This has to be some sort of world exclusive: The Weekly landed an interview with Santa Claus. Santa, along with the folks at Tucson Mall, were kind enough to give us a few minutes with him during one of his breaks, so we braved the lunatic traffic and near-death experiences in the parking lot to have a chat with him. As he sat eating a sandwich with a security guard, he answered our questions. (We only asked nice questions, because we here at The Weekly don't want to climb the naughty list any more than we already have.) Here's what Saint Nick, who's been at Tucson Mall since Nov. 14, had to say.
Being from the North Pole, the warm Tucson climate must be quite a shock.
Yeah, it's pretty warm. But they got a good fan for me, so it helps.
Is Mrs. Claus here with you or back home?
She's here. She's been here about a week or so. She doesn't come down at the beginning of the season, but she usually comes down towards the end.
Now, do you commute from here to the Pole everyday, or do you stay in Tucson?
I just stay in Tucson.
Wow. Since you and the missus are both here, who's handling things back home?
Are they reliable?
Oh, yeah. They bring me down here in November and go back. They come back down and pick me up on Christmas Eve, and we'll distribute things.
Where are the reindeer?
At the North Pole. Up there, they're getting hay and all the vitamins so they'll be good and strong on Christmas Eve, to bring toys to the kids.
Do you have a favorite reindeer?
Well, not really. All are pretty good. I hate to show favoritism; they're just like kids. If you show favoritism, then they start jangling amongst themselves.
Did you name the reindeer?
Naw. The elves named them, from magic. Elves have a lot of magic stuff, and they're the ones who named them all.
Do you know where they heck they came up with the name "Blitzen"?
No, I don't. I really don't. I never really have thought about it.
Do you know how many kids you've visited so far?
Any trends you've noticed?
No, not really. I always ask them about school and their favorite subjects, and I'd say 70-80 percent of them say math and science. That strikes me as pretty unusual. They really jump around all over the place. One kid asked me for a big, big robot to clean his room. I thought that was pretty unusual.
Is the percentage of Tucson kids on the nice list higher or lower than the norm?
It's about average. They're not too much different from any of the other kids around the world.
When you're done with Christmas, what will you do?
Well, at the North Pole, we'll take inventory, and then I'll have some chats with the elves and the reindeer and Mrs. Claus. We'll take a break after that.
Any vacation plans?
No. This job is pretty much vacation all of the time.
Now, things are kind of violent and scary in certain parts of the world right now. With all this going on, has that changed the way you have to deliver all of the toys, or are things the same as always?
Yeah, it's the same. Kids don't change much. Kids are kids. They always believe in magic and the spirit of Christmas. They don't pay much attention to Bush and the other garbage going on.
You've been doing this for quite some time. Do you have any future plans involving, say, retirement?
I am going to keep doing this as long as my health keeps up. I enjoy doing it. I do not have any plans as far as retirement goes.
Anything else you'd like to add?
Yeah. You might want to put in there about how honest kids are. I ask really little kids, like 3-year-olds, if they're going to school or preschool. Several times, I've had them tell me, "No, I don't go potty yet, and I don't go to school until I can go potty." Of course, all the kids always tell me they've been good, and I'll ask them if they've had a slip or two of being bad. They'll usually look up at their folks, and say, "Yeah." They're so truthful.