I make it a rule to consider every job that's offered to me. Being in the upper echelon of live entertainers, I rarely sneeze while considering work. Some of you may deem this as bordering on desperation. Those of you with that thought in mind should let me quell your desire for judgemental superiority by stating that I don't accept every job offered to me as many people I deal with are freaks in need of serious counselling and/or shock treatment, though I'm unsure which course of action best fits which ailment. I'm not strapped for cash either as I was when I was at primary school; when I had to rely on my parents for food being inside my lunch box whenever it was opened and a roll of toilet paper being in my duffel coat pocket for when the school's loos were ill equipped to handle emergencies of the number two calibre.
That said, I look back at the last two days of my life in moderate confusion, wondering how self-immolation didn't figure in the equation. Why? Because I performed back-to-back gigs as Santa Claus at two kindergartens in a neighbouring city. Perhaps, deep down, I'm a community man. Or fond of torture.
So there I was, entering my first kindy in many a year with finesse usually reserved for my VHS and DVD performances. My cravat was at half mast and my fleece lined trousers were keeping the important parts warm when the first combination of miniaturised fists greeted them from well below my line of sight. The kamikaze welcome was enough to send this consummate professional tumbling to the deck, moaning for mercy in octaves rare for a man of my public stature. I knew war had been declared by a mystic prophet of at least thirty years my junior and that northerly winds and the call of nature would help me find the child responsible.
I picked myself up, dusted microscopic skin particles from my suit and set forth in search of the teachers' room for a hot cup of java and sympathy, which weren't forthcoming. Sipping on the complimentary hot green tea I concluded that being the only man in the house beyond the age of five had certain drawbacks. I accepted my fate; unless my radar was in perfect working order, before day's end I would be rendered impotent by a three-foot entity with a vocabulary that could match any teenage parrot.
I discovered that the best mode of survival was invisibility which was achieved by hiding behind potted plants and various items of furniture: see no evil, hear no evil, as it were.
When it was time, staff showed me to the changing quarters where undersized red and white trousers and matching v-neck top awaited. The false white beard, moustache and $2 Santa hat were ideally suited in signalling completion of the metamorphosis. I fumbled two pillows down the front of the trousers, tightened the belt, adjusted the family jewels, checked my breath and ventured behind enemy lines.
Everything was going smoothly for about three minutes: ho-ho-hoing took place, waves, hand-shakes and well wishes for Christmas were extended and songs were sung at world-class standard that Eurovision would have been proud of. Then a youngster from jurisdictions beyond my periphery tugged the false beard completely loose as omniscient moans of "Andy Kaufman" filled the hall after the fact.
Pandemonium broke loose as kids began throwing chairs and tantrums; their confidence in adults had been breached beyond repair and I was the primary target for revenge. Spit, sweat, boogers, pee; essentially anything that wasn't nailed down, was hurled my way. Not even hiding behind a female teacher half my size could prevent the proverbial shit from hitting the fan. As the woman I never knew lost consciousness, I ducked underneath the curtain and ran for the emergency exit, disrobing to my underwear and six-day growth as I wheezed and implored my legs to coordinate at a greater rate of speed.
I'm not ashamed to admit that I was outfoxed and outclassed by three to five-year-old children that day. I'm even less ashamed to admit that my bodyguard, Bret Michaels [pictured right], accompanied me to the second day's festivities, which went off without consultation of my gastroenterologist.
Needless to say, Christmas can lick parts of me usually seen by equipment bearing half flush and full flush qualities.