IT won’t work.
This is 2003. There are regulations, rules, national boundaries, for heaven’s sake. It’s sad to say, but Santa Claus is doomed.
For a start, I doubt he has the visas. I mean do you know how long it takes to get a visa to enter Australia!
He’d need to be filling in the forms for next year on Christmas Day last year! Except that he’d be wasting his time. He’d never get a work permit. There must be dozens of old blokes with beards and — most importantly — Australian citizenship, who could do what he does.
Possibly better. He gave my grandson a little wooden train last year and the funnel fell off. I thought about complaining to the Office of Fair Trading, but I know his lawyers will argue that it isn’t work because he doesn’t get paid.
They’ll have to do better than that, though. If Santa had set up his workshop in Townsville he’d be so busy complying with the legislation that he wouldn’t even have had time to say Yo, Ho, Ho!
Have you seen those little elves? Not a pair of safety goggles between them! Not a face mask or an ear plug, to say nothing of accident report forms.
And what about the reindeer? You couldn’t treat a dumb animal like that in Queensland without having the RSPCA taking a keen interest. They’d need regular stops and nutritious meals every few miles. Christmas Eve would go on for a month.
Either that, or the Animal Liberation Front would liberate Rudolph and Christmas would founder.
Just as well really, because, volunteer organisation or not, can you imagine the writs. You can’t just sit children on your knee any more and offer them presents — even if you really are Santa Claus — without getting into serious trouble.
And what about all those middle-aged adults with scarred psyches because they woke up on Christmas morning and found nothing in their sock but a piece of coal.
You spend a whole year trying to be good only to have your world — and your life — shattered by an old bloke with a beard who misread Frances for Francis.
Added to which there’s a middle-aged Francis out there somewhere who’s working out that the cross-dressing started only after he found a dolly in his sock.
What amazes me is that we’ve swallowed it for so long. I mean, the scientists sounded the death knell for religious belief more than 100 years ago when they worked out that people were made in the image of apes, not God (unless, of course, apes are made in the image of God, too).
How much more implausible is Santa! Great Scott, we know how long it takes to get from The Strand to Thuringowa in a six-cylinder car, which is about 300 horsepower. How much longer is it going to take Santa to circle the globe with a team of eight reindeer that would have to be on drugs to do even Charters Towers in one night!
We are losing our dreams! The only way to save them is to keep up with the times. I propose a Santa Claus in charge of a factory of Japanese elves, wearing a Lycra body suit (to cut down wind resistance) and who has retired the reindeer in favour of a vertical take-off Hawker Harrier jet.
They might take him out over Iraq, but you can’t have everything.