Rhode Island Author Expo Spotlight – Mark Perry
This post was originally posted on Martha Reynold’s blog and has been reposted here with author permission, minor revisions have been made.
Last week, an eight-year-old girl from San Diego put a spell on herself in the shower, to turn herself into a mermaid. Why hasn’t it worked yet, and how much longer will it take, she asks? Where does such a child turn when they are contemplating their life’s most compelling questions? Well, that would be good old St. Nick, or course, because the allure of Santa Claus to a child makes them think and feel that he is all-knowing.
When I became ‘Post’ Mark, the North Pole Postman, the elf who works in Santa’s mail room, I guess I hadn’t thought I’d be confronted with such far-fetched questions. I more or less expected kids to share some interesting stories, because we all know kids say the funniest things.
For example, Oliver from Australia has a dog named Shelby who he believes is friends with Santa’s reindeer because she doesn’t bark at them. Timmy, in the state of Washington, isn’t sure if Santa will come to his house this year because he tripped and fell down. When he fell, he knocked over the Christmas tree, and broke a few of the ornaments, and thinks Santa is mad at him now.
Working for a boss who is a metaphor means I am the one who has to address these issues all while keeping a straight face when a child or parent visits me at one of my live book-signing events, or logs on to my website to share them.
A message in Santa’s inbox the other day is from a nine-year-old girl in the U.K. who has a crush on a boy, and wants Santa to let the boy know, so he will notice her, but if he can’t do that, she understands. She would just be fine with an iPad underneath the Christmas tree, instead.
While I truly enjoy having the world come to my door with these messages, and feel they are a gift to me, you can imagine this is challenging at times since a child doesn’t know or understand that I might be going into the fourteenth hour of my work day, and there were dozens, if not hundreds of kids that came before them.
Working for Santa is a very rewarding experience, but as kids are taught, and one might expect with being an elf, it requires long hours. I often ask myself, “How much longer can I go on doing this job,” and then, Santa receives a message from Angela in Virginia stating that she will be leaving cookies for him when he comes to her house on Christmas eve, along with carrots for the reindeer, and something for ‘Post’ Mark too because she loved reading his book. Wow! What an honor. I wonder what she’s going to leave me!