The Life and Times of Florence Knitingale

Thursday, December 14, 2006

A Very Merry, Non-Offensive, Non-Litigious Holiday

Some of you may be aware of the recent difficulties faced by our local airport. For those who are not, it goes like this: Seatac Airport put up Christmas trees (referred to by the newspaper as “holiday trees” to avoid offense). A local rabbi protested that there was no menorah, and threatened to sue if one was not included in the decorations. Seatac decided to simply take the trees down. The rabbi, having received a fair amount of negative input from Jewish people, withdrew his threat to sue. The trees went back up, with the understanding that the rabbi can help plan the decorations next year. After all this, I got to thinking about the holidays and offer you this glimpse into the possible future of politically correct, non-litigious holidays.

1. For many years it has been accepted that Mr. Claus has a number of happy elves working for him. This is offensive on a number of levels. Firstly, the correct term for people of smaller stature is “little people”, not elves. Secondly, since they do not generally come into contact with the public, it is improper and a violation of their rights to require that they be happy or cheerful (and is clearly discriminatory to employees with mood disorders). These employees may be asked to treat co-workers and superiors with respect, but may otherwise be irritable, cranky, sad, and generally not happy. Thirdly, the policy of choosing workers according to height is clearly discriminatory. Going forward, the toy shop must be staffed with little people, people of average height, and tall people. The toy shop will close down for one year to make the necessary structural changes to allow for taller employees.
2. The term “Santa’s Helpers” is deemed to be derogatory. Going forward, toy shop employees must be referred to as “Toy Making Assistants.”
3. Toy making assistants may not be asked to sing while working, as this does not in any way contribute to the quality of the work, and discriminates against employees who are tone deaf.
4. The reindeer known as Rudolph has filed suit alleging discrimination and harassment based on an unfortunate facial deformity. Going forward, the other reindeer must include him in their reindeer games and name-calling incidents will be dealt with swiftly and decisively. His place in the team pulling the sleigh must be chosen based on skill, not unavoidable physical features.
5. The need for reindeer to fly has been found to be discriminatory against acrophobic reindeer, thus putting them at a disadvantage when searching for a job. Mr. Claus will be required to create alternative ways to deliver toys so that all reindeer may have an equal opportunity for employment.
6. Ms. Claus has filed a complaint about the obvious gender discrimination and glass ceiling at the North Pole, given that her job for years has been relegated to cooking and cleaning and she has never been given any opportunity for further training or promotion, in spite of continued good performance. Going forward, Mr. Claus will be required to provide training and growth opportunities for her, as well as a written career ladder.
7. It has been discovered that Mr. Claus routinely uses discriminatory labels to categorize the world’s children as “naughty” or “nice”. Clearly, such labels are inflammatory and may have the unfortunate result of scarring those children labeled as “naughty”. A class action suit on behalf of approximately ten million children has been filed, requesting restitution in an unnamed amount, and further requesting that in the future Mr. Claus heads his lists “behaving as requested” and “behaving more creatively.”
8. It has been observed that people all over the world leave cookies out for Mr. Claus to eat in the performance of his job, as well as glasses of milk. It has further been observed that many of these cookies contain types of fat that may be dangerous for Mr. Claus’s continued cardiac health. Moreover, dairy products contain lactose and years of drinking millions of glasses of milk in one night have left him severely lactose intolerant. Going forward, snacks left for Mr. Claus must be of the non-dairy, non-fat variety, and must be in the original, sealed packages with ingredient labels securely attached. Homemade snacks will be disposed of as potentially dangerous.
9. While Mr. Claus has always entered homes through the chimney when delivering toys, it has been found that this is discriminatory to people who do not have chimneys. In the future, if the government cannot provide chimneys for all people at no cost to them, Mr. Claus will be required to enter homes through windows or doors. Mr. Claus will not assume responsibility for broken windows or hinges.
10. Mr. Clause has noted that many homes have likenesses of him on their lawns and homes during the winter celebratory season (the words “Christmas” and “holiday” may not be used; remember that “holiday” comes from the words “holy” and “day”). As he has not given permission for these likenesses, it is ordered that they must cease and desist immediately, and any future such depictions will be subject to lawsuit.
11. In some areas of the world, the winter celebratory season falls in the warmer months and it has been observed that Mr. Clause is often depicted in such climes wearing a bathing suit, most particularly a red Speedo. This is unquestionably a case of sexual harassment, and Mr. Claus is suing for pain and suffering caused by the resulting humiliation. In these areas in the world, it will be necessary to move the holiday to a cooler time of year in order to prevent future embarrassment for Mr. Claus and his family.
12. Mr. Claus is a person of size and all references to him as “fat” , “round”, or having a belly like “a bowlful of jelly” are obviously size-ist. Such references will be dealt with swiftly and in a decisive manner.
13. The labor union has filed notice of unfair practices in the matter of Mr. Claus being required to deliver toys to all of the children in the world in one night. Clearly this is a gross violation of labor practices, as Mr. Claus is forced to work for 24 hours without a break for food, water, or bathroom use. Going forward, Mr. Claus will deliver gifts in increments, over several nights, in order to allow for the necessary breaks. The retail industry has anticipated this, and has already begun the season in October to allow for his new hours.
14. Mr. Claus has some vision impairment (as evidenced by the glasses he wears) and so cannot be expected to read lists written by small children in crayon. Going forward, all gift request lists must be typed and spell checked or they will be discarded.
15. The phrase “ho ho ho” has been found to be offensive to women working in the world’s oldest profession and will be stricken from Mr. Claus’s vocabulary immediately.

A very happy (should you choose to be happy) winter celebratory season to you and yours….and may all your snacks be wholesome and free of trans-fats.


  • At 8:12 AM, Blogger Marianne said…

    Snorting with glee...I'd been reading about the trees at Seatac...sheesh, the tree thing goes back...way back...people can be so crazy. But hey, sure, I think it all *should* be up and represented...
    I am so on the very naughty list, and I wouldn't be a bit surprised if Mr. Clause just ends up saying..."_____it, I don't have to live like this anymore", and....doesn't....verra funny post.....

  • At 9:46 AM, Blogger Faren said…

    So funny, and so sad because it is true! Yes, I too think all should be represented (if all are present of course, what is the sense of putting up a menorah if Jews, or Muslims, etc are so rare in a town that you might begin to think they are a myth?)but isn't it a lot nicer (and you attract more flies with honey than vingear) it take a menorah up to the airport officals and ask them nicely if they would mind putting it up?
    Sorry I"m so long winded, it really was a funny post.

  • At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Doris said…

    I loved your post!!!!! You made my day.

  • At 12:34 PM, Anonymous angie cox said…

    You are just brilliant Florence ..that was a masterpiece ! Here we are often supposed to be careful not to discriminate against Muslims ...we don't ,they can celebrate a holiday which I'll happily join in with .The local parents uded to come to the Nativity play and in fact let their kids appear in it ,I'll happily go along with Diwali ,Hannukah and any other festival that has good food ! Christmas is a holy day to me but I don't care if it isn't to anyone else . Having more public holidays from work seems like a good idea though ....let's see some-one might even introduce St. Tony's Day soon only I won't be celebrating alas.

  • At 6:56 PM, Anonymous Jill said…

    So true. Why can't people just lighten up and relax?

  • At 7:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Fabulous Post. Please send it to Ken Schramm at KOMO. I think he gave a "schrammie" award to the Rabbi and the Port Commissioner for the stupidity of this. I also think that the Port should have told the rabbi to get real and bring it on..that is..go ahead and sue....if you give in to all these kinds of frivolous threats they will never end. Another example of too many lawyers and too many people thinking that a tree and a wreath are offensive. It's NUTS. Thanks.

  • At 9:52 PM, Anonymous Paula in Iowa said…

    Oooooooo, sooo true!! Please, Ms. K., may I copy this and send it to my kids? They will appreciate it so much, working as they do in the medical/mental health sector.
    You is a genius! auntpollyfor4ATyahooDOTcom
    Thanks muchly for all your writings

  • At 10:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Mystery Science Theater 3000 did a Christmas song which your post reminded me of and can be found here:

    Enjoy. ;)

  • At 11:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    I'm still chuckling over your post. It has made my day.

  • At 12:10 PM, Blogger ambermoggie said…

    Boy you hit the nail on the head there Florence, I couldn't stop laughing whilst feeling sad that it is like this.

  • At 12:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    ROTFLOL- That was truely great! I am thoroghly sick of PC & sue-happy folks who think the have the right not to be offended.
    I have to comment on the pics in the last post; I was gazing at them, slightly aware you were in KS, & thought,"That looks a bit like Mass. St in Lawrence", then scrolled down- OMG, it IS Lawrence! I moved away nearly 20 yrs ago, but it still looks the same as when I was in high school.


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