Various Sketches by Dr. Humber
There are all kind of conspiracy theorists nowadays, from those espousing alien visitations and the legitimacy of Bigfoot and Nessie to those asserting that Lorne Michaels keeps SNL on the air by eating the brains of NBC executives. No such theorist, however, is more strident and in-your-face than Professor Neil Humber of the University of Havertown PA.
Professor Humber, who tweets as @flophouseflip, is a brilliant socio-economist and deep thinker whose ground-breaking socio-economic models and theorems have served to prove conclusively that socio-economic models and theorems are boring. After years of intense study, Dr. Humber has come to believe that a massive fraud has been perpetrated on the people of the United States, and in fact, on the peoples of the world.
"They don't want you to know!" Dr. Humber exclaimed, his fist pounding upon the table, when we met last week. "They continue to propagate the ages-old myth that parents provide toys and gifts to children at Christmas time! As if all parents from Baltimore to Botswana could make an objective, unbiased determination as to which of their children are naughty or nice and then implement annual Yuletide gift-giving accordingly and do it all in one night!"
"Only one highly competent and dedicated entrepreneur could successfully accomplish this task," asserts Dr. Humber, "obviously working with a crack team of professionals he has himself vetted, assembled, and trained to perfection."
Ladies and Gentlemen, meet Mr. Hubert "Santa" Claus!
Professor Humber posits the existence of a rotund, jolly, and white-bearded gentleman who every year on Christmas Eve delivers toys to good little boys and girls, rides in a sleigh pulled by eight tiny reindeer, and is originally from New Jersey. The author of 17 books on the subject, including His Name is Hubert! and Your Parents are Fucking Liars, Professor Humber is the leading proponent of the so-called Single Gifter Theory.
I asked Professor Humber how he came to believe so fervently in the existence of a Mr. Hubert Claus and the plot to cover him up.
"In conjunction with parental malaise and incompetence, modern methods of manufacture and distribution are simply nowhere near effective enough for the Parental Multi-Gifter Model to be feasible," he told me. "Hell, you can't even get anybody to come to the phone at a Toys R US any more!"
Parents foster the duplicity, Professor Humber contends, in order to have something guilt-invoking to hold over their children. "Clean your room, Jimmy," "do your homework, Sarah," "don't run off and marry that uber-tatooed grifter, Sylvester," go down a lot better with "don't forget, I'm the one who gave you the 12-speed bicycle at Christmas!" than "if you want some marbles, write to Hubert!"
As proof that the U.S. government is complicit in the cover-up, Professor Humber points to the alleged downing in 1947 of a "red-nosed reindeer" at Roswell New Mexico and the mysterious appearance in a Cherry Hill NJ shopping mall in 2006 of a cheerful and avuncular fat guy asking children what they wanted for Christmas who was swiftly escorted away by government agents.
"What do you envision this Mr. Claus to look like?" I asked Professor Humber.
"His eyes sort of twinkle," he answered thoughtfully. "Not only that, his dimples are merry, his cheeks are like roses, and his nose like a cherry. He's sort of like an older Zach Galifianakis, but less stoned-out."
But then why doesn't Mr. Claus simply come forward and take credit for his prodigious efforts?
"I believe that he is a humble man," replied Dr. Humber, "who wishes only to speak not a word, go straight to his work, fill everyone's stockings, and then turn with a jerk. I'm not exactly sure who that jerk is, but I'm thinking Mr. Claus may sometimes hang out with former Vice-Presidential candidate John Edwards or Charlie Sheen."
Professor Humber will be speaking tonight at the Unitarian Church in Center City Philadelphia, and a small but enthusiastic crowd is expected to attend. Most other people will claim to be busily Christmas shopping, but Dr. Humber says that the majority of them will be out drinking with co-workers, engaging in sexual encounters with random strangers, or watching "It's a Wonderful Life" on television.
So what do you think about the existence or non-existence of the elusive Mr. Claus?
Oh, and if you're reading this, Brandon, clean up your goddamn room!
Remember who got you that X-Box last Christmas.