Wasatch Environmental Update for December 24, 2017
By John Worlock
“Christmas Eve Invasion Resolved”
Federal authorities have become increasingly disturbed by rumors of some guy called St. Nicholas, flying in periodically from the North Pole, invading our sovereign air space, creating commotions in somnolent neighborhoods, landing on rooftops and popping uninvited down chimneys, his furry clothing covered with grime and soot. He is said to be propelled through the sky by eight tiny reindeer, with foreign sounding names: Donner and Blitzen, for example.
Finally, this year the Homeland Security folks and the EPA mounted an investigation. The FAA was involved, as was the Pentagon, even though neither had any record of the rumored aerial invasion.
The list of complaints was a long one, including wearing the fur of endangered species, violating noise ordinances, spreading the particulate pollution we call soot, smoking in indoor spaces, and so forth, all in addition to invading our air space. Even worse, St. Nick had no visa from Immigration.
A drone aircraft, sent to fly over the North Pole, could report no suspicious activity, so a team of Navy Seals approached the Pole from underwater. Well, ‘what to their wondering eyes should appear, but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer, with a little old driver so lively and quick that they knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.’
Nick agreed to be questioned, although it was his sovereign space that was being invaded. He scoffed at the rumors, saying, “That old story was true two hundred years ago when that poem was composed. But my predecessors long ago gave up reindeer propulsion and dropping down chimneys. Modern technology allows us faster travel and quicker entry, as required by growing population.” He refused to talk further about that technology, except to say that it had been invented in response to crowded skies, even on Christmas Eve, when children should be ‘nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of sugarplums dance in their heads,’ and grownups should have ‘settled their brains for a long winter’s nap.’
“Please excuse me now,” then said Nick, “as I was about to exercise my reindeer. You are free to go home. Rest assured that we modern St. Nicks observe all environmental regulations, and will not be detected again. We apologize for the slip-up in 1823 that allowed our ancestor to be seen and heard.” Then, ‘laying his finger aside of his nose and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose!’ But they ‘heard him exclaim, ere he rose out of sight, Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!’
Thanks to Charles Dickens, Ray Ring and High Country News – repeated from WEU 2012