(There are only THREE SHOPPING DAYS LEFT before Christmas! But HEY! it’s also Flashback Sunday! That means you have a decision to make: You can either leave now and ensure the happiness of those you love by joining the hordes of desperate shoppers fighting over the last copy of Battlefield 4, OR you can stay here and read this week’s Flashback, secure in the knowledge that your back-up present — Beyonce’s new album — will be available as a free gift with any purchase of a Happy Meal starting Christmas morning. Whichever you choose, please be careful…)What makes email great is that it’s so darned easy to use. For example: If you come across something that absolutely HAS TO BE SEEN by everyone you know — like say a picture of a cat doing chin-ups — you can simply click a button and send it to 100 people. Or in the case of my favorite aunt who still hasn’t mastered this process, you can send that very same knee-slapping picture to one person — such as your favorite nephew — 100 times.
The reason I bring this up is because, if not for email, I sincerely doubt someone from Midland, Mich., would’ve gone to the trouble of sending me a photo of 176 Santas standing on the deck of a fishing boat off the coast of Greenland (And YES, this is primarily the kind of email I get.)
I should mention that we were one of 50 newspapers that received the photo, which was part of an announcement letting people know that classes at the Charles W. Howard Santa Claus School had come to an end.
Now, opening my email at 5:45 in the morning to find a pack of wild Santas waving champagne glasses at me from the bow of a fishing boat was enough to make me re-start my computer AND swear-off watching any more claymation Christmas cartoons after 9 p.m. However, it wasn’t enough to keep me from visiting the school’s website in order to find out the connection between Michigan, 176 wild Santas, and what must’ve been the strangest cruise ship experience this side of Orlando.
What I discovered was that the photo was taken during the first-ever Santa Summit in Northern Greenland, where men and women from 13 different countries — including the U.S. — came together to exchange ideas, drink too much, and get stuck in the chimneys of local villagers. This would explain why all 176 Santas were apparently confined to a large fishing boat and taken out to sea.
It also explains why Greenland, a peace-loving country that has no military of its own and proudly proclaims it has never waged war on anyone, recently passed a resolution allowing persons dressed as Santa to be attacked by snow dogs and/or harpooned on sight.
No questions asked.
Given that all three of my questions had been answered, the safe thing to do would have been to delete the photo and get back to work. But as we all know, the Internet can be a dangerous place, particularly for those who are impressionable, unsupervised, and not facing a deadline. As a result, I discovered some interesting mathematical equations about Santa’s yearly trip around the world.
To begin with, Santa actually has 31 hours to work with on Christmas Eve, thanks to the different time zones and the rotation of the earth. Considering that Santa is able to deliver an estimated 91.8 million presents in that amount of time, I really have no business whining about going to Wal-Mart and having my dozen or so presents wrapped for me while I sit across the street drinking coffee at Starbuck’s. In addition, for Santa to make all of his stops by Christmas morning, he must fly at speeds in excess of 650 miles per second — or roughly 3,000 times the speed of light.
Given that the air resistance would be similar to a space craft re-entering the earth’s atmosphere, we can safely assume that Rudolf and the rest of Santa’s reindeer would burst into flames and cause a sonic boom loud enough to knock the top ornament off of every Christmas tree on the planet.
Santa, meanwhile, would be pinned to the back of his sleigh by a gravitational force about 17,500 times stronger than Earth’s gravity.
Of course, this is all just speculation.
Odds are, he might not make it passed Greenland.