I really don't have the right to complain. As an Elf I have certain responsibilities because of the Commitment we made, and I must meet those. That isn't the problem.
Before I go on, I'd like to address another matter. You may have seen something like this, purporting to explain why Santa Claus isn't possible.
There are approximately two billion children (persons under 18) in the world. However, since Santa does not visit children of Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, or Buddhist religions (except maybe in Japan), the workload for Christmas night is 15% of the total, or 378 million. At an average of 3.5 children per household, that comes to 108 million homes, presuming there is at least one good child in each. Santa has about 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones.
Santa sent that to all us Elves in an e-mail with the comment, "Ho, ho, ho!"
That works out to 967.7 visits per second. So, Santa has around a thousandth of a second to park the sleigh, hop out, jump down the chimney, fill the stocking, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left for him, get back up the chimney, jump into the sleigh and get onto the next house.
Assuming each of these 108 million stops is evenly distributed around the earth, we are now talking about 0.78 miles per household. That's a total trip of 75.5 million miles, not counting bathroom stops or breaks. This means Santa's sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second -- 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest vehicle ever made, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second, and a conventional reindeer can run (at best) 15 miles per hour.
Traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance. It would heat up the reindeer in the same fashion as a spacecraft reentering the earth's atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer would absorb 14.3 quintillion joules of energy per second each. In short, they would burst into flames almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them and creating deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team would vaporize within 4.26 thousandths of a second, or right about the time Santa reached the fifth house on his trip.
Not that it matters, however, since Santa, as a result of accelerating from a dead stop to 650 miles per second. in 0.001 seconds, would be subjected to acceleration forces of 17,000 g's. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of the sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force, instantly crushing his bones and organs and reducing him to a quivering blob of pink goo. Therefore, if Santa did exist, he's dead now.
Anyone familiar with the facts, of course, finds this absurd. First, the Christmas spirit isn't limited to Christians or to children. Everyone knows that. I guess the writer assumed it to make his calculations work out.
Beyond that, though, the writer assumes Santa does all the deliveries himself. Does he also think Bill Gates writes all the programs that Microsoft sells? If so, then he could determine that it couldn't be. For example, Windows 2000 is going to be about 26,000,000 lines of code. Writing that in two years means writing around one line of code every two seconds, 24 hours a day. Clearly Mr. Gates couldn't do that. Of course as we all know there are thousands of Microsoft employees who are also involved.
Humans used to know about us Elves, and have a good relationship with us, but now they only seem to remember us around this season. That makes us very sad. Anyway, with the hundreds of millions of us Elves helping, Santa can easily handle the delivery as well as the production during the year.
Similarly, the writer obviously knows little about reindeer, but I won't even get into that. Overall, the anonymous person who wrote this clearly has done no research at all or he would know that we have kept up with the times. How does he think we construct all the computers and talking dolls and such? I myself am an expert in the magic that makes computer modem chips work.
Really, I don't mind that story about Santa. It's kind of amusing. My real complaint is what I've noticed going on lately. After living nearly 10,000 years, I thought I'd seen it all. I've watched as humans went from rock-throwing hooligans to spear-toting bullies to iron-forging thugs.
Then, a couple of thousand years ago, we Elves had great hopes. Quite a few people actually started talking about people's rights and how we all ought to get along. They even suggested ways to decide what to do in difficult situations, such as considering whether you'd like the same thing done to you. That's a powerful method of delving into other people's minds since we all know how we feel inside.
So, two thousand years ago we made our Commitment and threw in our lot with the celebration that happens around this time of year. Back then we had many other irons in the fire, of course.
Now you must understand that I'm only speaking for myself here, not for the Council of Elf Elders or for the entire Elf population. But I've kept my ears open (they're rather large, even for an Elf), and I have to admit quite a few of us are upset with the behavior we've seen over the last century.
I haven't mentioned this to Santa, of course. Even as busy as he is, he always has time for any of us Elves, so I could talk to him about it, but it would just break his heart. He only works closely with humans around this time, and people know they better watch out since he's coming to town. He only sees the best in humanity, and he sees that the best is so very good.
But we Elves are getting discouraged. We can't understand why it is so hard for people to always be at their best instead of just when they know they're being watched. Why can't they live and let live? Why are they so violent?
As I said, at the moment I don't have the right to complain since we agreed to help this movement toward goodness. But I want you to know that we can break the Commitment. If you don't straighten up and fly right, we're going to reconsider in the next thousand years or so.
Meanwhile, of course, we'll keep making our contribution toward peace on earth. I hope you have a great holiday. Look for my reindeer and me around your house in a few days. And thanks for the milk and cookies!
-- Jakob Hobbit (no relation)