December 24, 2004

Rudolph: The True Story

There's been a lot of web traffic about Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer of late, and I'm here to tell you that it's all wide of the mark. You've all heard the story of the poor little reindeer who got teased for his unusual physical characteristics and who finally got happy after he was able to show how useful he could be. You probably felt sorry for him. You shouldn't have. Rudolph is a proud reindeer, and he doesn't need your pity.

It's true enough that Rudolph was on the outs with the other reindeer, but it had nothing to do with Rudolph's nose; the young fellow's just naturally a bit of a loner. On top of that, he was frequently disgusted by the behavior of the other reindeer. What am I saying? Well, it's like this.

Santa's all about fairness, right? Every year, he travels (at great expense and personal hazard) all over the world, and distributes toys to children in strict accordance with their naughtiness or niceness. He doesn't play favorites. So just how is it that Rudolph wasn't allowed to help pull the sleigh until that foggy Christmas eve? Rudolph's a decent reindeer; you'd think that Santa's innate fairness would require a strict rotation of eligible reindeer, so that over time everyone would get to help out on the big day. Not so. I'm sorry to have to tell you this, but our Santa has a blind spot, and that blind spot is his reindeer. He loves his reindeer, and he loves to call them by name. And so every year, when Christmas Eve rolls around, he naturally picks the reindeer whose names he knows best.

And the reindeer know it, see. They take advantage of it. "Good morning, Mr. Claus, sir. Can I get you a cup of coffee?" "How about another donut, Mr. C?" "You want I should polish the sleigh again, boss?" "Gee, boss, have you lost weight? Your red suit's getting a little baggy. Here, let me take it in an inch or so." It's a disgusting sight, watching a whole herd of reindeer dancing attendance on Santa in the hopes of getting noticed. Like I said, Rudolph's a proud reindeer, and he wants no part of it.

Rudolph might have a red nose, he tells me; but at least it isn't brown.

Posted by Will Duquette at December 24, 2004 08:58 AM