Monday, November 17, 2008
“All Santa wants this Christmas is for kids to lose a few of those extra pounds”, reads the opening line to an article published today by the Calgary Herald, which you can read here.
The prevalence of childhood obesity has indeed been increasing dramatically in the recent past, giving rise to global concern. But who knew that the childhood obesity epidemic would have an impact on how Santa Claus does business? Apparently, if you are a “pudgy” rather than “svelte” kid Santa Claus may still come to your town, but he is unlikely to have you sit on his lap, suggests the article.
The official Santa Claus manual of operating procedures, as developed by Victor Nevada, who has portrayed jolly St. Nick for over 2 decades, has recently been updated to include specific procedures on dealing with morbidly obese children. This new chapter warns against allowing obese children to sit on Santa’s lap to avoid possible damage to Santa’s knees and back – problems which Santa is already prone to on account of carrying heavy sacks of toys and climbing up and down chimneys. Instead, when faced with an obese child, all Santas are instructed by Nevada to “bring them in close and establish a bond.”
Thus, obese kids, who already endure tremendous discrimination are now also instructed by St. Nick, as the song may soon go, ‘to be lean for goodness sake.’ This instruction is particularly hypocritical coming from Santa. All joking aside, I find it astonishing how many aspects of society are affected by our collectively burgeoning waistlines – from the size of plane seats, and now apparently to a weight cut-off for Santa’s knee.
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