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From the Publisher's Desk – Santa's working under pressure (Dec. 31, 2014 issue)

Tis the season – to gain weight. It sure is hard to turn food down and I wouldn’t want to offend anyone. A few more pounds, and I can try out for a Santa role next year at the mall. I think that could be fun – for an hour or so.
I love to stand back and watch the lines of parents and children, waiting “patiently” for that brief moment to share the child’s Christmas wish list. Meantime, the parent must listen closely and coach the child before Santa gets the list, just in case it is out of his financial means.
It is like a conveyor belt of children to approach Santa, sit on his lap, give a brief wish list, smile for the photograph and be lifted off and scurried away. What stalls the conveyor belt is when a child gets to the jolly man and has no clue what they want or become speechless. Look kid, you’ve had an hour to think about it while waiting, so surely you have some idea.
If I were Santa for a day, I would have fun with it. Once a child told me their wish list, I would shake my head and say “You’re not getting that.” Maybe I would say, with the loud, Santa voice, “Ha, Ha, Ha, I’ve been watching you in line as you approached me and you’re the meanest kid I’ve seen all day. Better luck next year. In fact, I may come to your house and take back some from last year.” Wouldn’t that be fun?
Quite frankly, I find Santa frightening. Few people do the look justice with phony beards, fake boots and various misshappen bodies. I guess we all have our childhood photo on Santa’s lap. Mine is black and white. I’m in a coat, with the hood up that is surrounded by a fur ring around my forehead. I will admit, I was a fat toddler. I look like I could have been Santa’s son with my chubby, round face.
I heard a child in a local store a few days before Christmas this year. The child was asking for something that had caught their eye in the next aisle over. From that I heard a stern mother say “No, Santa will be here in just a few days.”
I love hearing the threats like “If you don’t behave Santa won’t bring you anything.”
I asked myself what Santa faces on this stressful night of delivery. It must be much worse than the UPS workers see any day of the year. Delivery only comes after a year of toy production in the North Pole. I looked up some statistics and found the following on ABCnews.com.
There are 2.2 billion children under 18 on the planet. But since most Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children do not expect a visit from Santa, 85 percent of the 2.2 billion kids get taken off the list.
Assuming there might be 2.5 kids in each home on Santa’s list. In those homes, there is probably at least one good kid. Assuming that there are approximately 132 times 10 to the sixth, that’s 132 million Christian homes worldwide. How much time does Santa actually have to do this job?
Well, if the 132 million homes are evenly distributed around the surface of the Earth and if Santa heads west in a kind of random, zigzag pattern, across 24 time zones — constantly staying in darkness as much as he can — he’d cover about 175 million land miles. He would have about 31 hours to do it. That’s 1,178 homes per second.
So when Santa arrives at each home, he has a scant 8/100,000 of a second to park the sleigh, heave himself down the chimney, fill the stockings, take care of the tree, eat the cookies, drink the milk, head back up the chimney and get back on the sled.
And the scene repeats itself every second. And Santa wouldn’t be Santa if he wasn’t carrying a huge sack of toys. If each child gets one toy, averaging 2 pounds each, that must be multiplied by 330 million children.
The total — 660 million pounds. And that does not include Santa himself who, on close inspection, is not thin. So that means somebody has got to haul a sleigh that weighs the equivalent of four times the tonnage of the Queen Elizabeth 2. So how many Rudolphs, Prancers, Dancers and Blitzens does it take to pull such a huge weight?
It’s a bit more than you might have heard in the past. It is estimated that Santa would need 220,000 reindeer to pull his sleigh.
Imagine 220,000 reindeer going at a speed that the reporting team calculated at 7,800 times the speed of sound. That would create a sonic boom that would wake up every child on the planet.
So what do you have to do to make Santa’s “nice list?” I tried to do some research on this matter. I actually found a website where you type in your name and it gives you a fast rundown of where you stand on the good/bad status.
My report showed I need to help out more around the house instead of watching so much TV. Are the drones watching me or something? Maybe I better give it my best effort. I wouldn’t want to receive this pre-warning and still come up short for 2015.
I am tired just thinking about my work list to receive my wish list. I am going to stop this column for now and have an herbal Dr. Enuf for some added energy. Fellow employee David Sheets got me started on those.
What is wrong with this screw off cap? Is it childproof? Dr. Enuf’s have the hardest bottle cap to get off. #@%%#!
Shhhh! Santa didn’t hear that. I just rechecked my status and got “Ho ho ho! Nice try, Keith. Thought you could slip one past the Big Guy, huh? Naughty.”
It is going to be a long year in 2015 of trying to behave.