• 36°

And the elves said …

NORTH POLE – It seemed like a typical Christmas Eve.

Saturday, December 23, 2000

NORTH POLE – It seemed like a typical Christmas Eve. The elves were busy in the workshop, Mrs. Claus was baking lots of treats in preparation for the wrap party, and Santa was finalizing the last-minute details.

Then it happened.

Two elves, Irvin and Horace, knocked at Santa’s office door.

Irvin: May we come in, Santa?

Santa: Why yes. How are my two top elves?

Irvin: Well Santa, to tell the truth, we have a few problems.

Santa: Problems? We’re going to be able to make our yearly rounds on time, aren’t we?

Horace: Well, we can, but then again, we might not.

Santa: What do you mean?

Horace: Santa, we’re not happy about a lot of the working and living conditions around here. We’re ready to strike for what we want.

Irvin: We’re even considering free agency.

Santa: What seems to be the problem. You have steady employment, no one has ever been laid off or fired, you have free living quarters and meals, and lots of vacation time.

Irvin: For one thing, the food is good and it’s free, but we’re tired of always eating in. Look around. There’s not even a McDonald’s around here. And takeout pizza is just some dream that dances in our heads.

Horace: And there’s no place to shop. I like Notre Dame and Irvin likes Ohio State, but we can’t find any team souvenirs for thousands of miles. If we don’t slip into the school gift shop on Christmas Eve, we’re out of luck. And you can forget about any Browns stuff.

Irwin: I know we get a lot of vacation time, but we can’t go anywhere on what you pay us. If we don’t get some kind of long term lucrative contract, we’ll start our own toy factory and get our own delivery man.

Horace: Yeah, and you can’t just hire anyone to take our places. I mean, who would want to come here. There’s eight feet of snow on the ground in the summer months!

Santa: And who are you going to get to do that. You just said no one wants to come here.

Irvin: Well, we thought Mordecai would be our Santa figure.

Santa: Mordecai? I know he’s the tallest elf, but he’s only 4-foot-3. There are children who will sit on his lap who are bigger than he is. And what child is going to say, ‘Mommy, Daddy, I need to write a letter to Mordecai.’ You don’t have as much leverage as you think. But I’m a fair man. I’m willing to negotiate.

Irvin: Really?

Santa: Yes. I’ll talk to Steve Cielec about a McDonald’s and if we get a Domino’s Pizza your kids could get jobs as drivers. Joe Unger would love to expand his shoe business, and Jeff Linn might be willing to set up some kind of sporting goods catalog center.

Horace: That’s a good start. But what about the money? Alex Rodriguez got $25 million a year to play baseball. We make toys that bring happiness to all girls and boys, including Rodriguez’s kids.

Santa: Well, there’s not much I can do to match that. The only thing I might be able to do is see that Texas finishes second or third in its division and expose the owner for being such a reckless idiot. But I will raise your ticket prices, uh, I mean salaries.

Irvin: It’s a deal.

Santa: Now can we get ready for tonight’s trip?

Horace: Oh, we’ve been ready. We couldn’t have disappointed the children. I mean, it’s Christmas.

Santa: How nice. Well, thanks for coming in boys. See you in a bit. Now, where’s the phone book. Hmm, here it is. Hello, Jim Bowden. I need your advice on a few financial problems.

Merry Christmas!