"Anitra vs Santa" by Anitra L. Freeman

Let me explain why I slapped two Santas last year.

Most people naively regard Santa Claus as kid stuff, useful for commercials, cute pictures with the children, or being kidnapped by Tim Burton's charmingly demented hobgoblins. What they forget is that Santa Claus is an ARCHETYPE.

Archetypes are images and personifications of age-old, universal ideas -- like Birth, Death, and Very Good Beer. Archetypes dwell in the basement of the Universal Unconscious (which is another archetype, embodying the idea "way down deep we're actually really intelligent, or at least very wise.") Because they live in the basement, archetypes control the plumbing and the power switches.

In 1822, Clement Moore summoned the archetype of Santa Claus in "'Twas the Night Before Christmas," to cheer up a sick child. In the 1860's, Thomas Nast further fleshed out the roly-poly gift-bringer to give a boost to business in Dutch New York. Now we have Big Red everywhere, terrorizing pedestrians on streetcorners, small children in shopping malls, even innocent Martians on their home planet.

See how dangerous it is to summon an archetype?

We even have Santaanarchism: a movement arising over the last few years in cities all over America, where young people dress up in Santa suits and run around the streets playing "have fun with the pedestrians" and "have fun with the bar crowd" and "have fun with the Very Good Beer." Some people complain that they mock the holiday. Santaanarchists themselves say that they are engaged in a holy crusade against people taking themselves too seriously.

Last Christmas, Copyright Dr. Wes met some Santaanarchists on the street, and when they asked him if he had been naughty or nice, he gave them a Copyright Dr. Wes answer: "Naughty, of course." In the spirit of topsy-turvy, they then gave him presents and candy.

Our friend Reneene came into the office a little later and saw the fun gifts, so she skipped out into the street to find some Santas for herself. When they asked her if she'd been naughty or nice, she happily chirped, "Naughty, of course!"

Two of the Santas spanked her. Hard. Reneene has PTSD. She came back to the office in tears.

My usual archetype has been described as "kindly bespectacled teacher of StreetWrites." But I threw down my pen and charged out onto the streets, roaring up and down until I found a group of Santas. I charged up shouting, "Which one of you thinks it's funny to spank a woman?" and when one of them laughed and said, "I do, do you want a spanking?" I slapped him. A second Santa stepped up and I am embarrassed to say that I can't remember what he said, because I slapped him too and now I'm not sure whether he deserved it.

Two of the Santas came back to talk to Reneene and explain that none of their group had spanked anyone, or would. One of the men suffered from PTSD too, and understood how traumatic such a thing would be. There is no central control of the Santaanarchists, however. He could only spread the word from Reneene as best he could, that spanking strangers was neither intelligent nor wise, and hope it sank into the universal unconscious. Reneene finally got her gifts and candy.

Watch out how you summon archetypes. Santa Claus. Anarchism.

Or Woman.