Interview with Ms. Regina Svetlana

Originally published on December 22, 2007

My dear readers, I am truly humbled by the response my first interview has made among certain circles. Within a day of its publication, I received no less than four phone calls from parties interested in my services. Even with the approach of Christmas and the New Year, these people were willing to set aside a few moments of their precious time to speak with me. It is too great an honor for this lowly reporter. And, indeed, it is too much work, since I shall soon be leaving town for Christmas and afterward play my part as groomsman at a good friend’s wedding. I had time for one short interview only, which I chose due to its critical importance to the season.

Nick: Good evening, Ms. Svetlana. Let me thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule.

Ms. Svetlana: Not a problem, not a problem. I’m always open to spreading the word on this crucial subject. It is a pressing, modern problem and it must be dealt with immediately.

Nick: Good. First, tell us what this problem is.

Ms. Svetlana: Well, it’s obvious, isn’t it? Santa Claus is the problem.

Nick: You mean that many people teach their children about Santa and you believe we shouldn’t?

Ms. Svetlana: What? Look, every kid grows up knowing Santa and to think otherwise is plain idiocy. He’s a powerful cultural figure, as real to us today as Zeus and Athena were to the ancient Greeks. That’s why I fear him. He has the power to sway millions of children each year, and he uses it to destroy them.

Nick: …and how is this?

Ms. Svetlana: Cookies, Mr. Hayden. He conquers his subjects with cookies.

Nick: …um…and how is this?

Ms. Svetlana: Look, it’s quite obvious. This superman, Santa Claus, demands an offering of cookies from every boy and girl on the planet. Now, I don’t know what he does with them all, he may throw most of them away for all I know. But we know for a fact that he eats a good many of them. Other sources attest quite regularly to his stomach which resembles a “bowl full of jelly.” A more disgusting image I cannot find in all the literature of this man. What is worst, this grotesque man, fat and bloated from his yearly bacchanalian binge, is looked upon as jolly and even venerable. What does this teach our children, let me ask you that? I’ll tell you what it teaches them! It teaches them that to be happy and holy, one must eat cookies! A few years ago we made a small victory with that blue cooking-eating maniac on Sesame Street, but that was only a skirmish. Santa Claus—now he’s the real foe!

Nick: Ms. Svetlana, if you could please sit…

Ms. Svetlana: Sit? Sit! As if I could stay seated while millions of children are brainwashed by this trickster demigod! Have you no feeling?

Nick: (stammering) I do agree that obesity is a real problem in some cases—

Ms. Svetlana: Exactly, exactly! Which is why this year we’re pushing our newest products. Ready—this is genius—“Saint Nick’s Celery Sticks”!

Nick: Saint Nick’s Celery Sticks?

Ms. Svetlana: Yes, yes! Say it with me again. Together—Saint Nick’s…

Nick: …Celery Sticks.

Ms. Svetlana: Our five-year goal is to totally replace Santa’s cookies with these festively packaged celery sticks. Since celery has a negative caloric intake, Santa will actually lose weight every year, so with say, ten years, he will be a slim, trim elderly man, with an increase in energy and a decrease in heart disease. This change will affect children at an emotional level, and they too will take to eating celery instead of cookies. Brilliant, isn’t it?

Nick: Well, yes…it’s all sounds good…and I see you have an honorable goal and all…

Ms. Svetlana: What is it?

Nick: I can’t help but wonder if holidays shouldn’t be celebrated with cookies.

Ms. Svetlana: Of course you’d say that. How old are you anyway, eighteen?

Nick: Twenty-seven.

Ms. Svetlana: In any case, you’ve got the metabolism of a Tasmanian Devil, haven’t you? You don’t have to worry about cookies going straight to your hips, do you?

Nick: Er…

Ms. Svetlana: What is it with you people, huh? Can’t you see we’re just bags of consumption? Can’t you see that we’re giant waste converters? Food’s a necessary evil, like oil and natural gas! We consume and consume and tear Nature apart and drive the Earth to wrath! Oh, do you know why I hate Santa? The sheer extravagance of the man! Eight reindeer when he could use two, ten presents when he could give one. And the plate of cookies! And he actually enjoys them! This interview is over, Mr. Hayden. Have a Merry Christmas!

(Ms. Svetlana stomps out.)

Nick: (sighing) I’ll have to tell Natasha I didn’t have time to give the Chex Mix we made her.

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