Car Guy

The Last Run

Here comes Santa Claus right down Nanny State Lane.

By 12.23.11

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Santa's been running late because of all the speed traps and sobriety checks out there. Not to mention the endless meetings with his legal team to make sure the factory's in compliance with the latest workplace safety rules -- and the elves happy with the terms of their latest contract.

Thank God the sleigh doesn't have to have a catalytic converter.

Yet.

There have been rumblings, though, about his operation of an open sleigh without a helmet -- and the need to fit said sleigh with Daytime Running Lamps to improve its visibility. It does not meet current federal bumper impact standards and Rudolph's red nose is clearly a problem as it could be construed as impersonating an emergency vehicle.

It will have to go.

Then there is the issue of Santa's time behind the reins. DOT rules say no more than 11 hours in a given 24. Luckily, Christmas eve is just one night -- but Santa had better keep his logs just in case.

His "papers," too.

Santa should expect to be stopped several times at various checkpoints -- where a bearded male with headgear will surely arouse suspicion of evil-doing. What could be under that thick coat? What's in that bag? Isn't red the color of martyrdom? Has he been drinking tonight? Just look at that red nose. Spread 'em! Santa should be prepared for his Enhanced Pat Down and Body Cavity Search.

Hopefully Missus Claus will have laundered his underthings. And he better have a bail bondsman on his speed dial.

Meanwhile, those reindeer.

Aren't reindeer endangered? What is this man doing with these animals? Has he got a permit? Where are their tags? Have they been properly vaccinated, spayed, or neutered as per Law? Does Santa have a legal rider on his insurance to cover possible injury to The Children from hooves, teeth and fleas?

He does have a scooper and baggies, right?

But there are more important issues to be dealt with than Santa's obvious recklessness and lack of concern for safety. By what standard, exactly, does this old white male determine who is "naughty" and who is "nice"? Is there disparate impact? It has come to our attention that some people in some neighborhoods don't receive the same amount or quality of presents.

Santa's actions show clear bias.

Worse, he has provided no record whatsoever of his dealings with the public. It appears that he operates at whim -- and without regard to outcomes, the self-esteem of the children, or the good of the community. Children have possibly been damaged. Surely, every child is "nice" -- just as every child can aspire to be president or an NFL quarterback. "Naughty" is judgmental.

It is cruel for Santa to suggest otherwise.

What's more, it has not gone unnoticed that there isn't a single elf of color in the entire workshop -- and apparently, no female elves, either. Santa is running a closed shop. A patriarchy. He is not representative of the great mosaic. He may be a racist and misogynist and is probably flouting child labor laws, too.

All this must change!

The old white guy, meanwhile, may finally have had enough.

It gets tiring complying with all these forms, fending off all these bureaucrats -- worrying about lawsuits and, just perhaps, a black-clad Ninja no-knock raid on his factory to ascertain just where those toys came from and whether the elves are there of their own free will. He well remembers what happened at Waco to those other wackos -- and isn't interested in a repeat. He knows what happens to people who appear "different" in the Homeland. No doubt someone has Seen Something... and Said Something. Landing on people's roofs; slinking down chimneys. Leaving packages unattended.

It is all very suspicious.

Santa has a heart condition, you know. He doesn't particularly want to risk being Tasered for "resisting." He and the missus -- and the elves, too -- just want to be left in peace. Maybe some hot chocolate by a nice warm fire. People can't even accept free gifts anymore without presenting a laundry list of conditions and demands.

Threats, too.

So, this might be the last run for a while.

Merry Christmas.

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About the Author

Eric Peters is an automotive columnist and author of Automotive Atrocities: The Cars You Love to Hate (Motor Books International) and a new book, Road Hogs.