Naughty or Nice: Who Can Say?
Dear Mister Eccentric,
How can Santa really know if I’ve been naughty or nice? I don’t believe he can!– Little Albert Trundle
Oh ye of little faith.
While it is true that Santa didn’t always have the power to divine naughtytude – a myth derived from the dark ages and the fabled abilities of Odin – he does in this modern era.
The 1937 release of the perennial holiday song “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” further extolled the supposed powers Mr. Kringle had of knowing the goodies from the baddies. This got him to thinking that such power wasn’t a bad idea. It was certainly better than the way he had been determining who got coal – a coin flip.
Over a decade of research, incantations and other blood rituals passed without prevail. Then a miracle happened – the Red Scare! In the 1950s, Senator Joe McCarthy began his Communist witch hunts. Santa, being the red suited owner of a communal work camp planted precariously close to Siberia, felt it prudent to get on the demagogue’s good side.
So in promising Sen. McCarthy any and all dirt that can be gleaned from interpreting wish lists and children-spying, Santa was granted carte blanche subpoena powers and stack of blank search warrants.
This worked for a while but, as the speed of technology advanced while the speed of bureaucracy waned, Santa needed better options. Fast forward to 1994 and the infancy of the commercial internet. Knowing humanity in general as he did, Kringle had the feeling that this phenomena would take off like an over-caffeinated reindeer. A person’s browsing history would be all the information he would ever need to determine naughtiness.
So he launched his plan, “Project: Cookie” – ironically named after the traditional bribe kids would offer Santa to look the other way. These browser “cookies” would be the undoing of many a seemingly saintly tot.
And now, what with all you youngins running around with mobile browsers in your trousers, Santa’s got more big data than he knows what to do with – all kept in a massive server farm, super cooled by the North Pole climate. Anything he can’t use gets sold to that other magical gift-giving powerhouse: Amazon!
Sleep tight, and remember:
Around the Otter
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