A Christmas story from times past

Okay, since we’re close to Christmas, here’s a story I remember from those days when I was a mechanic in a gas station.

Our place was in this small town, with all the usual ‘small town America’, including all the good and bad parts. One which was some of both, was the local radio station. The boss kept the radio on all day, tuned to this station because the folks that worked at the radio station were good customers. And because we were so far from everything else that radio reception wasn’t that great.

During Christmas season, “Santa” would read letters sent in to the station: “Ho-Ho-Ho” in an appropriate voice… jingle some horse bells, play a medical lecture tape backwards at high speed for the voice of “Tommy Tinker”, his ‘helper elf’. The tape helped cover up the door to the studio opening and closing as the other guy in the radio station brought in the mail – which arrived during the “Letters to Santa” show. The AP teletype was just outside, and it was NOISY, hence the need for the extra sound effect.

One day, the other guy left the door standing open accidentally.

“Santa” said, “Oh! Hey, boys and girls, Tommy Tinker left the door standing open … That’s not good, it lets all the cold air in from here at the North Pole!” (Bangita-bangita-bangita-slam-chunk-bangita-bangita… in the background from the teletype as it hit the end of the line, did a carriage return, and continued on the next line.)

But the other guy at the station had stepped far enough away from the door that he didn’t hear “Santa” trying to get his attention, so “Santa” just figured he’d lean back in the chair to close the door. But the distance to the door was farther than he figured.

So “Santa” continued: “Well, Ho-Ho-Ho! I’ll just lean back from Santa’s desk here and close the door…” (The chair creaked loudly and ominously at this point – and those of us around the radio started to wonder what was going on.)

“Ho-Ho-Ho! That door’s almost out of reach, but I got it! Boy, that North Pole air is cold! Ho-Ho-HoooOOOO-SHIT!”

A giant CRASH came over the radio, followed by five seconds of silence… a small noise, then a few seconds more silence… (We were cracking up at this point.)

Finally, a quiet groan, followed by, “Ho-Ho-Ho-boy! That Tommy Tinker’s a real prankster! No toys for Tommy this year! He’s going to have a nice, warm house, because he’s going to get LOTS of coal for Christmas!”

Great comeback! We had tears in our eyes from laughing so much.

But you know what, “Santa” picked right up and continued with the show. That’s the way you do it on the air. Whatever happened, happened; you go on to the next thing.

We found out later what-all went on when one of the guys at the radio station came in for gas.


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