We’re going to take a break from the X-planes today to talk about another guy who’s done a lot to tackle high speed flight, Santa Claus. In fact, the big guy has done us a rare privilege by dropping in to share a few words about his yearly ritual. Take it away, Santa.
Ho, ho, ho. Hello boys and girls. I hope you’ve all been good this year!
I’m sure you all share the traditional image of me riding around on a sleigh full of presents, pulled a bunch of reindeer. Unfortunately that went out of the window a long time ago. It was fun, toodling around, stopping for milk and cookies, distributing presents and all that, but the boom in the global population has put the old ways under a lot of pressure. Even after a through scrub of my naughty or nice list, I’m still left with a good few billion homes to visit. That’s a lot of chimneys, I can tell you.
A few years ago, after a particularly long hard Christmas eve, I realized something had to be done. I’d been feeding the reindeer on the most nutritious food I could find and outlawed out potty breaks, but it just wasn’t enough. A rough calculation by the eleves meant that the next year I would have to average 187,000 miles and hours to get it all done. That’s pretty fast on an open-top sleigh and, trust me, no-one wants to see what happens to my belly at that speed.
With all the ice and snow I encounter the first people I thought of was Land Rover. Obviously the Defender was rugged enough and the Range Rover plush enough, but neither had the real speed I was looking for. They were nice enough to whip up the vehicle below to help out.
It was comfortable, and at 188,000 miles an hour plenty fast. Sadly the whole thing was powered by a super secret plasma-ion drive, which left Donner and Blitzen with not-so-secret plasma-ion drive burns and over their … well, lets just say they couldn’t sit down until March. Trust me, there’s nothing worse that a sore reindeer for company in the long winter months up north.
The high speed of the Land Rover brought the attention of the nice guys at NORAD. After a quick explanation of the situation they offered me a ride for the next Christmas.
That year was a typically military affair. Take off was at 1800 sharp and there were copious in-flight refueling aircraft. At strategic points we stocked up on toys by rolling inverted and hanging my sack out of the canopy as we buzzed control towers around the world. Thrilling stuff, but somehow the pilot’s insistence on targeting each chimney with a “3, 2, 1, bombs away,” left me feeling I’d strayed a little too far from the original big-guy-in-a-red-suit idea. NORAD found it a costly exercise, too. So the following year I picked up on an idea from the late, great Douglas Adams, the Infinite Improbability Drive.
The Infinite Improbability Drive will be the greatest invention of the year 2200. When the device is activated the passengers (me, red suit and a serious sack load of presents) travel through all the points of the universe at the same time. This was a blast. I delivered presents to every single person in Europe in 8 milliseconds. Asia was done in 17 milliseconds and America (north and south) were done in 15. Awesome. I was just on my last few stops over Iceland, looking forward to getting home and putting my feet up with a glass of my special recipe eggnog, when things went seriously wrong.
Apparently this is one of the drawbacks of the whole being everywhere at once idea. I spent Christmas day in the North Pole General Infirmary with a bowl of Petunias that materialized on my bedside table. Not one of my best Christmases I can tell you. Mrs Claus was none too pleased about stitching up the old red suit either.
So, what of this year you ask? Well, I’m going back to basics, the reindeer, the sleigh, the big sack. It’s going to be good to get the old team back together. And the 187,000 mph needed? No problem. I’m going to take a tip from the cows.