Biff America: Poor spelling and innocence (column) |

Biff America: Poor spelling and innocence (column)

Jeffrey Bergeron
Biff America

Jack Goodwin wants a 'snow glob' for Christmas.

I can only assume that, after reading Jack's handwritten letter to Santa, what he was asking for was a snow globe.

It is obvious that, though Jack is blessed with his parents' intelligence, good looks and athleticism, he was also cursed by inheriting his spelling skills from his creepy Great Uncle Biff.

Jack, being a tough, smart, yet sensitive kid, prefaced his Christmas list to Santa with both an acknowledgment of the monumental task that awaits the fat man as well as his declaration of gratitude for him and his elves.

Now certainly Jack is a true believer, but any street savvy kid from the south of Boston can’t be sold a bill of goods without at least a touch of certification. To quote Ron Reagan: “Trust but verify.”

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"I know that you and your elf's have a lot of work to do this year so I'll try not to ask for a lot. Thanks for all the hard work you and your elf's put into Christmas."

Now certainly Jack is a true believer, but any street savvy kid from the south of Boston can't be sold a bill of goods without at least a touch of certification. To quote Ron Reagan: "Trust but verify."

Jack continues, "I have a lot of questions about Christmas like, how do your elf's make the toys and how many tipe of elfs are there?"

(I'm not sure what Jack was getting at here with wondering what types of elves are employed by Mr. Claus. I can only assume he would prefer the job of building his snow globe go to American Elves — labor union members — as opposed to foreign, underpaid Elves who often produce shoddy toys.)

Jack then goes on to ask about the challenges of getting around the entire world in one night. But he ends with a personal declaration of faith, "Though some people don't believe in you I always will."

I have to admire Jack's blind belief. Yes, he had some questions but he takes it on faith that Santa is real and will read his letter.

The same Christmas that for the adults can be taxing and stressful is made magical by a child's faith. Of course the holiday is the celebration of the birth of Jesus. But only 33 years later there was the Apostle Thomas who doubted the resurrection until the messiah appeared to him in the flesh and told Thomas to touch his crucifixion-caused wounds. In a nutshell, Jesus said, (I'm paraphrasing) "Hey, it's great that you have seen me and now you believe, but even bigger props go to all those guys who believed without seeing." Thomas, then, of course, was saddled with the nickname 'Doubting Thomas' for the rest of his life.

Well, Jack Goodwin is no doubting Thomas… sort of.

In this world of indulgent parents and entitled children, in contrast Jack's wish-list was amazingly modest and sparse: "The same watch as my friend Nico — A stuffed animal that you think I would like — A century training bag." (Which is a bag to practice punches and kicks… as I said earlier, Jack's a tough little kid) and last but not least, "A snow glob with you and your rain deer that has Jack Goodwin engraved on the side."

Though Jack is no doubting Thomas, in this cynical world he does ask for a touch of verification. "Pleas give me the snow glob exactly as I asked as prof you are real."

Jack ends his letter to Santa with, "I am willing to give up every thing I asked for to have the snow glob if I have to."

I'll admit, I can be somewhat of a Grinch over the holidays. It took much persuading and 3 ounces of Wild Turkey, to get me to put up our fake Christmas tree this year. My wife, Ellie, poured the bourbon, put on a CD of holiday music and promised she would empty the dishwasher in 2018 to get me in the mood. I think much of my reluctance — other than the fact that I'm a bit of a stinker — is due to being childless. Children force you to do some things that you might not ordinarily do (but should) as well as offer a glimpse of the world through innocent and excited eyes. I suppose the same could be said of dogs, and you don't have to put them through college.

Had I seen Jack's letter to Santa before the bourbon, it might have been unnecessary.

It is easy to be cynical about a holiday season. Spiritualism has morphed into capitalism by the merchants of commerce. But if even the doubters (like me) amongst us are reminded to keep the faith. Faith — in a child in the manger. Faith — that the one day allotment of oil could light the menorah for eight. Faith — that Santa has mail delivery. Faith — in the basic goodness of man. Well if that can happen — perhaps if only for a few weeks a year — then the world can be as magical as a freshly shaken snow glob…

Jeffrey Bergeron, under the alias of Biff America, can be read in several newspapers and magazines. He can be reached at Biff's new book "Mind, Body, Soul." is available at local shops and bookstores or