It seems a Santa Claus has been fired from a Macy’s for being a bit too jolly. The San Francisco Chronicle says John Toomey, who has played Santa at the Union Square store in San Francsico for 20 years, was told Saturday to leave because an adult couple complained about his jokes.
The 68-year-old Toomey asks older people who sit on his lap if they’ve been good, when they answer yes, he replies: “Gee, that’s too bad.” If they ask why Santa’s so jolly, Toomey remarks it’s because he knows where all the naughty boys and girls live!
Ok, not great material, certainly corny, but if you are an adult sitting on Santa’s lap what should you expect? Macy’s spokeswoman Betsy Nelson told the S.F. Examiner that the store can’t comment on personnel matters. So instead they just throw Toomey, someone they have hired for Xmases for two decades, under the blades of his sleigh, because, god-forbid somebody took a joke the wrong way. Toomey says he doesn’t make such jokes with kids and he’s asking Macy’s to reconsider.
Since when did we lose the right in this country to be offended? Since when are we not able to tell the difference between a joke and something serious? Since when has the line between what we say, how we act and what we do around adults and kids become so paper thin we are so scared of any utterance of something salacious in the same building with the little ones…who wouldn’t have understood the quips anyway? And since when are we walking around so skittish, so available for offense, ready to jump on anything anyone says that we might take offense too?
Hurtling the worlds of sex and mainstream in the work I do I am more sensitive than most to making sure that twains do not converge. For a very long time I wrote and performed children’s music-I still record and write it actually-and consider it a big part of my life. I also write this column once a week, have penned scripts, webcopy and adverts for prostitutes, sex toy companies and others in the adult field. I am an adult (or at least I play one on T.V.) and I know the difference between writing for or entertaining children and what to say, how to dress and act when I make my way through a porn convention. And I’m not that bright!
The point is: Macys should know better and have come to Toomey’s defense…or at the very least had a sit down with their Santa and discussed what they heard and how they do not want to hear it again (pussies that they are!) ; the couple in question needs to get a life, thicker skin or maybe do it a little more often to quell the frustrations that actually makes them so upset. We all need to chill, especially this time of year and realize the world does not revolve around only us and what we feel is inappropriate.