December 1972

L-R: Tommy, me, Santa Claus, Bobby.’

You may have already laughed at the family’s next (and, unsurprisingly, last) mall Santa photo.

Man, what happened to my beautiful blonde hair? Who the hell do I have to fuck to get hair that Beach Boy-esque, that glinty gold again? More urgently, just what is THE DEAL with me and Santa? Rooting around my memories makes me think my SANTACLAUSTROPHOBIA touched on many of my all-time favorite neuroses (guilt, sexuality, parents), making the subject a rich mine for navel-gazing, but given that we’re dealing with the psychological dead-zone of infantile amnesia, anything explanation would have a serious lack of provability. Though to indulge in the armchair therapy just a smidge, it’s telling that very similar reactions towards overbearing or condescending adults (parents included), or “famous people” (meaning people dressed as cartoon characters rather than Elton John or Richard Nixon) are vivid memories from a slightly later time.

On the hand, it may be a simpler matter of the fucked-up-ed-ness of being plopped onto the lap of a strange old man in front of very bright lights (probably the reason why I’m shielding my eyes in the second photo). Meanwhile, both my brothers are totally unflappable about the big dude in red, damn their fearlessness.