TALES OF DEAD SANTA
MONOLOGUE WRITTEN BY CLYDE LEWIS
Around the newsroom, we hear rumors about a lot of things. Many of the rumors are just rumors while others wind up being true. However, the task of taking a rumor and unveiling it as a fact is sometimes daunting. You want to make sure that you do not give out information before you are confident the information is true. Sometimes though, a rumor is harmless and if it is reported in context, can be intriguing.
There are many uncomfortable things that are discussed in a newsroom and politics creep in about Christmas as the majority of talk radio stations are conservative.
Now I have often positioned myself a being a-political and I try to avoid political discussions. The silliest political discussion during Christmas is whether or not you can say Merry Christmas in public. It is also awkward when someone goes out of their way to say Merry Christmas in a smug way – like it is a matter of getting in your face over it.
It is as awkward and embarrassing as an atheist that goes out of his way to tell there is no god.
The obvious reason for pushing the Merry Christmas meme is because uppity liberals are worried about people taking offense to the message. I remember back when I worked at a college I was told to not wear my Santa hat to the company Christmas party because some people would find Santa religiously offensive.
I was beside myself saying that Santa is a neutral Christmas character that represents the Winter festivals. It has nothing to do with Jesus or God and I don’t know if atheists even care if Santa shows up and spiked the egg nog at the Christmas party.
I know that if I have the power to reverse the damage that is done, but the more we squeeze the magic out of Christmas the more it becomes a drag and Santa may as well be dead.
The sad thing is that when the holidays arrive, there are a lot of trolls that believe that the vigilant Christmas Crusaders are worth nudging a bit. The unfortunate thing is that news networks like Fox News will not nudge – they give a full on shove and devote their time to something called “The War on Christmas.”
Fox News has single-handedly cornered the market on Christmas doom that it can be speculated that every year Rupert Murdoch and his team, led by Bill O’Reilly, get out the dry erase board and strategize the manner in which they will present the so called liberal plot to put a stake of holly through the heart of Christmas.
You would think that Christians laugh off the prospect as they take their vacations at the end of the year, while their Muslim and Jew counterparts don’t get Chanukah or Ramadan off for religious reasons, but they don’t laugh it off they take it very seriously.
In fact, there is a scary poll that was taken by the Chicago Tribune in 2006 that indicated the 68% of American Christians believe that there is a liberal conspiracy to destroy the Christmas holiday.
The frightening thing is that the very Christians that fear a liberal conspiracy against Christmas probably do not know that the biggest haters of the celebrations of Christmas were the early Christians that came to America.
In Boston, the Puritans outlawed Christmas in 1659. Although the ban was lifted in 1681, it once again fell out of favor in 1689. It wouldn’t even be considered a religious holiday until 1750’s and even then there would be no parties and no mention of the European traditions of the woodland demons and gnomes, especially Krampus, Santa and Belsnickel.
Back then, it was illegal to observe the non-religious Christmas traditions, in the United States and in parts of England.
I always hear arguments about how uptight people fearing the loss of Christmas think that decorated trees represent Christ – all because they are now called Christmas trees. It is also ignorant for people to think that Santa Claus is a representative of Christ or Christianity because he is associated with Christmas. The truth is that both are simply ancient representations of the celebration the Yule and Saturnalia.
Like it or not, the Christmas celebrations are well rooted in pagan ritual and while Christians celebrate the birth of Christ and demand that he is the reason for the season, the truth is that the Christmas festivities we observe now are a result of a country-wide depression after the Civil War.
By the early 1800’s, legends brought from Europe of Santa Claus and his protective nature of children and families were emphasized along with the celebration of Christ’s good deeds and events in his life. Alabama was the first state to legalize Christmas in 1836. Boston, Massachusetts legalized Christmas in 1856. It was illegal to recognize Christmas in the state of Oklahoma until a law was passed lifting the ban in 1907, which was 110 years ago.
The traditions of Christmas were very much part of a spiritual movement to remember the humble birth of Jesus. It is also well-known that many of the traditional pagan celebrations center on ghosts, monsters and demons that would show at the year’s darkest times.
As you probably know, the Yuletide celebrations clashed with biblical teachings and it was not a liberal conspiracy against the celebrations – but a pious one.
It was the Christian churches that frowned on Christmas, the outlawed the legend of Krampus, they would forbid Christmas parties, Christmas trees and Santa was forced into being a doppelganger for an old Catholic saint named Nicholas.
It is argued that the true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the Greek village of Patara. He was the Bishop of Myra, in Turkey and was a historic Christian saint.
His legendary habit of secret gift-giving gave rise to the traditional model of Santa Claus or Sinterklaas.
He died December 6, 343 AD.
December 6 marks Saint Nicholas Day, and some even say it is the beginning of the Christmas season; after all, it is the day after Krampusnacht and all of the children should all feel safe now that Krampus has crossed a few off of his naughty and selfish list.
December 6 is still the main day for gift giving in many countries in Europe. In other countries, the day of gifts was moved in the course of the Reformation and its opposition to the veneration of saints in many countries on the 24th and 25th of December.
Nicholas’ tomb in Myra became a popular place of pilgrimage. Because of the many wars and attacks in the region, some Christians were concerned that access to the tomb might become difficult.
So the bones of St. Nicholas have been moved many times and the final resting place became a mystery until recently.
Within the St. Nicholas Church lies a smashed grave that was once believed to hold the bones of St. Nicholas. In 1071, during the conquest of the region by Muslim Seljuq Turks, some Christians sought to bring the saint’s bones to a Christian territory. Sixteen years later, in 1087, Italian sailors stole the bones and transported them to Bari, Italy. Until this discovery, the remains of the beloved saint were believed to have been in Italy.
Excavation of the site is underway to unearth the possible remains of St. Nicholas.
It is a bit awkward to say this, but they have actually found the tomb of Santa Claus and they are now analyzing his bones for authenticity.
A new radiocarbon dating study by Oxford University researchers on a bone attributed to St Nicholas has been dated to around the 4th century CE, bringing us closer to uncovering the authentic remains of the original Santa.
The team from Oxford University has started the hunt for Santa’s bones by examining a small pelvis bone-fragment owned by Father Dennis O’Neill in Illinois, USA, who obtained the bone from Lyon in France. The lack of a full pelvis bone in the Bari collection inspired the Oxford team to try to analyze the authenticity of this relic.
The fact that the bones could indeed be dated to the period of St Nicholas is a major step forward in verifying that it may be an authentic relic.
To investigate further, archaeologists plan to carefully remove the mosaic tiles in large sections in order to access the area below. Until now, it was thought that Italian merchants removed the saint’s bones from his grave at the church in 1087, during the Crusades.
While we are being forced into the reality of a dead saint who for centuries has been paraded around as an icon for Christmas commercialism, we can also look into the grim reality of how the contemporary Santa would fare against the laws of physics.
First of all, it goes without saying that flying reindeer are improbable – and so far even with all the talk of genetic engineering there have not been any breakthroughs in creating flying reindeer or even reindeer with rhino lumens necessary to glow a bright red.
There are 300,000 species of living organisms yet to be classified, and while most of these are insects and germs, this does not completely rule out flying reindeer which only Santa has ever seen.
Then again, have we ever seen Santa? Sure, he is at the mall every year, but at the same time we see him shaking a bell for the Salvation Army, or another one on the corner playing an instrument for money.
The trick is trying to explain this to child without using the default explanation of Santa’s little helpers.
Now think of the billions of children in the world, at least those under 18. This is a heavy workload for Santa.
It is arguable that Santa delivers to Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist kids.
This would reduce the workload for sure.
According to census tallies that are an average rate of 3.5 children per household, that’s 91.8 million homes. One presumes there’s at least one good child in each.
Santa has 31 hours of Christmas to work with, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth, assuming he travels east to west which seems logical. This works out to 822.6 visits per second.
This is to say that for each Christian household with good children, Santa has 1/1000th of a second to park, hop out of the sleigh, jump down the chimney, fill the stockings, distribute the remaining presents under the tree, eat whatever snacks have been left, get back up the chimney, get back into the sleigh and move on to the next house.
Assuming that each of these 91.8 million stops are evenly distributed around the Earth, we are now estimating .78 miles per town county or province, that would be a total trip of 75½ million miles, not counting stops to do bathroom breaks, plus feeding the reindeer. This means that Santa’s sleigh is moving at 650 miles per second, 3,000 times the speed of sound. For purposes of comparison, the fastest man-made vehicle on earth, the Ulysses space probe, moves at a poky 27.4 miles per second — a conventional reindeer can run, tops, 15 miles per hour.
The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (two pounds), the sleigh is carrying 321,300 tons, not counting Santa, who is invariably described as overweight. On land, conventional reindeer can pull no more than 300 pounds. Even granting that “flying reindeer” (see above) could pull TEN TIMES the normal amount; we cannot do the job with eight, or even nine. We need 214,200 reindeer.
This increases the payload (not even counting the weight of the sleigh) to 353,430 tons. Again, for comparison, this is four times the weight of the Queen Elizabeth. 353,000 tons traveling at 650 miles per second creates enormous air resistance — this will heat the reindeer up in the same fashion as spacecraft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere. The lead pair of reindeer will absorb 14.3 QUINTILLION joules of energy…per second…each.
In short, they will burst into flame almost instantaneously, exposing the reindeer behind them, and create deafening sonic booms in their wake. The entire reindeer team will be vaporized within 4.26 thousandths of a second. Santa, meanwhile, will be subjected to centrifugal forces 17,500.06 times greater than gravity. A 250-pound Santa (which seems ludicrously slim) would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by 4,315,015 pounds of force.
Of course this would mean that Santa would wind up looking a pile of jelly rather than a bowl full of jelly.
I acknowledge that the reality of a Santa Claus is impossible using classical physics, but in a quantum sense Santa can be very real.
With the usage of paralleled processing, it can be theorized Santa has the ability to do the job he is said to do simultaneously. It is done in the same manner as sending an e-mail to multiple recipients at the same time. Years ago, this was unthinkable; today in a split second; you can deliver an e-mail to millions of people simultaneously without even having to leave your chair. How can anyone track the speed of that? The possibility to us is limited to the technological practice we take for granted.
There are fewer varieties of toys in the world than e-mail recipients and yet we can’t wrap our minds around the fact that in some future time line the simultaneous appearance of matter cannot be accomplished and yet an e-mail is a thought electronically sent and it is very possible that people in all time zones can receive it.
Fax machines a rarely used today, but there is an argument that can be made about one piece of paper being inserted in a machine in one place and having millions of copies coming out in offices all over the world received by people.
Now, if the next logical leap of science is to take that knowledge of parallel processing and bring it out of the computer and into our material world we can now see that the old traditional Santa Claus model is flawed but the new scientific progress can make the new Santa hypothesis closer to reality.
The fact that no one knows where Santa is at a particular moment in time makes him a perfect candidate for some elementary use of Heisenberg’s principle of uncertainty.
Consider this: On Christmas night, Santa is in a superposition of quantum states, smeared out all the way round the planet, and each quantum state delivers presents to a single child. This explains why it is so important that children are asleep, because if just one child sees Santa, he immediately collapses into a single state, in accordance with Heisenberg. So peeking in on Santa would freeze him in that small moment in time and that would mean that no other children would receive presents that Christmas.
This theory elegantly avoids all the flaws in the conventional theory.
Of course the smearing of Santa is similar to the manner in which an electron is “smeared out” within a certain distance from the nucleus in an atom. Thus he can, quite literally, be everywhere at any given moment. Another mind boggling theory is that there are also possibilities that Santa is entirely capable of arriving before he even leaves the North Pole. It would be possible to see two images of him and then he would take on the characteristics of tachyon particles.
Because a tachyon always moves faster than light, we cannot see it approaching. After a tachyon has passed nearby, we would be able to see two images of it, appearing and departing in opposite directions. Yes it is all hypothetical but so are Black Holes – well, they are still debating their purpose and whether or not they reveal anything about time and space.
This brings us back to that, ‘Many-Interacting Worlds Theory’ or the ghost universe proposition.
Quantum mechanics also allows for things to be transported great distances in little time, and could avoid the need for Santa to take to the skies at all.
Because their position isn’t a definite point but a wave spread out over space, particles can sometimes “tunnel” through barriers that, according to classical mechanics, they shouldn’t be able to pass.
Again, assuming Santa actually knows how to accomplish this (he does, after all, know when you are sleeping; he knows when you’re awake; he knows if you’ve been bad or good…), it would take a huge amount of energy to realize.
Using these convenient quantum entanglements, Santa could very well be alive and is probably the most intelligent quantum physicist today.