Holidays, Beliefs, and Behaviors

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By Drew Coulter

Well the radio stations are playing Christmas music, so that means Thanksgiving is just around the corner.

I cannot help but remember an incident in first grade. One boy on the playground stated that last year he had seen his parents setting out the presents, not Santa Claus. I immediately denounced him as a heretic and started spreading rumors about him. I would like to blame this behavior on Asperger’s, but the harsh fact of the matter is that I would have believed anything if there was a free toy involved. I have compared my mental processes to interconnected gears before. Well, Santa Claus sat at the heart of some very fundamental subconscious drives.

The first and most prominent was the desire for a new toy. I assumed that his observation was somehow going to get in the way of me and a toy at Christmas. The next one was my religious belief. Christmas was the celebration of Christ and the focus must be on him (or so the Charlie Brown special told me). So again I assumed that failing to believe in Santa was failing to believe in God, and all good little boys must have unwavering faith in God, or so I had learned in Sunday school (I have found that children make very good fundamentalists). Another idea is that of divine justice. As Santa gives toys to good children and coal to bad children, he represents the idea that even if you are not immediately rewarded for the right thing, you will be rewarded for it later on. Often that is the only way you can get anyone to do anything.

But the big lesson that I had completely missed when I was a child was that believing in something very hard does not mean you get to be obnoxious about it. No matter how big your faith is, you don’t get to be mean about it.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – Drew Coulter was diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome in 1997. He has a B.A. degree in creative writing and an A.A. degree in accounting, works, and lives independently.

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Copyright Drew Coulter 2013 Used by Permission All Rights Reserved

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