Wednesday, January 05, 2011

A Christmas Story

Tomorrow is Three Kings Day - the day when Mexican kids traditionally get their Christmas presents because in Mexico no one is capable of showing up on time for anything, not even the Baby Jesus's birthday party.

Just as American kids write to Santa Claus, Mexican kids make out a list of what they want the Three Kings to bring them, the idea being that, when left to their own devices, at least two out of the three tend to pick really shit gifts (gold is always cool). Mexican parents, in a brilliant counter-move, started a tradition whereby the letters are sent not through the mail, but via a little helium balloon, thus ensuring that the kids' wish lists are short and lightweight. (The inevitable environmental damage strikes us as no worse than chopping down a Douglas-fir and covering it with tinsel and lights.) All this week the plazas where we hold our evening editorial meetings have been full of vendors selling "Dear Three Kings..." balloons, and squealing kids launching them into the troposphere.

And because we believe nothing cleanses the soul like a young child's tears (and because we're usually drinking gin during the meetings), every time a kid releases a balloon we start shouting, "Oh, no! The wind! It's carrying it the wrong way! The Three Kings live this way! It will never get to them in time! Oh no!" Their reactions are absolutely priceless. All happy children are more or less the same - but crying children all scream and sob in their own beautiful, unique way.

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