Pleased to meet you, Rudolph. You know, you’re possibly the most popular reindeer ever. But that wasn’t always the case, was it?
No, I had an unhappy calfhood. I wasn’t exactly bullied, but I felt very unwanted. The others wouldn’t let me play their reindeer games.
And all because of your nose?
I was the laughing stock. And it made me terribly self-conscious. You know how teenagers feel when they have a zit on their nose? It was a thousand times worse!
How did you cope?
You develop a thick skin in the end. I said to myself I didn’t want to play their stupid games anyway. It was actually untrue – I was dying to play. But being a loner means you mature a lot quicker, I think. You know what their favourite game was? Sardines. So silly! Besides, reindeer are useless at sardines. I took up golf instead. But that was a bit of a disaster too. The very first day I crashed the buggy so I had to get off and hoof it. Then they accused me of wreaking havoc with the green and told me not to come back.
But it all changed one day. What happened?
I was out walking on my own one night, feeling sorry for myself, when a man came up and said, ‘That’s just what I need! A nose that glows!’ He was so excited I thought he was going to cut it off there and then. But he asked if I wanted to join his team to guide them. So instead of following their nose, they’d follow mine. Then he introduced himself – Santa Claus! Well, I thought I was dreaming. A miserable outcast one minute, Santa’s head reindeer the next!
A life-changing opportunity indeed. But you took it in your stride?
It was nerve-wracking to begin with. It’s a huge responsibility. I was terrified I’d screw up. I imagined children everywhere howling, ‘That’s not what I asked for!’ Smashing Barbie dolls to bits, stamping on Darth Vader. But it all went OK and now I’ve got used to it, I find it much less stressful.
And what advice would you give to other reindeer?
Remember it’s no big deal if they won’t let you play sardines. However hostile the world might seem, one day your fortunes will look up. So don’t cut off your nose to spite your face. And above all, join me now in wishing everyone a
A short while ago, my interviewee, Red Velvet Cake, so impressed me that I just had to try it myself. Unlike Lili’s original, mine wouldn’t win a beauty pageant but everyone agreed it was scrumptious. Putting on the topping reminded me why I never became a plasterer, and nor would I be much use with shop letters. As soon as the C went on, I realised I should have gone for Xmas instead. M complained vigorously in its best Judi Dench accent: ‘Call this a cake? More like the Piccadilly Line at rush hour.’ To which the second S retorted, ‘Consider yourself lucky! What about me, clinging on for dear life?’ In short, everyone got a bit irritable, but in the end the Christmas spirit prevailed, and the main thing is that you get the message, sincerely sent from Red Velvet Cake and me to all of you!