Just Claus

You better not pout

NT: What do you really do with the cookies? Because although it's clear that you're at least a size 46 pant, you can't possibly eat every cookie that's left for you.

Claus: Santa tastes the cookies. They're a way to say "thank you," and it wouldn't be Santa-like to not at least try them. But I have quite a sugar buzz by the end of the night, let me tell you.

NT: You're awfully cheerful. What really pisses Santa off?

Would you sit on this man's lap?
Emily Piraino
Would you sit on this man's lap?

Claus: How about when I can't find the remote? I'm stuck on a station I don't want to watch and I'm trying to get to American Chopper. Boy. Don't get me started. And another thing that puts me out of sorts is that the part of my job where I give to underprivileged kids keeps getting bigger every year. That's sad.

NT: I understand you're the official Arizona Santa. Was there some need to make that distinction -- was there, say, an unofficial Santa running around?

Claus: I have a driver's license with my name, Santa Claus, on it. Sometimes children who come to see me ask me to prove that I'm Santa Claus, and I pull out my license. That worked for a few years, but kids are more suspicious all the time. Now they ask to see the reindeer.

NT: Okay. Dick Cheney: Naughty or nice?

Claus: Oh, ho ho! I'll never tell.

NT: How about Patti Kirkpatrick: Naughty or nice?

Claus: You'll never get that out of me. That's confidential information.

NT: Scott Peterson? (Sound of bells chiming.) Hey, do you hear "O Little Town of Bethlehem"?

Claus: Sorry. That's my cell phone.

NT: Santa has a cell phone?

Claus: (Speaking into phone.) Hello, Gary. It's Santa. Yes. Three girls and 20 boys? What ages? Okay. No problem. Goodbye. (Hangs up phone.) Sorry about that.

NT: That's okay. Hey, aren't you going to ask me what I want for Christmas?

Claus: I know what you want for Christmas. I'm Santa Claus. I know everything. But I'll play along. What do you want for Christmas?

NT: I want a different president.

Claus: Ho ho ho!

NT: I want Jana Bommersbach to come to my house for lunch. I could use some more Fiesta Ware. And would you please pay off my car? The insurance is killing me.

Claus: Jana I can do. The dishes are no problem. You're on your own with the car. Sorry.

NT: That's okay. Does it bum you out that so many people just flat out don't believe in you? That must be hard on your ego.

Claus: It doesn't matter what people think of me. When I'm doing what I love to do, I'm happy. And whether you believe in Santa or not, he's got you on his list.

E-mail robrt.pela@newtimes.com

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