How Evel Knievel Made Me Hate Santa Claus.
I don't remember exactly how old I was, but it was the year that Evel Knievel Stunt Sets were THE It Toy for Christmas. And I'm pretty sure it was one of the years Dad was on strike at Christmastime. If I had to make a guess, I'd say I was about six.
Santa was appearing at the local skating rink, letting kids sit on his lap and tell him what they wanted for Christmas.
I waited in line patiently to tell him that all I wanted for Christmas was the Evel Knievel Stunt Set.
When I got my turn to sit on his lap, he asked me what I wanted for Christmas.
I said, "THE EVEL KNIEVEL STUNT SET."
That was last moment that Christmas meant anything to me, because in the very next moment Santa looked at my mother, then looked at me and said, "Well, there are a LOT of little boys that want the Evel Knievel Stunt Set, so I couldn't make enough of them. But I'll be sure and make you something really nice for Christmas."
Translation: I like all those other little boys better than you, so I'm giving THEM the Evel Knievel Stunt Set and not you. You're pretty low on the Santa Totem Pole, kid. Welcome to the North Pole pecking order.
Even at six years old, I recognized this.
And decided that I didn't believe in Santa anymore. And if I would somehow become convinced Santa was real, I HATED him.
It's been about three decades since that night. And not once has Santa shown up to make it up to me.
I don't know how Evel Knievel would feel about this tiny little piece of his legacy, but I thank him for showing me the truth.
Rest In Piece, Evel.