could be true. But one year the inevitable happened, and I found out.

I was beyond shocked, and the only sound louder than sleigh bells ringing was the breaking of my naïve heart. It hurt then and it hurts now. The whole thing was a scam, and I fell hard for it.

I have to admit, I was quite difficult to live with after that. What was my motivation to listen to anything from any authority figure at this point? I don’t think I ate another vegetable for at least three years, and my room looked like the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. My life was in turmoil.

By then I was approaching double figures in age, and needed something new to believe in. My tender scarred heart was finally beginning to heal over from my painful revelation about Fatty in the red suit, and one day I turned on the television and happened upon something new to capture my attention – something called “professional wrestling.” I was totally smitten from first view.

FINALLY something came along that had a moral compass and wasn’t going to lie to me like the whole North Pole Caper. This was laid out right in front of me, the fight for good against the forces of evil. Surely this was the integrity I had been seeking for all this time. I felt sure of that.

I don’t think I have to go any further.

Not long thereafter my level of severe disappointment reached a new low. I didn’t know who or what to believe anymore, and my life has continued on a downward spiral since.

And then, one sunny morning I received a personal letter addressed to me in the mail with this headline: “You may have already won $10,000,000!” There is hope yet!

Dobie Maxwell is a stand up comedian from Milwaukee. To read more of his musings, visit

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