Waaaaaaaaaaay back when I was five or six, I accompanied my friend Ben to Catholic Sunday school. It was about this time of year, and the teacher was concerned about the values being taught by all the secular primetime TV specials. She assembled a montage of scenes from Rudolph The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, The Sorcerer's Apprentice from Fantasia, and yes, even Night of the Living Dead. After watching this, we had a discussion about how life can only be imbued by God while a person is still in the womb. "Where does the intelligence come from?" she asked us, "Who is controlling the misfit toys? And for what evil purpose?"
I spent most of my childhood thinking that somehow, Frosty was being manipulated by some malign horror with the voice of Burl Ives.
Anyway, I don't know what happened to the teacher, but when Ben was about seventeen, he put 600 miles on his parents' car over the course of a weekend, "trashed the house" (in their words), and disappeared. A couple of years later he showed up at their house having spent some time living in Canada with his real father, after which he made his way to California. He checked himself into a Betty Ford Clinic to kick the kind of habits that you've only heard of in movies, and even had the certificate to prove that be'd been rehabilitated. As far as I know it didn't last very long. I just looked him up online on a whim, and he's still in Wisconsin, still close by, but I think I'll just leave him alone.