Have you ever seen that holiday classic A Christmas Story? Of course you have. Did you know that it is based on a book entitled In God We Trust: All Others Pay Cash by Jean Shepherd (who is also the narrator of the film)? As I have watched that movie year after year, I have long said to myself, “I’ll bet that book is really funny. I should get it.” And yet, year after year, that resolution would go unfulfilled.
Until now. Got it in the mail yesterday. Over the next few days I’ll plan to share a few choice passages with you. Here is one for today. The scene is when Ralph is at the shopping mall, and he has just been taken up to see Santa.
“AND WHAT’S YOUR NAME, LITTLE BOY?”
His booming baritone crashed out over the chipmunks [Christmas music playing in the background]. He reached down and neatly hooked my sheepskin collar, swooping me upward, and there I sat on the biggest knee in creation, looking down and out over the endless expanse of Toyland and down to the tiny figures that wound off into the distance.
“Uhh . . . uhhh . . . uhhh . . .”
“THAT’S A FINE NAME, LITTLE BOY! HO-HO-HO!”
Santa’s warm, moist breath poured down over me as though from some cosmic steam radiator. Santa smoked Camels, like my Uncle Charles.
Merry Christmas to all!