Ok, this is an embarrassing one to admit. I guess that’s never stopped me before. I’m usually all “I’m a murderer” or “My spirit animal is a Pouter” or “I just found my first grey toe knuckle hair.” My Achille’s Heel has always been my oversight, so it’s not so surprising that some major, biological facts may have escaped my field of vision. I’ve been known to dismiss the existence of all vermin as having any conceivable impact on the food chain, so it’s not as if this is even a first offence.

Still, it’s pretty embarrassing.

Screen Shot 2015-11-05 at 5.42.22 p.m.
Not a mythical creature, it turns out! From Earthpix on Instagram

I didn’t know reindeer were real until I was 29. What?!? I found out before I turned 30, that has to count for something, right?

Truthfully, I’m not sure how it applies, but I’m willing to pull the J card since I feel like I’m being judged. I grew up as, like, the sole Jew in a town full of Santa worshippers. Somewhere in my cobbled together understanding of Christmas that I was able to grasp from my childhood friends and the songs from my people, the lines between fact and fantasy started to blend together. Elves (fake) sleigh (real) Santa (fake – I always knew) presents (oh so real) Santa’s Workshop (you mean sweatshop?! But yeah, it’s fake) and reindeer (fake).

That was my understanding of the facts, until my 29th year.

I was at work one day in early December, and my team, or as I affectionately knew them, my free-loading children (jokes! Nothing but love for ya), wanted me to take them to lunch. A local burger spot that had been known to give one the meat sweats just walking by had introduced a seasonal burger to their generally limited menu. I can’t recall all ingredients but I remember there being cranberry sauce and brie, so I deemed it fancy enough for my palette.

“I’ll have the reindeer burger,” I ordered confidently, assuming my choice bore a name that was merely reflective of the holiday cheer.

I don’t want to beat a dead horse here (ha!) but at some stage in the meal I found out I was actually eating reindeer. Within one sitting I was both convinced of their existence (which took some convincing – I was living in ignorance for 29 years) and devouring a member of the pack. It tasted like Christmas, you guys. I ate Rudolph.

So there you have it. Despite these delightful creatures living in America’s hat all these years, I had no clue they were real. I’m a believer now, though, and I’m so glad this animal exists outside of carting around a veritable fatty in Christmas stories.

It was tasty.


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