GINX: I’m truly honored to have one of my personal favorite gods talking to me tonight, and on Christmas Eve no less.
ODIN: It’s nice to be talking to you.
GINX: I’m a huge fan of your work... Santa Claus.
ODIN: Obviously you don’t know the whole story.
GINX: Even if I did, I imagine I would have forgotten by now. I would love nothing more than for you to share with me the history of the origin of Santa.
ODIN: I remember like it was this afternoon... a day for me is a millenium to you. The year was 1822, the winter was bleak and spirits were blue. This god of magic and rhyming lore revealed himself to Clement Clarke Moore. He’d never heard of me before, let alone my young son Thor. I sung him a poem, it was hardly witty, and Santa was born in New York City.
GINX: That didn’t really clear things up.
ODIN: What do you mean?
GINX: Well, I was hoping for a bit more information, though I didn’t know you inspired the poem “The Night Before Christmas.”
ODIN: Actually, it’s called “A Visit From St. Nicholas.”
GINX: Okay, noted. But, I mean... I was expecting you to explain the symbolism.
ODIN: It’s just a poem. I didn’t realize Americans would run with it like they did.
GINX: Boy did we. But I was thinking, like, how your horse has eight legs and Santa has eight reindeer, or how you’re old and have a beard and Santa is old and bearded.
ODIN: Are you saying I’m fat, too?
GINX: No, you’re actually pretty gaunt.
ODIN: Well, I never eat. I only drink.
GINX: Ah, the old “liquid lunch,” carried to its extreme.
ODIN: Something like that.
GINX: So you aren’t Santa?
ODIN: You idiot, there is no Santa.
GINX: Ugh, it’s like I’m 8 years old all over again... I guess there’s no such thing as the Easter Bunny or the Tooth Fairy, huh?
ODIN: There was a Tooth Fairy, until you guys cut down the forest she lived in. Then she got despondent and turned to heroin, and now she just kind of keeps to herself.
GINX: That’s depressing.
ODIN: Did you think we were only going to talk about Santa?
GINX: Well... sort of. I figured you would explain the confusion.
ODIN: I’m not usually an honest god. I very rarely tell people my real name when I meet them. People used to recognize me all the time because of the one eye.
GINX: I think it was worth it for a drink from Mimir’s well.
ODIN: Maybe, though knowing everything isn’t all its cracked up to be. I miss the mystique of not knowing.
GINX: I guess with paganism being so unpopular now, you don’t get recognized as often.
ODIN: Not at all. It’s weird... I used to be famous and every one was asking me for help. This farmer wanted rain, that farmer wanted a new plow, this king wanted more land, that king wanted a beautiful queen who would birth him many sons... eventually I just got sick of all the attention. Now, hardly anyone has heard of me.
GINX: That’s not true, Wednesday is named after you.
ODIN: Do you know how few people know about that?
GINX: I don’t, but I imagine you do.
ODIN: Very few, my friend, very few.
GINX: So which is better, fame or anonymity?
ODIN: It’s hard to say. Even the gods are cursed with the desire to want what we don’t have. When I was well known, all I wanted was to be able to walk down a road and have no one recognize and bother me by asking for stuff. Now, people purposely avoid making eye contact with me. But you know what? I think I prefer being unknown, because privacy is great, even if I have to pay for things or spell my name when I’m waiting for a table at Red Lobster.
GINX: Those are some good biscuits.
ODIN: I hear they’re divine.
GINX: So... since you aren’t Santa Claus, I’m basically winging it at this point, since all my questions are obsolete now.
ODIN: If you want, I can talk about it more. It’s just... I so rarely get to speak with people these days, it’s weird to be talking about a piece of work I made 189 years ago. I’ve grown as an artist.
GINX: I understand. My favorite band was Nirvana, and I know Kurt Cobain hated playing “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” and they were only around for like 3 years after that song got big before he killed himself.
ODIN: I guess that’s comparable...
GINX: Sorry, I’m an idiot, I’m just trying to relate using the rudimentary experience I have. I wouldn’t know what it’s like to be famous. I wasn’t even popular in school. Plus my name is really easy to spell.
GINX: I am floundering here. This interview is turning to shit.
ODIN: No, you’re doing fine.
GINX: Okay. So... how are things in Asgard?
ODIN: It’s good. The kids are growing up so fast. The wife has been busy with her weaving.
GINX: That’s nice. What have you been up to lately?
ODIN: Well, I’ve been busy. I don’t know if you’re aware, but I’m still a very active deity. I may not be in a workshop with elves making toys for the good girls and boys, but I have my hand in a lot of human endeavors. Like... being interviewed.
GINX: I do appreciate you taking the time to do this.
ODIN: This is the second time you’ve interviewed me.
GINX: I am pretty sure I would have remembered you.
ODIN: I have so many names. The Hooded One, the Frenzied, the Wanderer, the Father of Wealth... I had the Romans call me Mercury, and the Greeks before them called me Hermes.
GINX: Oh! Hey, sorry, I didn’t recognize you.
ODIN: Happens all the time.
GINX: Huh... you’re a tricky one.
ODIN: I have been called “the Deceiver.”
GINX: Well, you earned it.
GINX: Huh... so you really did move up in the world. I remember introducing you when you called yourself Hermes as the messenger of the gods.
ODIN: I hate that title.
GINX: No doubt, it’s nothing compared to “All-father” and “King of the Gods.” You’re like the intern who used to get coffee for everyone and now runs the whole company.
ODIN: I guess, in a sort of... ridiculously over-simplified modern allegory.
GINX: Boy is my face red. Why didn’t I recognize you before? I swear you weren’t missing an eye.
ODIN: I was sitting at an angle, you couldn’t really see I was missing an eye. I’ve gotten good at hiding it over the centuries.
GINX: Yeah, and to be honest, I wasn’t really looking at you. I usually have to watch what I’m typing because my use of the keyboard is horrible, even though I’ve been on a computer almost every day since I was a little kid. It’s kind of like how I still miss the toilet sometimes when I piss standing up, even though I’ve done it several times a day for over 20 years now.
ODIN: I have to say... it’s never boring when I talk to you.
GINX: I take that as a compliment. I think it’s important to say memorable things, even if it’s not self-flattering.
ODIN: Better to be remembered by any means necessary?
GINX: Yeah, I think so.
ODIN: There’s more truth to that idea than you could ever know.
GINX: Yeah, I was told by Dionysus that being remembered makes you an immortal.
ODIN: Why would you ever want to be immortal?
GINX: Are you kidding me? I don’t buy all that garbage about how it would be better to not be immortal. I wouldn’t get sick of living, ever.
ODIN: But the immortality of the gods isn’t about living.
GINX: What do you mean?
ODIN: Being an immortal... I can’t even express to you the vast differences between being a god and being a human. I think the biggest is choice. Humans have it, gods don’t.
ODIN: For all our power, we are slaves to destiny. We are chained to the inevitability of unavoidable actions. For me especially, since I know all things both in my troubled past and my doomed future, my existence is like being forced to act a tragic part in a play I have already seen. I am not free, and I am helpless to do anything but fulfill my role.
GINX: Wow... so even this interview, right now, is being done against your will?
ODIN: Essentially, yes.
GINX: I’m terribly sorry.
ODIN: Don’t be. This isn’t the tragic part. This is a trifle, a miniscule moment in time that I suspect will not even be a part of the events that flash before my eyes on the eve of my demise.
GINX: I’m not sure how to take that.
ODIN: It doesn’t matter, take it as you wish. You are utterly insignificant, but you are free, and I would trade places with you if it were in my power, even though you lack anything remotely resembling an idyllic life in your own eyes. To me, you are living the dream, because all I dream of is living.
GINX: I am... just... dumbstruck.
ODIN: And I envy you for having the ability to not even know what to say next.
GINX: So, let me get this straight. You don’t recommend I become a god?
ODIN: I don’t mean to ruin the surprise that is your fate, but you are not going to be a god. I can tell because your future is hazy. You will be remembered by loved ones, those close to you. When they pass, your spirit will be completely free yet again. There will be nothing chaining you to the world, and you will be infinitely happier for it.
GINX: Well, at least there’s that.
ODIN: Why would you ever want to be a god?
GINX: Actually, I wasn’t too interested in the idea. I’ve flirted with the notion, but I guess I just viewed immortality as being something different. I would like to live forever, and never grow old, remaining young and virile until the end of time. I don’t need the powers or the worship or anything like that.
ODIN: You don’t want to be a god, you want to be a vampire.
GINX: Eh, I’m not too keen on blood.
ODIN: Well, vampires aren’t real, anyway.
GINX: Just the same.
ODIN: I too share in your desire to live forever in eternal youth in the world of man. At this point, I would settle for just a little something to help me forget.
GINX: Ahh, now I see why you drink.
GINX: You should smoke pot, talk about memory loss.
ODIN: What do you think I’m drinking, beer? I drink a potent alcohol that is infused with cannabis and psychedelic mushrooms.
GINX: The fact that you’re a god of poetry now makes sense.
ODIN: The more you know, the more it all seems connected.
GINX: I guess so.
ODIN: You know, you called me here to talk about Santa Claus... I figure I owe you a bit more. Have you heard of Amanita muscaria?
ODIN: You know those red mushrooms with white spots? They’re a common motif among gnomes and sometimes even Christmas ornaments.
GINX: Oh, okay.
ODIN: They cause hallucinations, and I decided to make Santa dress in red and white based on their appearance.
GINX: I’ll be damned.
ODIN: And you know stockings?
ODIN: Well, I used to tell the children of Scandinavia to put out sugar cubes for my horse to eat this time of year, because I always scheduled a trip through there. And I had them do it overnight so I wouldn’t have to see them, since it was back in the days when I didn’t want all the attention I was getting. I would reward them with candy in their socks. What they didn’t know is, my horse eats sugar and shits candy.
GINX: That’s... kind of messed up.
ODIN: It’s perfectly safe.
GINX: Yeah but... your horse craps candy? That’s weird enough, but you would leave it for children to eat?
ODIN: Oh please. It’s cleaner than most of the garbage that is mass produced in factories today. It sure as hell had no high fructose corn syrup in it.
GINX: So, what about the milk and cookies of today?
ODIN: Like I said, there is no Santa Claus. The parents are taking a bite from the cookie and drinking half the milk.
GINX: Oh, right.
ODIN: Still, I don’t regret the Christmas tradition I started. The gift-giving in particular is great for businesses. I’m a huge believer in capitalism.
GINX: I guess we’re going to have to agree to disagree on that.
ODIN: Oh please. If you’re such a commie, why do you hate Yahweh so much?
ODIN: Yahweh is a huge communist. He goes around telling people it’s easier for a camel to pass through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven, that you should sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, even his early church functioned as a collective, pooling their money together as a group.
GINX: Maybe Yahweh is a communist, but I don’t believe those things either, and I certainly don’t hate gay people or think women are inferior or that belief in Yahweh is the most important thing in the world. I’m certainly not a collectivist, either. I think people should be allowed to have wealth, just not so much that their children and children’s children never have to lift a finger and do anything while other people work two jobs and can’t even get by.
ODIN: Well, you just don’t see it like I do.
GINX: How do you see it?
ODIN: I see those rich spoiled snobs as marks.
ODIN: The rich are ripe for the picking. They’re arrogant, ignorant and soft, which is the perfect recipe for exploitation.
GINX: Let me get this straight... rich people exploit the poor, so I should then turn around and exploit the rich?
ODIN: The rich don’t exploit the poor. If you exploit the poor, all you can ever get is what they have, which is basically nothing. You have to exploit people who have something if you ever want anything.
GINX: Why do you have to exploit people at all?
ODIN: You don’t have to, especially if mediocrity is acceptable to you.
GINX: Maybe that’s why I will never be a god, I just can’t bring myself to exploit people.
ODIN: Don’t kid yourself. Even if you learned how to exploit people, you’ll still never be more than a branch on someone’s family tree.
GINX: And you’d still trade places with me if you could?
ODIN: In a heart beat.
GINX: That’s a lot to think about. I don’t know what to say.
ODIN: Then don’t ruin the moment. I’ll talk to you again later.