Today's post may feel a tad rushed. I leave for a caroling gig on Michigan Avenue in about an hour. If you see a handsome man in Dickensian clothing on the red line, give him all your money. Chances are he's me, and if he isn't, he deserves a reward for looking like me.
Christmas gigs are wonderful. Well, don't get me wrong, any gig is wonderful, but when your usual crowd is either tiny, drunk, or teetering between jubilation and belligerence, it's just delightful to have a gig with a built-in, guaranteed rapturous audience. Takes a bit of the pressure off. Plus, every one of these I've ever done, I've realized something midway through:
"My god. I'm getting paid to sing Christmas music in public. I'm getting paid to do what I constantly do anyway."
Santa gigs are still fun, but loads more intimidating. Children are picky little creatures. Shrewd, too, like goblins. Make a verbal misstep, and here comes a barrage of questions. Do something Santa didn't do last year, and you're tasked with explaining why that Santa had an English accent and you don't. And while kids sit on your lap, asking for hamsters and dogs (and in three cases, ponies), you try to assure them their dreams will come true while the parents shake their heads "NO" just out of the tykes' view.
All this going on around you, a yuletide cacophony, and if you screw up or break character, you don't just ruin the gig. You ruin Christmas.
Pay's good, though.