"Worried About Santa Claus" joke
We're worried about you. From your rosy red cheeks to your
legendary girth to your all-night sleigh ride around the world,
you may be at risk for diseases, maladies, mishaps and lawsuits
that send chills through our Santa-loving hearts.
The latest warning comes from the National Rosacea Society in
Barrington, Illinois. Dermatologist Dr. Jerome Litt says you have
"a clear-cut case of rosacea," a skin condition that also affects
millions of Americans, particularly at middle age. Unable to
examine you personally, the good doctor based his finding on a
well-circulated report that your "cheeks were like roses, (your)
nose like a cherry."
Sadly, many observers conclude that red-skin condition comes from
hitting the Christmas-punch bowl a little too hard. Sadder still,
rosacea can be aggravated by holiday stress, hot chocolate and
overexertion... all things you may encounter this time of year.
The one bright note in Dr. Litt's message is that certain
antibiotics can help, and he advises you to see a North Pole
dermatologist. But the news about your facial tint is only our
latest source of concern. A careful examination of what we know
about you and your lifestyle raises a host of other trouble signs.
Frankly, Santa, this may be your biggest area of concern. Studies
show overweight men have more than double the normal risk of heart
attacks and increased chances of many other diseases. We've seen
the pictures; we've noticed you in the malls. And we've heard that
your tummy shakes "like a bowlful of jelly" when you chuckle. On
this, we'll take part of the blame. All these years, we've set out
milk and cookies on Christmas Eve.
With 102 million homes in the U. S. alone, even if 1 in 100 homes
put out two cookies and a cup of milk, that would make an over-
night snack of 2, 000, 000 cookies and 63, 750 gallons of milk. Maybe
it's time for Mrs. Claus to get you a NordicTrack or a Thighmaster.
But be sure to consult a physician before beginning any exercise
You've been pictured with a pipe, and even though an apologist in
The New York Times once claimed it's only a prop, a witness who
encountered you in his home said "the smoke it encircled his head
like a wreath."
According to the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, pipe and
cigar smokers have twice a nonsmoker's risk for lung cancer, four
times the risk for larynx cancer and two to three times the risk
for cancers of the mouth and esophagus. Even if the pipe's just a
prop, it might be a good idea to lose it. Remember, you're not
just a saint, you're a role model.
Dealing with Christmas wishes from millions of kiddies could
certainly put one on the emotional hot seat. And anxiety can
surpass even smoking as a risk for certain heart problems. On
this point, though, we have some good news A medical news service
says laughter--as evidenced by your trademark "Ho, ho, ho"--is one
of the best stress-busters going.
We admire your ability to slip up and down the average chimney, an
opening about 12 inches by 16 inches. But creosote flakes on the
chimney walls are toxic and can lead to respiratory problems.
Brent Rigby of Emerald City Chimney Sweeps in Kirkland (WA) said
his people never actually go into a chimney, and wear protective
masks when they reach up through the fireplace to vacuum the soot.
RSI (REPETITIVE STRAIN INJURY)
Cards and letters by the bagful arrive on your doorstep through
regular mail, but this year we've noticed you're also receiving,
and answering, e-mail on at least four Internet addresses. We
applaud your move on to the information superhighway, with this
caution: Too much keyboard work can result in painful injuries
to the hands, wrists and arms.
Close, continuous contact with your trusty reindeer means if they
get mites, so might you, says Dr. David DuClos, a veterinary
dermatologist in Lynnwood (WA). Watch out for itchy rashes, and
keep the deer out of your bed.
You usually bundle up, and that's good. A Weather Service
satellite recently showed the temperature at the North Pole was
13 below zero, and high winds are common. Exposure to such
conditions can cause frostbite in minutes.
You spend a lot of time in shopping malls, so you already know
things are getting a little tough out there. Try not to walk back
to your sleigh at night alone.
It's been said that you make a list, then check it twice. Just
being careful, or are you developing a little memory problem?
SAD (SEASONAL AFFECTIVE DISORDER)
This time of year, there is virtually no daylight at the North
Pole, and a lack of sunlight can trigger depression in some
people. Maybe a full-spectrum light would help keep you jolly.
A young witness saw you kissing Mommy underneath the mistletoe
last night. You know this is cold and flu season, don't you?
We've seen plenty of pictures of you in that sleigh, but never
with a seat belt, and we'd sure hate to see you get hurt. By the
way, when you cruise through metropolitan areas, be sure to cover
Fatigue, dizziness and insomnia are all dangers that travelers
face when they cross through several times zones. And few
travelers cross all 24 of them in one night, like you do.
Okay, you've been lucky so far, but they're out there. Knowing
all the dangers you face makes us feel that much more fortunate
that you're still faithfully delivering the goodies to good boys
and girls every Christmas. But you might want to try to reduce
some of those risks before your insurance company decides to boost
your rates. Which reminds us, you DO have insurance, don't you?
Not enough votes...