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December 20, 2012 10:10 am

All joking (aside): Going down in history

Written by Dante Geoffrey

By Rudolph Reindeer

Seasons greetings, everyone. For those wondering, yes, I am the Rudolph Reindeer. You probably know me as the red-nosed child star who saved Christmas by lighting Santa Claus’ sleigh one particularly nasty Christmas Eve many years ago.

But things have changed since then. And they changed rapidly.

When the Montgomery Ward company heard wind of my tale and wrote a book about me in 1939, I had already been off of Santa’s sled for three years.

Then, in 1949, a song about me was written by Johnny Marks and soon became a favorite among American children during Christmastime.

And though the tune spread cheer throughout the land, I couldn’t bear it – the attention and praise – it wasn’t fair, it wasn’t healthy, and it was based on painful lies.

By 1952 I had become a recluse. I saw no one save for J.D. Salinger during our occasional brooding sessions.

After years of therapy and reflection, I am finally at peace with my life. But my story needs to be told. I’m not the Rudolph (actually, I go by Rudy now) you think you know.

Let me tell you what the song “Rudolph, the Red-Nosed Reindeer” means to me.

It starts as any good song or three-act play should. – with character development.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer

had a very shiny nose.

And if you ever saw him,

you would even say it glows.

I’m actually fine with how this song begins. It’s simple, innocent and accurate. At face value, at least…

All of the other reindeer

used to laugh and call him names.

You see, I was an outcast. My skin condition made me an easy target for the other reindeer. It was pretty tough, but hey, that’s middle school. Oh, you didn’t know we were in school? It’s a little-known fact that Santa adopts reindeer at birth so he can train us like little reindeer Todd Marinoviches.

The ironic thing is, he didn’t even want me. But Comet and I shared the same reindeer agent, and Santa had to take both if he wanted either.

They never let poor Rudolph

join in any reindeer games.

Well, of course they wouldn’t. You think they’d let someone they called “hemorrhoid face” play with them?

But here’s what the song doesn’t tell you. After crying myself to sleep a few nights in a row, I didn’t really want to be included. The song says they wouldn’t let me play, but it’s not like I was asking.

Instead I spent my time alone, developing an engaging personality and a variety of interests. Interests that hardly anybody would ever ask about.

You think Vixen can recite Shakespeare? You think Cupid has any idea of what happened in Kosovo?! Sure, Dancer could put on quite a show at the Winter Ball, but he was a one-trick reindeer. My many talents can shine year-round! (Ugh. Shine. Pun not intended.)

And to clear up some rumors, no, soccer was not one of the reindeer games. I get why you’d think that. A bunch of hoofed Europeans, what else are we going to do, right? The other guys tried soccer for about two weeks years ago, but the elves quickly got tired of making new soccer balls every time one popped on an antler.

To be honest, we spent most our time inside. We were at the North Pole braving freezing temperatures 365 days a year, so mostly it’s just games of Monopoly or Risk. Anything to pass the time.

Anyways, back to the song.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve

Santa came to say:

“Rudolph with your nose so bright,

won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

Hey Santa, thanks for the heads up! You couldn’t have asked me about tonight earlier in the week? Didn’t think to check the forecast, huh? Great. Now all of these jerks who have been making my life miserable are going to (a) resent me for jumping to the front and (b) stare at my butt all night.

No, no, no. I understand. You only had AN ENTIRE YEAR to prepare for your ONE DAY of work.

My head was a mess that night. Not a day passed at the North Pole when I wasn’t ridiculed and alienated, and now the entire burden that is Christmas depends on me?

Then all the reindeer loved him

as they shouted out with glee,

Like a fairy tale, everything turned out great. Everyone loves me and now you all still know and sing my name! Living the good life now.

Except nobody likes me for me. Just this stupid nose. The same nose that got me labeled a freak and made me a loner before Santa saw that he could use my mutation to his advantage.

I wouldn’t cut off my nose to spite my face, but I might do it to see who my real friends are.

Oh, and if Santa was really such a holly jolly guy, why did he wait until Christmas Eve to give me the opportunity to be loved? Where was he during July when that maniac Dasher was giving me swirlies in the reindormatories? Did he care then? Did anyone?

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,

you’ll go down in history!

Yea, you know who else went down in history? The Native Americans. What an honor it is to be remembered for a select fraction of the truth. Maybe, if I’m lucky, the next hot shot rookie quarterback will get drafted by the Portland Red Noses.

You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen,

Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.

Don’t let this song fool you any more than it already has. You don’t know them. You don’t know the pain they inflicted. You certainly don’t know that I was Prancer’s confidante when he told me his feelings towards Donner, and then the next day called me the very slur he feared.

In my old age, I like to think they might regret their actions, though it’d be nice to actually hear it from one of them. I’d forgive them if given the chance.

But do you recall?

The most famous reindeer of all?

Yes. I recall. Though at times I’d rather not.

Be good to each other, and let a light 1,000 times brighter than my ever-dimming nose guide you to a merry Christmas and happy new year.

(This column was written by Rudolph Reindeer with help from the Tribune’s own Dante Geoffrey.)

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