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Santa forced to sack reindeer

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By Dick Frank

Only a few days ago the outside decorations were finished, the tree put up with all its trimmings, and presents all wrapped. It all made me feel dead tired, so I settled in for some Christmas Eve television viewing. The news program started with, “Donner and Blitzen have elected to take the early reindeer retirement package, triggering a good deal of concern about whether they will be replaced, and about other restructuring decisions at the North Pole.”

It seems that streamlining was appropriate in view of the reality that the North Pole no longer dominates the season’s gift distribution business. The recession and online Internet ordering have diminished Santa’s market share and he could not withstand further erosion of income.

Reindeer downsizing was made possible through the purchase of a late-model lightweight Korean sled for Santa’s annual trip. Improved productivity from Dasher and Dancer, who summered at the Harvard Business School, is anticipated and should take up the slack with no discernible loss of service. Reduction in reindeer will also lessen airborne environmental emissions for which the North Pole has been cited and received unfavorable press.

Rudolph’s role will not be displaced. Tradition still counts for something at the North Pole.

Management denies, in the strongest possible language, the earlier leak that Rudolph’s nose got that way not from the cold, but from substance abuse. Calling Rudolph “a lush who was into the sauce and never did pull his share of the load” was an unfortunate comment, made by one of Santa’s helpers and taken out of context at a time when elves are being downsized.

Continuing tonight’s news is the breaking story on the “Twelve Days of Christmas.’” Economic conditions have made it necessary to do some optimization.

The partridge will be retained, but the pear tree never turned out to be the cash crop forecasted. It will be replaced by a plastic hanging plant, providing considerable savings in maintenance.

The two turtledoves represent a redundancy that is simply not cost effective. In addition, their romance during working hours could not be condoned. The positions are therefore eliminated.

The three French hens will remain intact. After all, everyone loves the French.

The four calling birds were replaced by an automated voice mail system, with a call waiting option. An analysis is underway to determine who the birds have been calling, how often, how long they talked, and whether billing the birds is justified.

The five golden rings remain but diversification is expected when the market starts its recovery because maintaining a portfolio based on one commodity is too risky.

The six geese-a-laying constitutes a luxury that can no longer be afforded. The production of one egg per goose per day is an example of the decline in productivity.

Three geese will be let go, and an upgrading in the selection procedure will assure management that from now on every goose it gets will be a good one.

The seven swans-a-swimming is obviously a number chosen in better times. The function is primarily decorative. Mechanical swans are on order. The current swans will be taught to learn some new strokes and therefore enhance their outplacement.

As you know, the eight maids-a-milking concept has been under heavy scrutiny by the EEOC. Because male milkers cannot be hired at prevailing wages, all milking will be automated. The maids will be retrained to qualify for a-mending, or a-mentoring.

Nine ladies dancing has always been an odd number. This function will be phased out as these individuals grow older and trip over the rug rather than cut a rug.

Ten lords-a-leaping is overkill. The high cost of lords has led the Compensation Committee to suggest replacing this group with 10 out of work Republicans. While leaping ability may be somewhat sacrificed, the savings are significant because we expect an oversupply of unemployed Republicans in the coming year.

Eleven pipers piping and 12 drummers drumming is a simple case of the band getting too big. Substitution of prerecorded music will produce substantial savings. The pipers will be retrained as plumbers and the drummers will be told to beat it.

Later Christmas Eve I woke up and realized it was all a dream. Yesterday, on Christmas day, I heard that Santa with all nine reindeer did bring toys to good little girls and boys, and the “Twelve Days of Christmas” was on the radio at least a dozen times.

Christmas traditions will live on forever and celebrating Christ’s birth will never be diminished by anything. Oak Run residents Dick and Jane wish you a happy New Year.