Retread: The unvarnished truth about Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer

The important thing to remember about Rudolph isn't so much that he had a shiny red nose, but that his friends were all assholes!
The important thing to remember about Rudolph isn’t so much that he had a shiny red nose, but that his friends were assholes! *

UPDATED EDITOR’S NOTE: I first wrote this essay four years ago for a very limited audience, then offered it up last year here on Roamin’ Gnomials. Recently, I noticed that it was attracting fresh attention, probably from Google users searching for something else, only to be disappointed when they found this instead. Because I’m unwilling to let those unwary Googlers suffer alone, I’m recycling it here for my new readers who had — until now — got off scot-free. I’ll close by saying that all of us here at Roamin’ Gnomials extend to you a Merry Christmas, Happy Chanukah, Blessed Solstice and a Fulfilling Kwanza. And please do watch out for Rudolph!

☼  ☼  ☼

It’s Christmas Eve, and my thoughts this morning are with Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. It’s his big day, after all, and it’s time we take a closer look.

Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer
had a very shiny nose.
And if you ever saw him,
you would even say it glows.

I always assumed Rudolph was a baby reindeer born with a birth defect, but that was a myth perpetuated by children’s books and seasonal TV specials. The truth is that Rudolph was a boozehound, and that’s why he had a shiny red nose.

All of the other reindeer
used to laugh and call him names.
They never let poor Rudolph
join in any reindeer games.

What a bunch of sanctimonious assholes those other reindeer were! So maybe Rudolph liked to drink a little, but is that really a good reason to exclude him from everything? And was it just the booze, or did it have something to do with his name, too? There’s Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen. Rudolph just doesn’t seem to fit, so it could be the name alone was enough to set him apart and eventually drive him to the bottle. Parents should keep this in mind when naming their children because a bad name could be the one thing that sets them on a path to destruction.

Then one foggy Christmas Eve
Santa came to say:
“Rudolph with your nose so bright,
won’t you guide my sleigh tonight?”

This is very troubling. Rudolph had been ostracized his entire life until this one singular event: fog on Christmas Eve. And now Santa, who never lifted a finger to stop the bullying, all of a sudden needs Rudolph to provide a service. There’s a saying that friends don’t let friends drive drunk, but what did Santa do? He actually lets a drunken reindeer guide his sleigh on a careening, high-speed jaunt that encircled the globe! Mothers Against Drunk Driving should be appalled, and the true Miracle of Christmas is that nobody was killed.

Then all the reindeer loved him
as they shouted out with glee,
Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer,
you’ll go down in history!

Their shallowness sickens me. Rudolph, who was never allowed to join in their reindeer games, all of a sudden is the big hero after coming up big on a Christmas Eve when the whole world was socked-in by fog. If I’m Rudolph, I’m telling the whole damned lot of them that they can eff-right-off!

You may like Rudolph because once upon a time he delivered your presents when nobody else could. But I love him because he was downtrodden, and because he wasn’t such a fundamentalist prig that he couldn’t enjoy a tasty adult beverage now and then.

And as for driving drunk, it wasn’t his fault! Santa shanghaied him into guiding the sleigh that night, while Rudolph (quite sensibly) would have been content to stay home by the fire, nursing his unspoken pain with a tot of rum.

So when you’re having your holiday celebrations this year, don’t forget to raise a glass to Rudolph, the only one of Santa’s reindeer who was ever worth a damn!

* Illustration by David T. Wenzel


Add yours →

  1. Nice writing, you used to be good!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Hypocritical reindeer and a negligent Santa; for shame!

    Epilogue: Rudolph graduated from a 12-step program, became a multi-millionaire selling fake red noses and retired to his own private island in the Mediterranean.

    Liked by 1 person

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