Some think that Santa has it made. Don't you believe it. He has more than his share of mind-boggling problems.
If you could pick any job in the world what would it be? My first choice was Santa Clause. Jolly old Santa gets to spend over 360 days of the year in his workshop without any bosses. He gets to play with the toys, play tricks on the elves, and even play golf if he wants to. On Christmas Eve, he gets to go for a ride, peddle the toys, and eat all the goodies that kids leave by the fire.
Two years ago, I wrote to the North Pole and submitted a bid to become Santa's intern. Being retired, I could do it for free. Being much younger than Santa, I could fill in if his arthritis got so bad that he couldn't handle the reigns. With such great credentials, they couldn't refuse my entreaty.
Once I reported for duty, here's what I found.
1. The North Pole is too cold for playing much golf and computerized golf games don't do a thing for my swing.
2. Santa's facility doesn't have ski lifts, and his equipment for packing the snow tends to break down by the time he smoothens his own landing strip. That creates problems. Loose snow creates too much drag on the sleigh skids. To compound the problem, Rudolf and his buddies refuse to take off if there's too much soft snow on the runways
3. Mrs. Santa has just filed a sex discrimination suit claiming that she is the only one at the North Pole that has to work every day of the year. With luck, her case will get to the Supreme Court by 2023. In the meantime, she is conducting a slowdown.
4. Because of Mrs. Santa cutting back on her labors, the elves are complaining that they're underfed. Fortunately, a few female elves pitched in and started helping out in the kitchen.
5. In quest of equality, a few of the males pitched in. That didn't last. Most of them were as inept as in-training army cooks.
6. Santa Claus has to go on a diet for 364 days of the year. He puts on so much weight munching on goodies left by the kids that the reindeer are having more and more trouble moving the sleigh. For a while, Santa thought about skipping the snacks but he got so many complaints from the kids that he went back to his gluttonous ways. It seems as though the kids thought that they didn't get their fair share of toys when Santa left their offerings behind.
Mrs. Santa complained that he didn't spend enough time shopping for her. His standard reply was "What gift can I get for someone with everything she ever desired?" That didn't cut it. Even Mrs. Santa expects her husband to be a mind reader.
All Santa knows is that the Mrs. complains when he gives her knickknacks because they require too much dusting. Candies make her put on weight and she prefers to choose her own clothes. In 1903, he gave her a black nightie. That didn't work. She ended up accusing him of ulterior motives.
The worst hit of all came when "church versus state" zealots tried to purge him from history. They claimed that he was a stand-in for Jolly Saint Nick. . They also claimed that Santa was upstaging Darth Vader.
Why did the Zealots pick on poor Santa? Some say they're skinflints and don't want to buy gifts. Others contend that they think that receiving is much more gracious than giving. The majority, however, just like to get their pictures taken while picketing Santa. For their moment of fame, they pay a high price. They get coal in their stockings instead of nice gifts.
Yes, Santa has problems. I no longer opt for his job. This Christmas, I'll stay inside for the entire season and let Santa put up with the blizzards and cold.
(c) Henry L. Lefevre, 2004