December 5, 2022 – Season’s Beatings: Das ist Krampusnacht!

Art by Tasty Piece,©️ The Safehouse Collection 2022

Even when I still believed that Santa Claus was an actual dude with an actual mailing address inside the Arctic Circle, with an actual toy shop at the same address staffed mostly by elves, blah blah blah, I felt, deep down in that dark and vacant space where my soul should have been, that Things Weren’t Right.
Even as toddlers, children understand that there are scary monsters [see The Uses of Enchantment by Bruno Bettelheim and that study where children were given rewritten versions of fairy tales with the scary monsters taken out, and the kids got all pissed off and attacked their teachers’ kneecaps].  Rugrats know that evil lurks, and they resent the hell out of patronizing adults who tell them otherwise.  I certainly did.  Which is why the unipolar morality of the Santa story never really sat well with me: goodness is ostensibly rewarded, but evil goes completely unpunished.  All year long, the promise of every materialistic dream a child may have coming true on Christmas morning is dangled in front of the child’s beady eyes on the condition of “good” behavior during the rest of the year.
I always assumed there was some kind of sliding scale of goodness vs. toys spectrum: if your behavior was superlative and Christ-like all year long, then you get absolutely everything on your list, and perhaps even a few bonus toys.  If you were a minimally decent person for, say, 8 months out of the year, but a bit of a prick the rest of the time, then you might only get a third of the things on your list.  But what of little Adolf and Osama?  What about the little kid who is an absolute bastard every goddamn day of the year?  What of him?  According to the Santa story, nothing.  Not a damn thing. Hell, Santa will even still come by your house: he’ll just leave a piece of coal.  So what?  Who cares? This means that some little fucker can run around terrorizing the neighborhood, lowering property values and ruining everybody’s lives all year long, and the only thing he has to worry about is maybe not getting as many toys as the Goody Two-Shoes next door?  Alll little Adolf has to do is stroll over to Goody’s on the 26th, when the little angel is playing with all of his benevolently hard-earned toys, whack him over the head with a board, take whatever toys he wants, and swagger back home.
No.  That’s just ludicrous.  It is unjust. And it is existentially unsound. There can be no light without darkness.  And there can be no goodness without evil.  That knowledge is innate in human children.  But in the Disneyfied, politically correct culture that is modern day America, apparently parents are afraid of damaging their little snowflakes’ eggshell psyches, We ask our teachers not to use red pen when grading papers, because red is the color of blood and there is an implied threat there.  We’re not going to keep score in little league games because the idea of someone winning necessitates that some lost, and the concept of losing at anything, even a baseball game, is far more than a human being should have to endure.  And oh God, the results are tragic.  Entire generations who cannot conjugate the verbs “to lose” or “to fail.”
I say Enough.  Ya basta!  I say that people in general, but children especially, are far heartier and more resilient than they are ever given credit for.  And it is with that in mind that I suggest that we hit reset and start celebrating Christmas properly.  Let us look back toward Europe, to where the Santa Claus story originated, to get the full story: the story of the Santa’s dark counterpart, Krampus.
If Santa Claus is a right jolly old elf, then Krampus is a bad-ass Christmas demon.  If old Saint Nick is benevolent generosity and reward, Krampus is divine retribution and vengeance.  Krampus is a very satanic-looking demon (I suppose all demons worth their horns are rather satanic-looking): a satyr (in the Roman tradition (as opposed to the Greek)), with massive horns and a bifurcated tail, who is draped in noisy chains and cow bells, and wields a collection of pointy sticks with which (get this) he beats all hell out of children who have been assholes during the previous year.  If children have committed more than the typically venial offenses associated with childhood, Krampus will not simply beat them with his sticks and chains, but will either dismember them, or simply drag them to hell, never to be seen again.  Sometimes Krampus just eats the goddamn kids right there in front of God and everybody.  And don’t think you can go running to Santa to save you from Krampus…no.  Krampus and Santa are good buddies.  Existential friends who enjoy happy hour at der biergarten together.
Krampus does not just molest and abuse vagrant children.  No.  When not dispensing yuletide justice to miscreants, Krampus enjoys goosing attractive women and licking their faces, a la Rick James on a good, crackful night.  Oh yes…Krampus is a straight up poon hound.  Unlike that grandfatherly twat Santa Claus, ever the family man, the Christmas demon crushes mad ass on the reg.  There is no Mrs. Krampus.  No need.  Krampus has game and he wants to fist your mother.  After he eats your soul.
Speaking of eating, don’t bother trying to placate Krampus with cookies and milk.  He cannot be plied with baked goods, and Krampus is notoriously lactose-intolerant.  You would be better off leaving whiskey and steak, but those will not likely work either.  To avoid the wrath of Krampus this night, there is only one path: The path of righteousness, and the avoidance of assholishness throughout the rest of the year.

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