Third Age: She knows when you’ve been bad or good

November 2012

  • Shirley Stott Despoja

 

Hullo, Santa here.

Hi and that. Pumped and stoked for the Christmas season, are we? Well, let me tell you that Santa doesn’t like those words. Unless you drop them from your answers, especially when interviewed on TV, Santa will ensure that your great-aunt gives you one of those presents that can never, for fear of lightning visits, be stashed away. Something that will really upset your Ikea décor of black-and-white with a single red poinsettia painting. A bronze bust of Shakespeare, perhaps.

I am bringing Tony Abbott a lovely selection of purple ribbons for making women aware this year that they are feminists after all. This was a good thing. However, it has ensured that Tony’s post-politics career as a diplomat, because of umbrage taken overseas to his m----t remarks, will have to be in Pakistan. The Prime Minister must also have a great gift from me in her stocking, something real to match the real-me that broke out on an October day in the House of Representatives. The Press Gallery will get nothing of value from me, to match their hopeless coverage of the incidents that have forced me to shell out gifts to unlikely people this year. They don’t believe in me, anyway. What do they believe in, I wonder, if they can’t give a bit of praise where it’s due? Poo to them, says my spouse, Mr Santa, the layabout with a bad back.

I have agonised over the States this Christmas. I know that in this festive and vaguely religious season they are struggling with their failure to share. Water again. An encouragement award rather than a punitive one suggests itself, but what? My grandchildren need sharing models in their childhood (yes, Santa has grandchildren, perpetually young. How else do I know that trash trucks are good presents and that Barbie’s divorce-wear might be the latest thing?).

What is that lovely lady’s name? Isobel Redmond. I have something special for her. The boys are never going to let you be premier, dear, so keep up the innocent truth-telling that the public rather likes and I will get some Chanel to you. How you put up with them deserves a big hug, anyway. Santa loves a tryer.

In her big jubilee year, the Queen is a girl who has everything. Alas, she has an heir about her, and it’s not the one the subjects want. Now Santa thinks she has probs thinking up good presents and bribes, but what about Elizabeth trying to think what the something special is that she could whisper in Charles’ ear to make him give up the throne to William? No chance. So Santa has for the Queen a nice Target frock for relaxing days at Sandringham. I think Charles would like Kylie under his tree, but again, no chance. I haven’t forgiven him yet.

There is something quite attractive about James Packer, since he lost some weight. Let’s give him Australia for Christmas before Gina gets it. It’s hard thinking up pressies for rich people, but Mr Clive Palmer is easy. A boiled fruit cake.

I am bringing a tie to the man outside my library who, seeing me (well disguised) on the steps, tells me to “smile, because it costs nothing”. He should wear my gift while he can because someone with depression or even a seriously bad mood is going to kill him soon.

I suppose I have to hand out a year’s supply of sorries, as is the custom now. Perhaps I will say sorry to the social workers who got caught up in the forced removal of babies. Some of these highly educated, nice people – mostly women and now Third Agers – never did a thing wrong, yet their careers in retrospect have been smeared.  If we are going to say sorry, we should be more specific about who exactly is to blame.

To city and local councils everywhere, I am bringing a tree. Just a tree. It’s a tiny hint that planting trees is the single most beautifying thing for any city. Look overseas. Avenues, even common streets of green this and that. I know the general taste here is for cutting them down, but be brave, be different, plant trees.  And no, gifts cannot be exchanged. Put that ridiculous statue down.

Santa doesn’t get presents. For me it is all give, give, give. But if anyone feels like offering a badly dressed, chubby woman with a white beard a thank you, I would like a picnic. A long walk, then sandwiches, cake and fruit on a red-checked tablecloth pinned with stones from the creek. Talk: happy, desultory, no phones. Then home before dark. Memories, eh?

Now I’m off. A long, tiring trip ahead. Mr S says I have only myself to blame for resisting sleigh-drones. His heart never was in the job, was it?

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