Tuesday, December 16

Ashes To The North Pole

My son is 10 years old. I am ready to give up the Santa Claus thing. I think he's already given it up, but is smartly playing it because he theorises that it means more gifts.

So, how to find out he's given up the jolly ghost without blowing it if he hasn't? Any ideas?

When I was a kid, I don't know how old exactly, but young enough to still believe, my older brothers stole my letter to Santa and took it outside. I followed, frantically trying to grab it back. My brothers held the letter out, and lighted it on fire. It burned to bits, the ashes floating here and there. I wailed. My brothers told me that this was the best way to get your letter to Santa. The ashes magically find their way to the North Pole.

I may have believed in Santa, but I knew a load of bull when I heard it. I knew there was no way to get all those ashes back together. How would Santa know I wanted a slinky if the ashes were strewn over our back yard? I wailed.

Well, I thought, this year, I'll pull the same story on Cameron. I'll threaten to burn his list. If he gets upset then I'll know he still believes. If he doesn't then chances are he's beyond Santa.

Out in the yard we go, me with the little propane lighter, him with his list. I tell him we're gonna burn his list. He doesn't comprehend this, mostly, I assume, because it's a ludicrous and foolish idea. So, I explain carefully the reason behind this technique of letter delivery. The ashes magically find their way to the North Pole. As I explain, I'm looking closely at his reactions to see him smirk or wink or anything that'll clue me in to where he's standing on Santa. Nothing. Nothing, that is, except "Cool, let's torch it."

Up it goes, in flames. No wailing. No worrying that his list won't get to Santa.

There you have it. Proof he no longer believes.



Alan said...

That is the custom in Scotalnd where you do that up the chimney much to the consternation of Fire Departments.

Calico Cat said...

First of all, your brothers are complete bastards. How dare they spoil your joy of Santa ignorance.. On a parental note..
Do what I did, just elbow your kid and laugh how a complete fool the wife is in perpetuating how ludicrous the red guy with the big bag myth is..
I still chuckle with my daughter how mom believed in Santa long after WE did.
Calico the pimp, there is no business like Ho business,,,

dave s said...

dear god! what do you people do when you're angry?!
my dis-belief in santa was a gradual and (god forgive me for using this word) organic thing. it just happened because, over time, i was able to put the clues together.
you say that you're ready to pull the plug on santa, but is your son? you write about how the burning of the letter made you wail. why cause a trauma when it's not necessary?
why not just stop making reference to santa? just carry on with whatever your family does xmas-wise, but drop the santa talk. your son will figure it out by himself. if he asks you questions about sanata's existence, then he's opening up a conversation about it, and he's willing to talk about it. i'm sure he's heard stuff from the other kids at school too.
if you don't want to wait it out, then have a conversation with him, telling him that sanata is symbol of the spirit of xmas (not the commercial part, but the part about giving of yourself, and the part about friendship and family).
i hate to say it, rob, but you brothers did a nasty thing to you. i hope this xmas you give them what they deserve --- revenge. you know, stop by, set their homes on fire, and tell them that the ashes will magically find their way to the insurance company.

Matt said...

Wait a second. What's this about Santa not being real?

Cyn said...

Dave S. is a smart boy, and such an organic thinker. Everything he said, I say too.

Cyn said...

But if you need to explain to Cameron why Santa is not, or can not exist, consider the following:
1) No known species of reindeer can fly. BUT 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.
2) There are 2 billion children (persons under 18) in the world. BUT since Santa doesn't (appear) to handle the Muslim, Hindu, Jewish and Buddhist children, that reduces the workload to 15% of the total - 378 million according to Population Reference Bureau. At an average (census) rate of 3.5 children per household, that's 91.8 million homes. One presumes there's at least one good child in each.
3) 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 (which, of course, we know to be false but for the purposes of our calculations we will accept), we are now talking about .78 miles per household, a total trip of 75-1/2 million miles, not counting stops to do what most of us must do at least once every 31 hours, plus feeding and etc.
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.
4) The payload on the sleigh adds another interesting element. Assuming that each child gets nothing more than a medium-sized lego set (2 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 point #1) 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.
5) 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.
In conclusion - If Santa ever DID deliver presents on Christmas Eve, he's dead now.

coda said...

How do you know your son didn't just believe you because he wanted to believe and since you are his role model and father you wouldn't lie to him?

Nils Ling said...

We don't believe in Santa Claus because the concept of Santa makes sense. We don't believe in him because we're greedy and want more toys. We don't believe in him because we're stupid.
We believe in Santa Claus because it's FUN.
And the problem with that is ...?