“Has anyone ever told you that you look like Santa Claus?”
The man at the bar looked up from his drink.” “All the time. You seem too sober to try to be funny.”
The other man grinned, or perhaps grimaced. “Not for long, I hope.”
“Yes. Well, no. My wife. She thinks I work too hard, don’t spend enough time at home.”
“Santa” sat listening, stroking his bushy, white beard. “My work hardly ever lets me leave the house. But I can sympathize. First round is on me.”
They sat next to each other for some time, drinking, but hardly talking. Just silently commiserating over alcohol.
Without preamble, the man launched once more into his misery. “She doesn’t know how demanding my work is.”
“Tell me about it. Do you know how hard it is to teach elves to code? Or to reverse engineer some of these new tech devices? And don’t get me started on Intellectual Property and Licensing Agreements. It was so much simpler when kids just wanted wooden trains instead of video games or cell phones. You know?”
The man looked at him. “I think you’ve had too much to drink.”
“I think you might be right.” The fat man with the white beard stood up and walked out of the bar.
The man then decided he, too, had had enough. He could have sworn he heard sleigh bells.