Gotta love Christmas. It’s great for presents, good cheer, and reindeer. It’s not so good for role models, however. One man in particular – Santa Claus – is perpetuating the nation’s obesity problem. It’s why my latest epiphany required the help of the First Lady, Michelle Obama. Together, we embarked on a mission that may have broken some kids’ hearts, but will ultimately halt the unhealthy look of our nations’ cumulative waistline.
The epiphany began on my annual trip the shopping mall, where I waited in line to tell Santa what I wanted for Christmas. Some might think it strange that a forty-something year old guy would wait in line to see Santa, but I’m a traditionalist. I still believe. I’m also hoping that my request for big dividends on my stock portfolio will be answered by the man in red.
I waited patiently, ignoring the questioning looks from the 3-6 year olds in front of me. Finally, I got a crack at Santa. I stepped up to his chair, but when I went to sit on his lap, I found little thigh space available. It was obstructed by a protuberant belly.
“Santa, man, what do you think about going easy on the cookies this year?” I said, patting his belly.
His eyes narrowed in response. “What do you think about me breaking off your hand and feeding it to your face?”
I’m no fan of being injured, so I instinctively wet my pants and called for security. They were there in a flash, but for some reason I was hauled from the premises and escorted to the far reaches of the shopping mall parking lot.
As I dusted myself off, it suddenly occurred to me that Santa was setting a horrible example for all those little kids out there. Follow my logic: A little kid sees a fat santa, who is also a “jolly” santa. The connection is made at a young age: Fat=Jolly. Thus, a Pavlovian instinct is cultivated whenever we hear the dinner bell. We eat and keep eating to have a good time.
I realized I’d found the source of our nation’s obesity problem. “Holy crud,” I thought, dusting parking lot pebbles from my brow. “I wonder if Michelle Obama knows about this?”
The First Lady Flies North
As many of my faithful readers know, my epiphanies have afforded me a certain carte blanche with world leaders, industry titans, and hardware store owners. Such is it that I have a direct line to the White House. I phoned Michelle Obama. Obesity was her pet project, so I knew she’d be interested in my revelation.
“You’re right! He’s been flaunting that flab all this time!” Michelle replied.
“He must be stopped, Mrs. First Lady. Do we need to be tactful or political or anything like that?”
“Nah, we’re second-termers. Anything goes this time around. So the kid gloves come off with Mr. Beer Belly.”
“I suggest we encourage proper diet and exercise,” I offered. “Happy to drive the Subaru north so we can meet face to face with the old man.”
“Negative. We’ve only got a few weeks before Christmas. I’ll swing by in my Stealth and pick you up.”
Apparently, our First Lady not only advocated exercise and eating right, but covert military operations. I’d heard she’d taken some piloting lessons and done some pilates with some Navy Seals, but I was not prepared for her to go all Special Forces on me.
However, there she was, landing a Stealth fighter in our cul de sac about fifteen minutes later, clad in Ray-bans and an aviator’s cap.
“Michelle, do we have a plan of attack?” I asked as the Stealth did a hyper-space number north.
“We’re going to talk and he’s going to listen. Otherwise, I’m grounding his red ass right through the holidays.”
I’ve had some rather candid discussions with President Obama, in which he’d warned me about getting on Michelle’s bad side. After his first debate debacle with Mitt Romney, she made him spar with her in a kick-boxing session in the Oval Office. She’d delivered a perfect axe kick and separated his shoulder. Judging by the debate performances that followed, he got the message.
Now, Michelle was once again fuming in the pilot’s seat. I could see that she felt betrayed by the intentional/unintentional poor role modeling on the part of the Christmas legend. This did not look good for old Kris Kringle, who was soon going to be converted to Kris Nutrigrain Bar.
Fixing the Flaws in Claus
We landed on an iceberg two miles outside the Pole, and Michelle loaded me up with ninja stars and a flame thrower. “Just in case it gets hairy.”
When the weather turned dark, we infiltrated Santa’s base. Elves stood guard at the base’s exterior, as many top retailers often sent assassins to derail Santas’ annual free gift-giving.
Michelle had no problem subduing them. Her buff arms flexed as she delivered short straight-punches (how apropos), snapping little elfen jaws.
Within minutes, we were at Santa’s main house. Michelle hip-checked the door open, entering with a submachine gun strapped to her side. I followed with the flamethrower at the ready.
We found Santa, snoring in front of the fireplace. Next to him was a bowl of nachos and several dozen Twinkies. “He must have cleared the shelves when he heard Hostess was going belly-up,” she tsked.
She woke the old man, and his clogged arteries nearly seized up at the sight of us.
“Do you think this is a good message to be sending to the nation’s youth?” Michelle snarled. “First materialism, now gluttony?”
“I – I – it’s just that my wife is such a good cook,” Claus stammered.
“Screw that noise. We’re getting your ass in shape,” she said.
For the next two months, we made ourselves part of the North Pole and worked on slimming down Santa. It wasn’t easy getting Mrs. Claus to cut back on the sugar cookies and substitute stevia in her baking. We also had to hire some extra elves to take the sleigh and get fresh fruits and vegetables to supplement Santa’s diet.
But our perseverance paid dividends. Santa, who at one time was so energy depleted he could only work one night a year, suddenly felt fit and lively. Soon he was drinking smoothies instead of soda, and he’d discarded the fat-guy Santa suit for some red Under Armor. My boy was looking buff, and Michelle and I high-fived at a job well done.
Unfortunately, my good intentions and brilliant epiphany once again ran afoul. Santa had shed some pounds, but he’d also lost an element critical to the success of his Christmas Eve delivers.
We didn’t realize that Santa’s extra girth provided some much needed friction when he climbed down those chimneys. At the first house he visited, we discovered our mistake. Without his flab, Santa did a free-fall straight to bottom of the chimney and shattered both ankles upon impact.
The homeowner, who happened to be sleeping with his kids underneath the Christmas tree, misinterpreted the felled Santa for a burglar. The man happened to have a side-arm strapped to his thigh while he slept, as do most advocates of the second amendment, and he unleashed a barrage of bullets on the unsuspecting Santa. (He was later acquitted of any charges based on the fact that he didn’t recognize the suddenly-svelte Santa who had slid down his chimney.)
What was the net result of our efforts? Well, Michelle Obama and I did manage to get Santa in shape. But we also completely derailed Christmas and send a legend to his untimely and rather brutal death. Hey, sorry little boys and girls around the world: You win some, you lose some.
I will admit, it was a sad sight, watching those little elves work as pallbearers at his funeral, but Michelle and I did get a small sense of accomplishment. Thanks to Santa’s slimmed-down frame, at least the elves could easily carry the casket.
photo courtesy of kval.com
Post is courtesy of guest-blogger Greg Mischio. Read more of his world-altering work at Epiphanies that Will Alter the Course of Human Events.