Monday 19 March 2018

My week: Santa Claus* *As imagined by Eilis O'Hanlon


Eilis O'Hanlon

MONDAY Ho, ho, no! The elves are threatening to go on strike again. They always pull this stunt a few days before Christmas. I'm in bed with man flu, so I send Mrs Claus down to the workshop to remind the little buggers that they don't have rights, they're all on JobBridge contracts. That shuts them up. I'm running a global enterprise here, not a charity.

In the afternoon, I read the last of the begging letters from children round the world. Back in the good old days when you could give them a clip round the ear if they got on your nerves, kids were happy with a chocolate orange and an Action Man. Now if you so much as roll your eyes at them, they call up a human rights lawyer wanting compensation for hurting their feelings. Is it any wonder they're all expecting an iPhone?

At the bottom of the pile is a letter with a Dublin postmark. Some kid called Enda's asking for an overall majority at the next election. Who's he kidding? I put him down for some Luke Skywalker Y-fronts and a Bruce Springsteen CD as usual.

TUESDAY More problems with those damned hoverboards. Thanks to a late rush in demand, I had to outsource the job to China, which has an even worse Elf and Safety record than I do. I ask why the boards keep setting on fire.

"We don't even care about our own people," they laugh, "why in the name of Chairman Mao should we care about yours?" Fair point.

In the afternoon, I take a call from the UN climate change panel who want to know how far the polar ice has retreated this year. Like I care. They should see my heating bill; I could do with some global warming.

I'm just about to catch forty winks when the phone rings again. It's some bloke called Bryan Dobson wanting to know if I'll come on Six One News to be interviewed about my defence of IRA man 'Slab' Murphy .

I tell him: "I think you're looking for a different bearded fantasist from the north with delusions of grandeur, mate."

And some people still have the cheek to say I only work one day a year! Mind you, I have just been officially named as the only person in the world with longer holidays than Irish teachers.

WEDNESDAY Storm Eva's on its way, bringing something called "thundersnow". Sounds like one of the Power Rangers. I suggest cancelling this year's flight. "You'll make millions of children cry if you do," says the head elf disapprovingly.

"I know," I reply, "but what are the downsides?"

Sighing, I check out the naughty and nice lists one last time, still unsure where to put Bono. To be fair, he does try to save the world more times than Superman. On the other hand, he is a giant pain in the Trump.

Sod it, he's rich enough to buy his own 'I Love Bono' mugs.

CHRISTMAS EVE The big day dawns. Though when you've been doing this job as I long as I have, it gets boring. Mrs Claus says it reminds her of our marriage. The one good thing about being out of the house tonight is that I won't have to watch Mrs Brown's Boys.

I go to the stable and call the reindeer. "Come Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blitzen!" Then I remember, they all left to work for Ryanair years ago and I had to hire a new lot. I try again: "Come, Panti and Conchita, Sharon and Tracey, Winston and Delbert, Mohammed and Ahmed." It doesn't sound the same, but you can't mess with equality employment law these days. The only one of the old crew left is Rudolph.

There wasn't much demand in the private sector for his huge luminous conk, though he did make some dodgy adult videos back in his younger days.

I recently suggested that Mrs Claus and I should watch them to pep up our love life, but she said we were both hundreds of years old now, plus I was a saint, so it was about time we gave up all that nonsense.

Shortly before take off, she reminds me not to fly too close to Turkey in case they shoot me down, like they did with that Russian jet. I feel a lump in my throat. I didn't realise she cared. "I don't," she snaps, "I just don't want you sparking off World War Three." What does she know about driving anyway? She can't even reverse park the sleigh without scraping the paintwork.

And we're off! There's not much to tell. Once you've shimmied down one chimney, you've shimmied down them all. Somewhere around Iceland, I regret not pulling on extra thermals. Storm Eva's freezing my jingle bells off. Can't I just get Amazon to deliver the presents next year like everyone else does?

At the last house, Rudolph makes a grab for the mince pie. I remind him that the good stuff's for me, the carrot's for him. He suggests I shove the carrot where the Christmas star don't shine. He's been full of himself ever since he got that offer to appear on I'm A Celebrity. Then he knocks back some more eggnog. I swear, if we get pulled over for drink driving, it'll be venison for Christmas dinner, not turkey.

CHRISTMAS DAY I look forward to spending a well-deserved day in bed. No sooner do I shut my eyes than Herself pulls off the duvet and demands I come help her peel the parsnips and sprouts. "I'm not your personal kitchen maid, you know," she says. I knew I should never have let her listen to all those speeches by Ivana Bacik. I bet the Easter Bunny doesn't have this hassle.

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