05 December 2014

Yes, it’s that season of the year again. You can tell it’s Christmas because the Easter eggs are in the shops and the ocean cruise brochures are dropping through the letterbox. A jolly fat man is preparing toys for distribution and anxious husbands are racking their brains as to what to buy for their dearest one, or in some cases, their wife.
McSterMacSterLogoWebI overheard one just last week in a Perth department store while I was hanging around. The conversation went thus: Man: I want to buy a Christmas present for my wife. Glamorous Assistant: How about something nice in a negligee? Man: Okay, but let’s sort out the present first.
But what about the big man himself? Yes, Santa Claus or St Nicholas or Kris Kringle or whichever moniker you wish to ascribe to him. What do we know about him? Enough to trust him with getting our Christmas presents delivered on time? As they say now on the television adverts, it‘s all to do with Logistics.
McSterMacSterNewpicWebTo this end, poor Santa has to run the gauntlet of Civil Servants from Government agencies testing his abilities, the main one of which, of course, is being in charge of a guided missile. In other words his sleigh; yes, the same one he was so lucky to have satnavved for him on that fabled foggy night by the beast with the luminous nose a.k.a. Rudolph. The rules state very clearly: if you fly through the sky you must have a pilot’s licence and meet the requirements of an examiner from the Civil Aviation Authority.
Well, after my visit to Perth I made my way over the river to Scone and to the airport. Who do you think I met? Yes: it was Father Christmas himself. I was once frightened of him but I no longer suffer from claustrophobia so I watched the scene with interest.
The examiner from the CAA had arrived and was inspecting Santa’s paperwork very carefully. Then he checked out the structure of the sledge, walking slowly around it and kicking the runners as he went along. Next, he checked the harnesses, checked the reindeer’s feet, did some power/weight ratio calculations and generally gave the impression that he was happy with everything.
Then came the pilot evaluation. A smiling but nervous Santa climbed with some difficulty into the sledge, fastened his seatbelt, checked the gauge panel and said a few encouraging words to the reindeer. Then the examiner climbed on board and Santa was astonished to see that he was carrying a shotgun.
“What are you going to do with that?” asked Santa, with more than a little concern.
The examiner gave him a wink and said “Well, I shouldn’t really be telling you this, but you’re going to lose an engine on take-off.”
On behalf of Santa and his pals, may you have a happy and peaceful festive season. PS No animals were injured in the creation of this article.


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