On BeTheMarriage Saturday, the question was asked: when did you figure out there was no Santa. For me, the truth lay in my mother's closet.
I remember my mom skulking around some random December night around '83 or '84. Normally she'd hang around with my grandparents and I, in the two-story home we shared, right after work. I knew something was up.
So one equally random afternoon, after my grandparents brought me home from school, I snuck up to her room, in the southeast corner of the house, and peeked around. A large brown bag surfaced from amidst her shoe collection and other knick-knacks: Pac-Man! Only not in the usual Atari 2600 cartridges; this was a mini-arcade version! It's as close as I ever came to a Christmas Story moment. Only, Ralphie was a good person. This was a young me.
Somehow I procured a set of four batteries and hatched a plan: I had five hours between the time I came home from school and my mom's return from work. And my grandparents let me go upstairs to do my homework. So every afternoon, I would smuggle my batteries into my mom's room, carefully open the box and take the game out, insert the batteries and get my Pac-licks in. After a suitable amount of time, I'd take care to put the game back in place, batteries out, then head down for dinner. Homework? Feh. I was a criminal mastermind!
Christmas Eve came around, and with it the rest of the family. I don't know how I faked surprise when I officially opened my new game, only that I didn't catch a belting, so I must've done it well. And that my cousins just thought I'd caught a serious fever.
I don't think I ever told my mom; I did, however, let her know I'd "outgrown" my Xmas innocence the next year when she asked me what I wanted Santa to get me and I answered, confidently, "No, Mom, what are you getting me?"
Like I said, Ralphie was a good person.
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