The Case of Jacob Goldberg v. Father Christmas

By Adam Grace

Published December 24, 2004, issue of December 24, 2004.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Sir, it says here that you deliver toys to ALL the good boys and girls. Is that correct?

Claus: Yes, but it’s not like it’s a contract. It’s just…

Plaintiff’s Attorney: It does use the word “ALL” doesn’t it?

Claus: Yes, it does.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: In fact, you don’t actually deliver toys to all the good boys and girls, do you?

Claus: Well…

Plaintiff’s Attorney: You don’t do that, do you?

Claus: No. No I don’t.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Mr. Claus, on the night of December 24, 2003, you didn’t deliver any toys to little Jacob [pointing to plaintiff]. Isn’t that right?

Claus: I can’t really remember, I mean there are millions of kids…

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Mr. Claus, I put before you what has been marked as Plaintiff’s Exhibit 32. Do you recognize that?

Claus: Yes.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Could you tell us what it is?

Claus: It’s an excerpt from our master list of all the good children who had toys delivered to them on the night of December 24, 2003.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: And the excerpt includes all last names beginning with the letters “Gol,” isn’t that right?

Claus: Yes.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: And Jacob’s last name isn’t there, is it?

Claus [thumbing through exhibit]: No, it isn’t.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: You have no reason to doubt the accuracy of your own list, do you?

Claus: No. We’re pretty good about those things.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: So, in fact, based on Exhibit 32, you have no reason to believe that any toys were delivered to little Jacob that night, do you?

Claus: No, I don’t.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Now, at any time prior to December 24, 2003, did you make any inquiry into whether Jacob had been a good boy?

Claus: Well, I’d have to see the lists.

Plaintiff’s Attorney [handing defendant another exhibit]: Feel free.

Claus [thumbing through exhibit]: No. It appears that we did not.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: So at the time you skipped over Jacob’s house, you had no idea, one way or the other, whether Jacob had been naughty or nice?

Claus: No, I didn’t.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: You didn’t even bother to ask.

Defense Attorney: Objection.

Judge: Sustained.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Sir, no one with Jacob’s last name got any toys that night, did they?

Claus: Can I see the other list?

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Well, you don’t have to look at the list to know that you’ve never delivered toys to anyone named “Goldberg,” do you?

Claus: I don’t…

Plaintiff’s Attorney: I’ll rephrase it. You’ve never delivered toys to anyone with the last name Goldberg, have you?

Claus: No. No, I haven’t.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: In fact, you’ve never even bothered to check whether any boy or girl with the last name Goldberg was naughty or nice, have you?

Claus: No.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: And that’s because despite your promise to deliver presents to ALL boys and girls, you don’t give anything to Jewish children, do you?

Claus: Well, they don’t believe in me. Why should I?

Plaintiff’s Attorney: You exist, don’t you?

Claus: Yes, I exist. Of course I exist.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: And you exist even if some children don’t believe in you, isn’t that right?

Claus: Yeah, of course.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: So, it doesn’t really matter if a child doesn’t believe in you, does it?

Claus: Well, why should I break my neck…

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Before delivering presents to the Christian children, do you ever check and see if they believe in you?

Claus: No, that would be next to imp…

Plaintiff’s Attorney: You don’t, do you?

Claus: No, I don’t.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: But Jewish children are automatically excluded from getting presents, aren’t they?

Claus: Yes.

Plaintiff’s Attorney: Mr. Claus, did it ever occur to you that little Jacob Goldberg might not be Jewish?

Claus: Oh, Christ.

Adam Grace is an attorney and the father of two children who have been very good.



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