Dramatic License

A weblog of thoughts, inspirations, experiences of, in and about live theatre, film, television, literature and other media.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Humor - Ain't Progress Grand?

Recently I was flipping through a stack of my father's papers trying to weed out what to keep and what to throw away. Since he passed away four years ago, my attic office has become overrun with boxes and boxes of his personal affects which I have not sufficiently weeded out. In the process of looking through this stack I found the following bit of Christmas humor.

I'm not certain where my dad got it. He may have written it, but the wording sounds more British than American. It seems to have been written sometime in the 1950s or 1960s although it was typed on an IBM Selectric typewriter. My mother had one after she went back to work in 1980. So the piece I found may be an early 80s copy of a much older original my dad must have had in his office for some time. It is still relevant today, though.


As far back as people can remember, Mr. Santa Claus had always run a very successful operation. His track record was absolutely perfect as an endless list of satisfied customers can attest. And he did it all by himself.

But, progress arrived. Now as he sits at his desk in a cement and glass headquarters at 1 North Pole Plaza, listening to Muzak and reading the Wall Street Journal, he contemplates some of the troubles he is encountering.

The American Heart Association has placed him in the “high risk” category. Too fat, overfed, and underexercised, he's been referred to Weight Watchers.

The feminist movement believes he is a chauvinist, keeping the job beyond the reach of women because of his insistence on a basso profundo “Ho, ho, ho!” Others argue he instills fear in children with the song, “You better watch out . . . Santa Claus is coming to town.” Senior citizens groups feel discriminated against, claiming the whole shtick favors the younger generation. The Women's Christian Temperance Union is trying to abolish all holiday spirits.

The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission is citing him for employing a disproportionate share of elves in the organization, while compliance officers charge he discriminates against elves by not promoting them. The Child Labor Division is investigating because “some of those elves look rather young.”

Congress has disclosed that Santa has violated a number of Federal laws. Calling for a “crackdown on this unconscionable situation,” the solons point out a number of alleged infractions. Among these charges are: 1) unlawfully competing with the U. S. Postal Service on airmail deliveries of parcels, 2) operating a flying sleigh without certification by the Civil Aeronautics Board, and 3) failing to obtain an Interstate Commerce Commission permit and assignment of certified routes by the ICC.

The Vehicle Safety Bureau is insisting on enforcement of its regulations requiring safety belts and impact balloons on the sleigh. The Environmental Protection Agency is concerned: “When you have eight lively reindeer prancing about without emission control devices there is bound to be some pollution.” The Anti-Cruelty Society has warned him about cracking a whip over the heads of the overburdened reindeer pulling an overloaded sleigh. To top it all off, the Teamsters are trying to organize the entire transportation department.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration feels that his delivery clatter may violate its 90 decibel noise standard. The Food and Drug Administration is complaining about food served in unlabeled stocking. The Justice Department is considering indictments. As one official stated, “Off the record, we've been told that this man is transporting dolls across state lines.”

Meanwhile, the government is threatening to socialize the entire activity and guaranteeing to every good-behavior man, woman, and child a minimum annual return, underwriting this ambitious program with a value-added tax on greeting cards, gift wrappings, and tuberculosis seals.

Another once-prosperous business operation has become one more unwitting contributor to broken dreams and political headaches.

Ain't progress grand? Here's wishing you all a very Merry Christmas this holiday season.