Santa No Longer A Secret

TAKING NOTE

MY FELLOW STUDENTS, I write these words with a heavy heart. Just as Woodward and Bernstein were torn with agony when they had to reveal that our government was corrupt, so do I suffer.

I shall endure, nevertheless, for it is my duty as a journalist to tell you that there is no Santa Claus.

Before you tear up this paper or crumple it and throw it into the allconsuming fires of ignorance, I hope you will look at the evidence I am about to present, and decide for yourself. I first began to have my doubts about the existence of "Saint Nick" a few Decembers ago, when I realized that I never got the presents I asked for in my letters. Each time I tore open a package expecting my Uzi, I found instead the He-Man/She-Ra Adventure Set, or a pair of socks. I asked my parents about this disparity, but they simply shrugged and said that Santa couldn't always cater to every child's needs.

The second damning clue came to me one day as I was walking through a local K-Mart and came face to face with Father Christmas sitting on a hideous, gaudy throne, and holding two squalling children in headlocks as they had their pictures taken. I accosted him and demanded to know what he was doing wasting his time in a second-rate retail store in Roanoke, Va., with Christmas so close at hand. "Second-rate Santas have to bring in the dough somehow," was all he could manage.

This rude shock paled in comparison to the one I got 20 minutes later, when I entered a Woolco and saw another Santa. This one declared that the other one was an impostor sent by the Heat Miser to destroy him, but be did not convince me in the least. He was Vietnamese, and could not have weighed over 130 pounds.

From that moment, I began to do a little research of my own--with some unsettling finds. I started by investigating the man himself. FBI files show that there is no "Santa Claus" living anywhere in North America. The one "Chris Cringle" I was able to locate is an inmate in a Flat Pig, Missouri, insane asylum. Perhaps Santa lives in the North Pole, you say. Guess again. Military satellite photos of the icecap have shown no evidence of Santa's workshop anywhere above the 66th parallel. A brief glimmer of hope for believers occurred in 1958, when a NATO radar team on patrol spotted a large mansion and toy factory. However, experts soon discovered this "Christmas Kingdom" to be nothing more than an abandoned Soviet missile tracking station.

STILL NOT CONVINCED? After hours of exhaustive interviews with zoologists and anthropologists, I have learned that elves do not exist; never have, never will. If you are shocked by that, then hold on: reindeer cannot fly. This was proven in an experiment conducted in a Norwegian fjord in 1908 by the noted Swedish doctor Sven Svensen. The only results were 15 dead reindeer and a mob of angry Lapland herders.

And what if reindeer could fly? Even the smallest sled or troika weighs at least 500 pounds; and "Santa Claus" could not weigh in at under 220, even in the off-season. Moreover, if Santa were to take as many as 1000 trips, he would still have to carry at least 458,000 toys with him every time he took flight. Weighing these factors against the pull of eight reindeer (even nine, counting Rudolph), we see that each animal would have to produce more than 35,000 pounds per square inch of thrust. If that is so, then these eight or nine horned mammals pack more horsepower than all the NATO fighter planes in Europe put together.

If you are still holding out, consider these questions. What if Santa Claus did have reindeer, and could fly? How could he possibly cover seven continents in 12 hours of darkness, and slide down 17 million chimneys? He would have to move at relativistic speeds. Rudolph's nose would be redshifted into uselessness.

Perhaps the most convincing evidence is provided by the U.S. Postal Service. Electronic tracers were put on an envelope addressed to Santa Claus. The letter did not reach the North Pole, and was, in fact followed to a dumpster in Duluth, Minn. Doubtless Santa would not choose to live in a dumpster. Especially in Duluth.

It's time you face facts, people. Santa Claus, along with Rudolph and Hermie and even Yukon Cornelius, is nothing but a myth. He does not exist, so stop worrying about what kind of cookies to leave for him. It's wasted energy. Save it for the Easter Bunny.