This I Believe

John - Pell City, Alabama
Entered on June 12, 2006
Age Group: 50 - 65

I believe in anti-clause.

As a boy I heard and believed the stories of Santa Clause. Not only did I believe, but I wanted to believe. What could have been better than a friendly old man who would sneak into the house, open his big sack and take out and leave all kinds of toys, games, bicycles, books and other goodies. And a lot of the fun came from just opening the packages. Before long the room would be filled with empty boxes and torn wrapping paper. You could play with some of the boxes, for awhile, but eventually they would all have to be picked up and put back into large sacks and taken out with the trash.

Who was it that picked up the trash and took it out. That was anti-clause. By picking up the trash, the garbage and the waste, anti-clause is making more space for the things we keep.

Anti-clause is anyone and everyone who cleans up after others, characterized by picking up those things no longer wanted and putting them into big sacks. Anti-clause is around daily, not just once a year. He may not have eight tiny reindeer, and he may not be very jolly. This is someone who works, often without recognition, often without our knowledge. She may be someone very, very close. Or he may be a total stranger. I have seen him walking along the highway collecting aluminum cans, a volunteer, a state prisoner picking up the litter on the shoulder of the road, or a city employee emptying the garbage can into the back of a truck.

Whoever it is, my life would be a mess without him. Where would Santa put this year’s presents if I still held onto all the presents and all the packages he left in Christmases past. In some cases, anti-clause does me a big, big favor by taking the things I still think I want, but would be much better without.

When I was a young father I was told: “First you believe in Santa Clause, then you don’t believe in Santa Clause, and then you are Santa Clause.” At first I just laughed, but now I can see the evolution that allows this to be true. And something similar is true about anti-clause. There are times when someone picks up after me and times when I clean up the messes other people leave.

Anti-clause is absolutely necessary because I can’t keep holding on to everything I have. I could probably fill an entire sleigh with things that are just in the way that I am not using any more. So, wherever you are right now, anti-clause, thank you.