Elf Ed Zachary
It is the question that just won’t go away: How does Santa get around the world in one night?
I’ve never been one to understand how kids can ask this question. After all, Santa never fails to appear. I’ve lived through more Christmases than almost anyone and Santa has been there for every one of them. Every time. Without fail. He has never called in sick. He has never had anything else to do (and who else can say this during the holidays?). The man is the Energizer Bunny of Christmas. He is clockwork.
So I ask you — why question? With his track record, asking “why” with Santa is like asking if the sun is coming up tomorrow or if the Yankees will make the post season. It is going to happen and you cannot stop it. Take it to the bank. There is no question that there should be no question.
But the letters just keep coming in — day after day, year after year. I get it, of course. I don’t question it at all and I’m proud, as an elf, to say I never have. But you pesky kids just won’t let this one go. So I’ll give this another shot.
The answer, frankly, is right under your nose.
Seriously. Take just some time when you’re driving around with your Mom or your Dad and observe a little bit. Especially right now, before Christmas. Notice anything? Santa is everywhere.
Just for kicks and giggles, I did a random survey in a random location: Winnemucca, Nevada. (You can’t get any more random than that). Just from the vehicle I was able to count NINE places where Santa was making appearances there. Think about that. He was at the place they call a mall. He was at the Wal Mart. He was at the library, a local hotel and even at the city park. He was everywhere in that random little town.
How does he do that? I was in Winnemucca for 10 minutes and do you want to know why? Because that about covered it. I saw all there was to see. And yet Santa has the time for nine different places at once in that town. What a guy!
Of course, this doesn’t really answer the question and I know it. It actually broadens the question because now we have proof that Santa is in more than one place at a time on days other than Christmas eve night. The question seems more important than ever.
The answer, I think, is in the fact that everyone sees him in these places. When there is a sign saying Santa’s in the Wal Mart or he’ll be at some big event at the city park you never hear that Santa doesn’t show. In fact, it is quite clearly the opposite. Everybody sees him. They can touch him, talk to him and sit on his lap. It is kind of hard to call that questionable. He’s no illusion. He is here, there and everywhere and nobody dares to deny it. If one denies it everyone will say they are crazy.
You see, if Santa was listed at all of these places and just didn’t show up we would never question it. “Of course!”, we say to ourselves. “Santa was just overbooked. No doubt that he exists, he just can’t be in two places at the same time.”
And we don’t ever question it then. Questioning only happens when everyone sees Santa in multiple places all at one time. Then we question. How can Santa be here and there at the same time? And yet we see him. So we question it. How twisted is that?
Now, I know, I still haven’t answered the question. Hang with me, I’m just about there.
In order to understand this completely you need to go back in time. Forget everything you know about your life. Forget about leggos and Play Stations. Forget about bottled water and Slurpees. Forget about telephones, computers, email, instant messaging and on-demand television. In fact, forget about television, too.
Now, picture you’re a kid living in the American west in, oh, 1888 (let’s say Winnemucca, shall we?).
You go to bed after milking the cows with your Pa and hanging your stocking with your Ma and you fall asleep dreaming of getting…uh…a new pony for Christmas from Santa. In the middle of the night you wake up to get a drink of water and in the process you see Santa! Right there in your house, next to the wood stove and standing on the bare wood floors. Imagine that you can see Santa but he doesn’t know you’re peeking in on him.
Are you with me? Have we set the scene completely? Remember, you don’t know a thing about iPods or pasturized cheese or liquid soap. As a kid in the 19th century your world consists of keeping smelly stuff off your boots and taking a bath once a week. Your closest companions are several head of cattle, a couple of sheep and your old dog Shep. You get up at the crack of dawn, work the fields all day with Pa and drive to town looking at the backside of a horse.
Then, when what to your wondering eyes should appear but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer…and Santa Claus talking on a cell phone!
Now, I ask you, if you’re a 19th century kid witnessing this scene will you know that thing Santa is talking into is in fact a cell phone? Would you even know what a phone is? Probably not. Kids are the same in every age and when Santa is caught in the act of being Santa the usual reaction is akin to wetting your pants: shock, surprise, and a nice warm feeling. Santa could be standing there wearing a suit made of lettuce and chocolate pudding and you’d never notice because, hey, it’s Santa.
But you’re a 21st century kid and you know everything, just as any kid in any age thinks he knows everything.
But you don’t know everything, kiddo. I’m telling you here and now, just as a 19th century kid would be blown away by a cell phone a 21st century kid would be blown away by the technology Santa uses to get around the world in one night, even to random places like Winnemucca.
So there is your answer and I know what you’re going to say — cop out!
But, honestly, this isn’t a cop out. I didn’t say Santa was using magic or pixie dust or any of that kind of stuff that Dads sometimes say when explaining Santa. There is a completely logical explanation for the global Santa miracle. You’re just too behind the times to understand it.
Look at it this way — years from now, when your great grandkids are living in a suburb of Winnemucca, they won’t question how Santa gets around the world in one night. No, they’ll question how he gets around the world in a minute.