Voices | Bella English

Claus in crisis

You think you’ve got problems? Santa has a sleighful.

By Bella English
December 7, 2009

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I grew up in simpler times, when Santa just hitched up the reindeer, threw the sack in the sleigh, and hopped on, delivering gifts all over the place. But the world has gotten much more complex.

Just the other day, the American Medical Association released a study showing Santa’s body mass index to be “dangerously high’’ at 30 percent, which makes him obese, which puts him at high risk for a heart attack, which means he should not be flying at high altitudes.

Not only that, but Lou Dobbs on his radio show recently suggested that Santa, because he lives in the North Pole, is not a US citizen and therefore should not be allowed to fly over our country, much less land on rooftops. He’s asked the Immigration and Naturalization Service to look into the matter.

OSHA is said to be studying Santa’s sleigh. “Flying in an open sleigh could be hazardous,’’ an agency spokesman said. “We’ve had reports of packages falling out and hitting people. A fruitcake alone could do major damage to our infrastructure.’’

Last year, the FAA got reports that Santa was flying erratically. According to one source, Santa denied that he was texting but admitted that he was consulting his GPS to determine where, exactly, Possum Kingdom, S.C., was.

This just in: At the opening of the Copenhagen climate talks yesterday, a special session was called to discuss a newly discovered greenhouse gas. “It seems that reindeer droppings from the long flight give off methane, adding to the monumental climate gas problem,’’ said one noted scientist. A committee is studying whether to charge Santa a new carbon emissions tax, which will, of course, be passed along to consumers.

Speaking of reindeer, PETA is protesting the lengthy work hours of the reindeer, whose journey spans many time zones. The animal rights group is also looking into reports that Rudolph was targeted for bullying by the others not because of his red nose but because he is gay.

Meanwhile, Dasher has denied rumors that he tested positive for anabolic steroids, but he has refused to take a lie detector test.

Santa is having trouble with the elves, too. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission has ruled that Santa must open his workshop to people of all sizes. The restive elves are said to be balking at their working conditions, which include ergonomically incorrect work stations and the requirement of “curly toed’’ shoes that have caused Morton’s neuromas, hammer toe, and plantar fasciitis.

“And Santa is asking us to triple the production of Zhu Zhu Pets Hamster Mr. Squiggles,’’ fumed one elf, who asked to remain anonymous. “This is one of the more obnoxious toys we’ve worked on.’’ The elf said his colleagues are in discussions with the Teamsters.

Mrs. Claus has apparently decided to skip her annual ritual of appearing on cards in her rocking chair with a gray bun, apron, and granny glasses. “I’ve had it!’’ she revealed in this week’s National Enquirer. “I’m not sewing one more freaking elf costume!’’ She reportedly wants to move out of the marital residence: “I’m tired of looking at Russia from my window.’’

When asked for reaction, Dr. Phil called it a “teachable moment’’ for men everywhere. He also recommended counseling for the couple.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has banned Santa’s signature red suit, saying that it isn’t flame-resistant - a particular hazard given all the chimneys he descends. Since Mrs. Claus has quit sewing, it was unclear what Santa would do this year.

It’s not just Santa and his staff who have run afoul of regulations. The Environmental Protection Agency is calling for an end to cutting down Christmas trees, citing the dangers of deforestation. Those trees, said Al Gore, emit life-giving oxygen, vital to the survival of all forest animals, such as the northern spotted owl.

In a wide-ranging interview, Santa expressed dismay at all the trouble and issued this warning: “You better not pout, you better not cry.’’ He also said he resented being stopped at sobriety checkpoints along his US route.

As for his marital problems, he refused to verify reports that he had left his home in the wee hours, driving the sleigh into a fire hydrant and tree. “It’s a private matter,’’ he said.

He did, however, concede that he is trying to lose weight and asks that children leave rice cakes and water instead of cookies and milk this year.