In My Opinion

Fabiola Santiago: Be thankful, Miamians - at least our Santas haven't been arrested



We’re not starting the holiday season on the right note, people, when Santa Claus gropes an elf.

All I can say is: Thank God it didn’t happen here.

The dishonor goes to the historic town of Hanover, Mass., where a 62-year-old man with a real and generous white beard (and thus, we’re led to believe by media reports, someone who played Santa better than Tim Allen) was charged with pinching the buttocks of an 18-year-old playing the role of his elf at a mall photo booth.

Kids sat on his lap. She took the pictures.

He told her he wished he was younger — then acted like it.

Remember all those facts the next time you think you hate Miami.

You could always hail from Hanover, where Santa was not only rightfully arrested and jailed in Pilgrim Country just days before Thanksgiving — Plymouth Rock being only a half-hour’s drive away — but it was 42 degrees in the middle of the day and stormy.

Santa pleaded not-guilty to indecent assault and battery and was released on $1,000 bail. The media chased his black pickup truck through lovely country roads strewn with multi-colored fallen leaves, filming his short flight home.

Santa’s next court date: Christmas.

You can’t manufacture worse publicity if you tried.

So cheer up and be grateful, Miamians.

The seas may be rising, the murderers are getting bolder, there’s an ugly observation tower in the works for downtown Miami designed by the architect who said the historic Miami Herald building was hideous and deserved to be torn down — and there’s yet another sports stadium on the way.

Play soccer!

Oh yes, sports are good for us, although thankfully, the mayor this time has vowed that we won’t be suckers and pay for the stadium with our money mula — no matter how sexy David Beckham smiles or how often he takes off his shirt.

All this to say, friends from the Northeast, that I take back all I said last weekend under the spell of rain, flooding, and road aggression.

When we sat on the white sands of Miami Beach — a lone sailboat in the distance, a poetic little girl strolling, the cool breeze making it seem like there hadn’t been an insufferable summer to endure — and you told me you wanted to move here, I was wrong to discourage you.

How can you even consider living in Miami, I popped your balloon, when some of us are looking for a way out of sinking, gun-crazed, sewer-challenged Dodge?

“The Miami we knew and loved,” I said, “doesn’t exist anymore.”

But after going to the mall to check out our Santa, I’m reconsidering that assessment.

Our Santa has a fake beard and a tan — but he does not get arrested at the beginning of the season.

Our Santa would let us live out our merry holiday shopping in fantasy mode — and cop a feel of his elf on his last day on the job.

And, in my fantasy at least, our elf promptly slaps him.

Then, she reports him nice and loud for all in the mall to hear.

And by the time the cops get there, somebody’s father has already beaten up Santa, who foregoes a bond hearing and readily agrees to be deported back to the North Pole, where he lives happily ever after with the newly missing Republican bad girl.

Happy Thanksgiving, Miamians. Relish the abundance.

Read more Fabiola Santiago stories from the Miami Herald

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