Santa Claus once almost beat me up over opinion piece

SANTA CLAUS once threatened to punch me.

It was the season of goodwill and maybe I was a bit out of line when I wrote a piece about sweating Santas in shopworn faded red suits, with pillows stuck up their front and beards made out of teased nylon rope, pretending they don't want to paddle the bottoms of the mercenary little dears who sit on their knees demanding presents.

The ink wasn't dry on the paper when a shopworn faded red suit with a well-muscled man inside turned up at my office.

He was angry.

His face … what you could see of it through the false fuzz …was a brighter red than his suit. He said he was Santa Claus at the supermarket and was about to alter the shape of my nose. I was left in no doubt he could do it when he mentioned he'd been a welterweight champion in the Navy.

My nose started twitching. Not from the thought of any pain that might be inflicted on it, more from the good story it smelt. I could see the headline, 'Santa Claus Punches Editor'.

Then my well-developed sense of self-preservation took over. I spent a long time appeasing Santa before he went away, leaving me unpunched but with the strong impression it would be pointless to hang up my stocking.

I shouldn't have been so critical of Santa. He's of the same ilk as those stoics who risk asphyxiation wearing hairy animal suits to entertain kids.

Years ago, a bloke who'd made a name for himself dressed as a bear, was in a team of television identities who played us newspaper journos in a charitable football match at the Brisbane Exhibition Ground. He wore his hairy bear suit and ran about as madly as the rest of us.

It was one of those steamy Brisbane days just short of a heatwave. When the bear fell over, we thought he was acting for the kids. He wasn't. We carted him off with heat exhaustion and it took copious amounts of Brisbane's bottled best to get him going again.

Next day he was back on television in his hairy bear suit, doing his best to breathe.

That's showbiz.

Jim Brigginshaw is a former editor of The Northern Star

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