So we took Cindy's four-year-old granddaughter, Jasmine, to the Galleria in Mount Lebanon for pictures with Santa. We'd been there a few weeks ago and had been impressed not only by the quality of Mr. Claus' appearance and demeanor, but by the charm and enthusiasm of the young ladies taking the photographs.
It took a half hour to make it to the head of the line, and, as expected, Jasmine was a bit shy in the presence of the big guy. Santa spoke softly and warmly, and just as she was starting to warm up to him, we heard a young man pronounce "I got this one!" and stride across Santa's platform.
Now this was not your typical run of the mill elf. This was a loud, six-foot tall fella who sort of resembled a young Howie Mandel, sporting a bizarre mohawk-yarmulke haircut, a pony tail, and a goatee.
And, he was color-blind. "Want to sit on this prety blue present?" he asked. "It's purple," Cindy corrected. "Purple," Santa chimed in. "We're teaching her colors," Cindy explained. Somewhat tersely.
Jasmine sat on the box, and just as she started overcoming her fear and shyness, Numbnuts, the Elf from Hell, starts blowing a stupid toy horn and crooning loudly, "Jasmine! Come on! Smile!"
It was all downhill from there.
"Maybe next year will be better," Cindy said as she led the tearful Jasmine away, as Numbnuts cackled in the background.
Oh, it will.
Next year, that elf is going down.
Ho ho ho.