All I Want

by Alfred Valrie Jr. | 11/13/00 6:00am

The following letter is one of many that the United States Postal Service annually marks as undeliverable, because it is ambiguously addressed to a "Santa" at the "North Pole." I now possess the letter, because the Postal Service makes those letters that cannot be returned to the sender available to the public. (The return address information indicates the sender to be a "G.W." who lives in a "Big Ol' House" in a "Big Ol' State.") I reproduce the letter here because I believe it to be eerily evocative of the sentiments of one of the two presidential candidates in this uncertain time. While G.W.'s diction shows him to be somewhat less than an erudite person, I have made no spelling or grammatical changes so as to preserve "the integrity and the consistency and the equality and finality" of G.W.'s letter.

BEGIN LETTER --

Dear Santa,

Please disregard my last two letters asking for Laura to unlock my Sony PlayStation 2 or die and for Colin Powell to be my running mate. I now have a more urgent and grandose, I mean big time, wish. I would like to be president for Christmas.

As you know, Santa, the presidency of the United States rests on a miriad -- a miryied -- a lot of possibilities. I could win Florida outright based on the results of the mechanical recount, including those overseas ballots that Jeb tells me "have been taken care of." Or, Vice President Gore could win based on the results of a hand recount, which may re-validate critical ballots discounted by the machines. Or, Vice President Gore could win if Palm Beach Country votes again. Or, I could win if all of Vice President Gore's constituents in Palm Beach County suddenly and inexplicably die of "natural causes" or of one of the perennial Floridian "natural disasters." (I would prefer a hurricane, Santa, if you could.) Or, Gore and I could have a duel in the spirit of Aaron Burr and Alexander Hamilton. But not in Texas. The winner would probably go to the eclectic -- electric chair.

I can't believe it's come down to Florida. Jeb told me he would deliver Florida to me. And Dad told me that defeating Gore would be easier than beating two Dukakises with a Perot standing on my back. I don't understand why the election is so close. Don't people like me because I'm a nice guy? And I have been governor of a really big state for nearly two whole terms. I have been a divider, I mean a mediator, I mean a guy who brings Democrats and Republicans together. For football games and turkey dinners. And my father was president. In the olden days, I would have inherited the presidency. I can imagine the newspaper headlines now: "President passes the presidency to his younger son, G.W." And everyone would be fine.

But now, everyone is tense. Apparently, Palm Beach electors voted for Buchanan. They look like Buchanan followers to me. Buchanan's old. They're old. Perfect match, right, Santa?

I'm afraid, Santa. What if I lose? Everyone in Texas will think I'm a loser. And Mom said she won't talk to me if I lose. And Dad said he won't pay for another champagne -- campaign. And Laura has said that she can smile only so many more times before spontaneously bursting into flames.

I don't want to be president anyway. The Governor's mansion is way bigger than the White House. And I finally know my way around it. And Betty in the kitchen makes the best mac and cheese of anyone I know.

Why can't I be president of Texas? We could be our own country. The United States of Texas. And Laura could be queen. Queen of Texas. And Mom could be Queen Mother. Yes! Queen Mother of Texas.

I haven't asked for much, Santa, other than admission to Yale and Miss July 1965's hand in marriage (you didn't come through for me there). And the Camaro (wow, what a great car) when I was 15. And for everyone to forget about my cocaine experience (thanks a lot for that one!) Santa, again, I ask you for this one thing. Make me president for Christmas.

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