A Christmas Carol for the New Millennium

barry currin, stories of a world gone mad, beaverdamusa.comIt was Christmas Eve, 1978. 

Little Johnny and his sister Cindy slept fitfully. Just down the hall were their parents, Jack and Martha.

Suddenly, a loud thud rattled the family awake. They rushed down the steps to see a figure lurking near the Christmas tree.

“Santa!” Cindy said.

“Ho, ho, ho, everybody. I’m not just any Santa. I’m Santa from 2018, and I’m about to give you a Christmas from the future.”

The bewildered family took a seat on the sofa while Santa spilled gifts from a sack.

“They’re kind of small,” Cindy said.

“Oh, don’t worry about that,” the jolly old elf answered. “Here, open yours first.”

“A Barbie doll!” Cindy exclaimed. “Why is her hair two colors, Santa?”

“That’s called an ombre. If you don’t like it, don’t worry. You can make it pink for New Year’s and green for St. Patrick’s Day.”

Cindy was on the verge of tears. “Doesn’t anybody love her, Santa? Her only shoes are flip-flops, and her bluejeans have holes ripped all in them. And what’s that awful blue thing painted on her leg?”

“Oh, that’s just a tattoo she got during her study-abroad MBA program in Thailand. Wait ’til you see where the other five are!”

“But I want my Barbie to be a teacher.”

“Oh, little one, teachers don’t make any money. This Barbie lives with her labradoodle named Hillary in DC and works for a progressive think tank. Her rent is $2,700 a month, and she’s already over the mileage limit on her Lexus lease with 14 months remaining. That’s why she comes with her own little bottle of merlot.”

“Where’s Ken?”

“Barbie left Ken behind — something about him hating coffee shops.”

Santa turned to Johnny. “Here’s your bike!”

Santa handed Johnny a headset attached to goggles with black lenses. “It’s a virtual reality bike, Johnny. You can pretend to ride anywhere in the world without ever leaving your chair.”

“But I like to go outside.”

“You’ll get over that soon enough. Now, Jack, I didn’t forget you. You’re getting your shaving supplies delivered monthly right to your front door for a year. How about that?”

“But I like going downtown to the local pharmacy.”

“Aren’t you getting a new Walmart, Jack?”

“Yes.”

“You’ll thank me soon enough.”

Santa handed Martha a small box. “I saved the best for last, my dear. It’s your new phone!”

“We already have a phone,” Martha said. “It’s on the wall in the kitchen. It’s avocado — matches the dishwasher.”

“That phone is just for talking,” Santa said. “People rarely talk on these phones. Look, you can play games, make pictures, and show all your friends what you do all day and everything you eat.”

“Why would anybody care what I eat?”

“I’m afraid even Santa doesn’t have all the answers.”

St. Nick watched them all for a couple of minutes, then nodded in approval as Johnny slipped into his virtual universe, and Cindy and Barbie began binge watching “This is Us” on Barbie’s little laptop. 

Oblivious to everything, Martha took a barrage of selfies.

Jack took Santa aside.

“What’s the 21st Century like, Santa? Is the world a better place?”

Santa shook his head. “No, but I can help you enjoy it more.”

“How’s that?”

“In about 3 years, you’re going to hear about a business named Apple. Buy some stock.”

About Barry Currin

Barry tries to be funny and poignant, and he's usually satisfied when he succeeds with one or the other. (Being both is awesome. And sometimes that happens.) Email him: currin01@gmail.com

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