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As expected, some Santas went deeper into the rampaging thing than others. Most Santas struck me as engaged in a kind of brainy hooliganism, and seemed to be doing this whole thing as some kind of cultural experiment or protest. It was, in my opinion, a protest against the commercialization of Christmas of course, but more profoundly against the stifling nature of mass culture in general. It's a bunch of people saying this is possible, you can do anything you want, you don't have to be sanctioned as a group or a personality. And as such it's an experiment in culture, even if it only lasts a single night. What a rare thing that is, cultural experimentation.
But some Santas took it farther than others. Most Santas reacted to the beaming children with at least a tip of the Santa cap to traditional Christmas spirit, but I saw one Santa reaching into his bag of presents and with a flourish producing hot peppers and dog biscuits. That'll take the shine off a smiling kid real quick, not to mention the effect it'll have on their accompanying parents. Later when Santa was passing a restaurant and some people eating behind the window were laughing along with us, some Santas pressed their faces to the glass for a little ho ho ho. The last Santa to do so, who incidentally was dressed as "Santa Satan", deposited on the window a phelgmy spit ball summoned from his deepest Santaly depths. The couple behind the glass was left watching the ooze stream down the window not three feet from their faces. Amazingly, and typical of the effect that the most extreme Santa shenanigans would produce, they continued to laugh even then. But most of Santa's antics required less effort to laugh along with.
Soon enough we noticed that our parade was being followed by another, equally informal one: it was the San Jose police parade, strutting their stuff in finest form. Suddenly everywhere were police openly staring us down, hoping to cow a little of that Santa good cheer. In their own special way they seemed to be enjoying things much more than we were. But we were resilient.