Saturday, 24 December 2011

Bad Santa.

Before I start I just want to say to all of you who kindly wished me luck and offered me support for the job interview that I didn’t get the job in the end.
So thanks for nothing.

On with the show.

As I am writing this on Christmas Eve I thought I’d give you a nice festive tale of my youth.
I left school at the age of sixteen and got a job in an old cinema that had been converted into a shop. It was run by a big Irish guy called Mulligan and his wife and I did a bit of everything there, unloading the delivery lorries, working the tills, stocktaking and security.
Many of the textile mill towns in the north of England have large Indian and Pakistani populations as migrant workers came over in the ‘50s and ‘60s and settled over here.
Jim’s shop was in the Pakistani area of Halifax and around 80% of his customers were Asian. In October time lots of the kids would come in wearing their best sarees and kurtars and waving around money that they had been given as gifts as they were celebrating their version of Christmas. Mulligan capitalised on this and always made sure there was plenty of toys and sweets in at this time of year.

When Christian Christmas came around Mulligan decided to dress up the office as Santa’s grotto by covering the filing cabinets in white sheets and installing one of his mates from the Irish club in there in a Santa outfit with a jar of lollipops.
Mulligan would let the kids in one door, they would tell Santa what they wanted then Santa would give them a lolly and show them through the door that lead out of the office and into the store so they could spend their money on the useless tat he sold there.

This worked fine for one day until Santa spent all the money he earned on Guiness and Bushmills at the Irish club that night and didn’t show up for work the next day.
This is how I found myself sitting in an office covered in white sheets wearing an ill-fitting Santa suit while Bing Crosby’s White Christmas played on an endless loop and a big Irish bloke let Pakistani kids through the door one at a time.

Now I was as skinny as a rail with long dark hair and a black eye I had gotten in a fight a few days before so I hoped the dim lighting in the room would hide the black hair sticking out of the hood. No such luck.

The first little girl that came in said, ‘You’re Van Helsing not Santa. I can see your hair and black eye. You chased me out of the shop last week for stealing sweets’.
I gave an unconvincing and high pitched Ho Ho Ho and told her I was indeed Santa and had been kicked in the eye by a Reindeer.
‘Where’s your big belly then’?
I explained that I had to diet as chimneys were narrower these days.
‘Why are in here on your own then, where are your elves’?
I leaned forward and tugged my beard down so she could see my face.

‘Listen Sameena, we both know who I am but just for today let’s pretend I’m Father Christmas. To be honest I thought you guys had your Christmas two months ago’.
She then informed me that December 25th was a public holiday in Pakistan in memory of Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.
She agreed to play along for the price of two lollipops.

So I spent the rest of the day trying to convince the local kids that I was Santa and not the skinny bloke they saw every day, occasionally chasing out the ones who would sneak out the back door and come around the front, bamboozling poor Mulligan into letting them back in the ‘Grotto’.

I also developed an aversion to Bing Crosby’s voice, he sounded like he was drunk when he sang which with hindsight he probably was.
On that note I’d like to wish all of you a brilliant Christmas and New Year and I look forward to reading all about your exploits in 2012


Pat Hatt said...

Still the eve of Christmas eve here. Maybe you didn't get the job because my well wishes were so far behind, damn time zones..haha...glad I could give nothing though, nothing is such fun. Van Helsing as Santa, hmmm sounds like a strange mixture.

YeamieWaffles said...

I love the concept of this man, excellent writing as well as usual buddy.

LOLA said...

Hate White Christmas. Hate Bing Crosby. Hate Christmas in general. I hope the children didn't pee on you. I seldom get the job, but on the rare occasion I do, I get fired. Ho. Ho. Ho.


Interwebs Fails said...

I hate Christmas. :)

SkippyMom said...

Great story Tony - and wonderful answers to Saleena about being Santa [quicker than I could've ever hoped for. :)]

Hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a fabulous New Year.

Mynx said...

Happy Christmas to you to :)

Britta said...

Dear Tony,
Sorry you didn't get the job - I have an English friend whose job it is to tell people that something else is coming instead - and of course it always will...
I like your stories! I read a book (for young) by Sue Limb, which plays in an equel surrounding - she could have used you as Santa, I'm sure.
As to Martin Shaw (you asked me whether I like 'George Gently' ) I made up my mind: yes - I ordered "Judge John Deed" and "Death in Holy orders" by P.D.James just now.
I wish you a beautiful Christmas and a Happy New Year! Britta

Padded Cell Princess said...

A reindeer kicked you in the eye...pretty good excuse but paying her off in lollipops was much easier! Happy Christmas to you!

Bart said...

bad santa stories are always the best, lmfao

Tony Van Helsing said...

Pat: Nice one mate, I'm going to blame time zones for everything in future.

Waffles: Van Helsing the concept, I like it.

Lola: Happy Christmas to you too.

Interweb: I am indifferent to Christmas.

Mynx: You too as well.

Britta: Never mind Judge John Deed, get The Professionals instead. Martin Shaw's finest role.

Princess: Happy Christmas to you too.

Bart: Not as good as the film.

Skippy: Thanks love, you too.

Amy said...

Many a lady can be bought for the price of a sugar-laden lollipop. Dangerous bargaining tool!

Craziness abounds said...

I would have paid money to see that show! I have to admit I'm giggling at the picture you painted here. As for the Wiggle car. Basically the handle makes the car go forward or backwards depending on which way it is turned. The trick is you have to wiggle the wheel quickly to gain speed. Not however when you are going down hill as I was. I flew and at one point was riding on the edge of the wheels. I thought i was going straight out into traffic but managed to swerve and hit the mailbox instead. Lucky for me I only got a small knot and all is well. Now you know how the Wiggle car works.

DWei said...

Too bad about your job. I haven't been having much luck either with interviews.

My 2 Pesos said...

No Christmas for me. ;)

Al Penwasser said...

Great story. All along I kept hearing the kids use the voice of Apu from the Kwiki-Mart in the Simpsons.
Sank you. Have a nice day. Merry Vishnu.

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

You are sooo awesome! I LOVE this LMAO. This line had me laughing really hard: "‘You’re Van Helsing not Santa. I can see your hair and black eye. You chased me out of the shop last week for stealing sweets’."

Tony Van Helsing said...

Amy: Cheap at half the price.

Craziness: This is not an efficient form of transport.

DWei: Sorry to hear, mate.

Pesos: Not your culture?

Al: Most of them were born over here so have Yorkshire accents.

Elisabeth: Your good looks are only second to your good taste.

Heaven. said...

Sorry you didn't get the job.

Just found your blog, following!

Craziness abounds said...

Tony, Your comment today touched me. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. Tomorrow I won't be so gloomy. Promise.

Dylanthulhu said...

Sorry you didn't get the job, but the new year is coming, and bringing new tidings with it! Chin up, sir!

Nuker Zero said...

Eh, it's gonna toughen you up.

Tony Van Helsing said...

Heaven: Thank you, also following.

Craziness: Anytime.

Dylan: Onwards and upwards mate.

Nuker: I couldn't possibly be any tougher.

Sarah said...

Handing over lollipops could be regarded as a little creepy these days, if you ask me! :)

BragonDorn said...

I wish i could grow a beard like that!

Damon said...

nice post :D

Tony Van Helsing said...

Sarah: Been in room on my own as kids were allowed in wouldn't be allowed these days either.

Bragon: One day, my son.

Damon: Thanks mate.

H A R R Y G O A Z said...

Have a Wonderful New Year, Tony!

Based said...

It sucks you didn't get the job...Maybe in 2012? Happy New Year!

Elisabeth Hirsch said...

LOL! I love your reply to my comment ;) So much awesomeness on one blog. I just wanted to stop by and say "Happy New Year!" May you have a wonderful, successful one filled with joy :0)

Samantha Vérant said...

Okay. So I'm laughing too hard to think of anything remotely interesting to write. Santa will trade you two lollipops for a pint Guinness?

Juliette said...

Never work with kids and animals. I used to dress up as Santa's elf and work in a grotto taking pictures. It traumatised me.
Your post pic - I have this photograph framed!