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Frosty and Rudolph, zen masters


It's Christmastime and I've been thinking about Frosty and Rudolph. They're my heroes this time of year. Frosty is clearly a Buddhist who understands living directly, impermanence and reincarnation. I sing along with feeling to the refrain, "Let's run and have some fun now before I melt away." I like having fun myself, but then the song reminds me that I'm going to melt away, too. Frosty's amazing. He shows no fear, responds to impending death with joyfulness toward life. Maybe it's his belief in reincarnation that gives him this attitude. He's so sure he'll be back again that he even comforts those who will grieve for him.

And then there's Rudolph. I don't know how he holds up. With most Christmas songs, I sing along until my voice gets hoarse, but when I hear the song about Rudolph, I can't give myself fully to the words. I don't think I like those other reindeer. They picked on him until they needed him, before fog was an issue. (This itself is a curious point. Hadn't Santa encountered fog before? Is it possible for the entire planet to be fog-free for an entire night?) Anyway, they were happy to laugh at him and then go flying around the world, leaping from rooftop to rooftop while he was alone on the North Pole with all those sleepy elves. Didn't this make Rudolph angry? I've come up with my own words for the final phrase in his song:

Then all the turncoats loved him

They shouted and they made a fuss

Rudolph the red nose reindeer

We'll love you if you serve us.

Or am I jaded? Were the reindeer truly concerned that children would miss out on gifts at Christmas? Did their hearts suddenly burst open and bring the realization that their mission was one of giving? Did they apologize to Rudolph? I don't see this in the song.

If I were Rudolph, I might be inclined to spend my time with the elves who, being a bit odd themselves, embraced Rudolph's differences from the start. (No, this isn't in the song, it's conjecture on my part.) But there's no bite in Rudolph. No vengefulness, no superior attitude. He remains humble. He seems grateful to lead the sleigh. I don't know where he gets his strength.

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