Jimmy Poblacion lives in Quiapo with his parents. He is a simple, but happy man who does not desire fame or riches. He is the type of man who will help you when you need to move apartments, but not make a passive-aggressive post on Facebook about how people take advantage of friendships. Quite simply put: he is a good man.
And every year, he only looks forward to one thing: Christmas. That magical time wherein nights are a little colder, people are a little cheerier, and security guards at exclusive villages will let you in without giving your license: if you give them a smile, and twenty pesos. He looks forward to this because of the big red man. No, not John Goodman, but jolly old Saint Nic. More commonly known as Santa Claus.
Santa Claus, also known as Saint Nicholas, Father Christmas, Kris Kringle and simply “Santa”, is a figure with legendary, mythical, historical and folkloric origins who, in many western cultures, is said to bring gifts to the homes of the good children on the night before Christmas, December 24. He comes to our side of the world a day later because of time differences, and, as everyone knows, Santa does not like Asians.
Most children by ages 9 to 11. find out that Santa Claus is a fictional figure, just like Bugs Bunny, Captain Barbell and Miriam Defensor Santiago. Jimmy, unfortunately, was not privy to this truth. He lived a very sheltered life growing up. His parents never even let him watch the Bioman episode where the first Yellow Four died. He still thinks they switched actresses because of “budget considerations”. He was also told that all Japanese people looked alike anyway. It was a tough, conservative, and racist home.
Jimmy’s friends found out about his predicament and decided to stage an intervention. They cared deeply about Jimmy and did not want him to continue living this lie. They were also sick and tired of Jimmy asking them, “I wonder what Papa Santa will get for me this year? I hope it’s a car! A red car! Vroom vroom vroooooooooooom!”. They claim that it was mostly because of that last reason.
Jimmy’s closest friend, Richard, arranged the event. It was a private, intimate venue with soft lighting and simple decor. It was comfortable and safe, and had a welcoming feel of acceptance. It exuded the coming-of-age nature of what was about to happen. It was the Iron Man room at Victoria Court.
Jimmy arrived at 7:15 PM with his parents. They had come from a long day of doing all of Jimmy’s favorite things: ate at Jollibee, then rode a roller-coaster, then ice cream at the park, then rode a roller-coaster, then watched a Disney film, then rode a roller-coaster, and finally, Jimmy vomited in front of a local Spanish restaurant: a gesture meant as a silent protest against their 333-year colonization of the Philippines. All these things were necessary to possibly soften the blow of what Jimmy was about to learn.
He was welcomed by friends and family. All gave him hugs, some gave him gifts, one guy punched him. I think he was the owner of the Spanish restaurant. I think he was from Taiwan or Nepal. That was a little weird. In any case, after everyone was done high-fiving the owner, the intervention got underway.
Everyone stood in a circle and Richard asked Jimmy to sit in the middle. “Jimmy, buddy, we got something very important to tell you,” said his best friend of 15 years with a calm tone.
“What is it bestie?” Jimmy responded to his best friend, looking concerned.
“It’s about Santa Claus.” Richard replied, looking serious.
“What about Papa Santa? Why are you talking like this? What is going on?” said Jimmy, now looking more worried.
“He is not real.” Richard said quickly. ‘Like a band-aid,’ he thought, ‘remove it quickly. No need for theatrics.’
“Huh? Haha Haha Haha! Oh, c’mon bestie!” Jimmy commented, clearly not taking his friend seriously. “If he is not real, then who has been giving me presents every year?”
“Your parents. Every year. You tell everyone what you want, and they tell your parents, and then they buy it. It’s really not that difficult to figure out, actually. All you ever want is a red car. You already have, like, a thousand of them. A couple years ago, they bought 4 different ones, so that they would be ready for the next four Christmases.” Richard explained, looking a little relieved to finally have told his friend everything.
Jimmy looked puzzled, confused, and then he looked constipated. He ran into the bathroom and emerged 13 minutes later. Jimmy now looked like he was thinking, and then suddenly, as if a light bulb switched on in his head, it all started to make sense to him: the fact that he never saw Santa Claus in his house, or the fact that the Santa Claus he saw inside the local department store was not white at all, and had a thick Visayan accent.
Jimmy broke down immediately and started bawling his eyes out. His parents wanted to hug him and comfort him, but they were having sex in the next room. “We earned it!” shouted his dad while people tried to call them back inside.
When he finally calmed down, Jimmy still looked upset, but at least he knew the truth. Sensing that this was lowest moment, his friends held each others hand and started singing Santa Claus is coming to town. As one would imagine, this immediately back-fired and Jimmy began crying aggressively. “He is not coming! He is not coming! He is never EVER coming! He never EVER came in the first place!” Jimmy said loudly at everyone.
“Jimmy, please, they were only trying to help, ” said his father, as he emerged from the opposite room, buttoning his shirt and fixing his hair. “I know that you feel betrayed, but we figured that you were going to find out on your own. Your mother and I wanted to tell you, but by the time you were 19, we both figured, ‘Fuck It! Who gives a shit?!'”
As his dad was pulling up his pants, he knelt in front of Jimmy and said, “But we did not want to keep lying to you. Also, we are running out of space to keep your red cars. Seriously, our maid sleeps in the kitchen sink just so we can store your red cars.”
“We all love you very much Jimmy. I hope we can move on from this and continue having wonderful Christmases together, as a family” remarked his mother.
Jimmy hugged his mom and his dad, and they all started crying tears of joy and relief. Everyone else was busy stealing various Iron Man-themed items inside the room.
As of writing, Jimmy Poblacion is still adjusting with his new-found knowledge. Everyone involved with the intervention agrees that the next couple of years will be difficult, but no matter how things will turn out for Jimmy, they are happy with the fact that they will never have to buy another red fucking car for as long as they live.