This piece originally appeared in the University Observer Vol. XXII, Issue II, in October 2015. It appeared in print only.
It was the Christmas of 1999. Westlife, Boyzone, Eiffel 65, and Ricky Martin topped the charts, Stuart Little, The Matrix, and Pokemon: The Movie entertained cinemagoers worldwide, and in a small village in rural Ireland a young boy was preparing for the arrival of Santa. This little boy was a very lucky little boy; he had light-up sketchers, a Game Boy Colour (with Tetris n’all), and all the crayons he could chew. What more could he want?
This was the last Christmas of the 20th century, and while people were preparing for the oncoming doom of Y2K, there was only one thing this ignorant little boy wanted: a Dustin the Turkey plush, complete with a silver suit and whacky catchphrases. “It’s as clear as the nose on Anne Doyle’s face,” the toy would yell. Of course, this little boy didn’t know who Anne Doyle was nor did he care, all he knew was that Dustin was on the tellybox and he was funny. He knew that this was what he would ask Santy for. He knew that this was going to be the best Christmas ever.
It was two weeks to the holiday, and the house was getting busy. Family members were running back and forth, wrapping presents up and putting decorations on the wall. “Will you be okay while we pop out for a bit, Dave? Your grandad will be so upset if he doesn’t get his annual gift of socks and aftershave.” “Sure thing, father,” said the young boy, like a Dickensian orphan. “I promise not to get up to shenanigans in your absence.”
This little boy was a lying snake. While his dear old dad was out, he decided to inspect the wardrobe in his paternal figure’s room, only to discover, to his horror, the very Dustin the Turkey plush he wanted from Santy, staring right back at him. It was in that moment that the young boy realised that Santy hadn’t been giving him presents all this time. That Thomas the Tank Engine bike he got two years previous? A sham! That Batman costume with the welly boots and gloves? A lie. Everything he had held dear up until this point had become unravelled.
And that little boy, dear reader, grew up to be me.