One of my readers, Jessica, asked me a question I promised to investigate and write about before Christmas Day 2008.
Jessica wanted to know if I could find out whether Santa Claus used computers to help him deliver Christmas presents.
I emailed my entire list of elf contacts at the North Pole, hoping one would get back to me before the newspaper’s holiday deadline.
To my surprise, one game elf did reply.
And who was this accommodating gnome?
As some of you may remember, his name was Finarfin Elendil.
The following is what I wrote for Jessica (with revisions).
Dear Jessica, Santa does indeed use computers when delivering those Christmas presents.
That smiling, well-nourished, red-cheeked, jolly old man with the white beard, is in fact, extremely computer-savvy.
You see, during the Christmas off-season, the geekier elves, along with Santa, attend advanced computer technical training classes, at an undisclosed location in Redmond, WA.
One cooperative elf, Finarfin Elendil, gave me the inside scoop about the “Santa Claus Super Computer Center” (SCSCC), which is located near the North Pole’s largest toy-making factory.
The SCSCC is highly-computerized and totally cloaked, rendering it undetectable from all earth-orbiting satellites, high-altitude surveillance aircraft, and those Google street-view mapping cars.
Santa doesn’t mention the SCSCC when he’s out in public he mainly concentrates on asking children if they were good this year, along with what they want for Christmas.
Finarfin Elendil reported Santa uses the SCSCC as the North Pole’s Christmas command and control center and to store and maintain Santa’s new high-tech Christmas sleigh.
The SCSCC’s hangar bay is home to Santa’s newest mode of travel for delivering presents during Christmas: Sleigh-One.
Let it be known that Sleigh-One is not your average wooden toboggan.
Sleigh-One is a state-of-the-art, fully computerized, jumbo-sized, high-flying bobsled.
Its on-board computer receives in-flight location coordinates via an enhanced global positioning system.
Reindeer pulling efficiency, or mpr (miles per reindeer), is conveniently displayed on the cluster instrument panel.
Sleigh-One also receives “toy-inventory-remaining” Facebook telemetry and updated “who’s-naughty-or-nice” Twitter reports from the elves broadcasting back at the SCSCC.
Sleigh-One communicates using 3G technology, but Elf rumor has it Santa will be upgrading to 4G LTE wireless broadband transceivers soon.
Santa was said to have chuckled when he learned the helper elves traveling on Sleigh-One installed eggnog cup holders next to their seat armrests like the ones on Santa’s driver side armrest.
The SCSCC is home to the world’s most advanced supercomputer.
This supercomputer is exceptionally sophisticated; your humble columnist thinks Santa and the elves magically performed reverse-engineering on some highly-advanced extraterrestrial technology obtained from inside Area 51.
Finarfin Elendil described how the supercomputer’s data-stream is algorithmically encrypted, using session initiation protocol signaling transferred through nanotubed optical-fiber bus architectures within the North Pole’s local area network.
And to think this is all maintained by those geeky elves who take off-season computer classes . . . amazing.
These same elves also designed and manufactured the supercomputer’s E1 (Elf-1) Multi-Quad-Core-Super-Duper processor chip.
The E1 can process up to four hundred quindecillion FLOPS (floating operations per second).
Finarfin Elendil brags how the engineers from computer chip-maker, Intel Corp., are always asking the elves for advice.
Santa uses the E1’s processing speed to instantly map the exact coordinates of every rooftop and fireplace chimney throughout the world, where he, needs to deliver the good girls and boys Christmas presents.
If the home has no chimney, the supercomputer will automatically execute a “backdoor” software program Santa wrote, which provides an alternate access solution.
Finarfin Elendil confirmed this year’s Christmas Eve reindeer sleigh team will once again be comprised of: Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blixen.
However, in the event of an emergency (sick reindeer), Sleigh-One has a built-in navigational program which activates the experienced Automatic Assistance Reindeer Pilot (AARP).
And, because of his extremely shiny red nose, Rudolph, the “Red-Nosed Reindeer” has been designated by Santa Claus himself, to be Reindeer One, and guide Santa’s mighty reindeer sleigh team around the world on Christmas Eve.
In order for Sleigh-One to deliver every single Christmas present over a 24-hour period, the sleigh needs to “push the pedal to the metal,” Finarfin Elendil quoted Santa as saying.
Rudolph wanted the sleigh to go faster than the speed of light so he could show off in front of the does, but Santa nixed the idea, saying he did not want to travel that fast.
Santa explained going faster than the speed of light would cause the bright, fog-piercing, red beam of light from Rudolph’s nose to bend around and shine behind the sleigh instead of in front of it.
Santa worried this might create a reverse time-line anomaly, triggering a space-time continuum vortex, causing the children’s Christmas presents to be delivered years before they were born.
Rest assured, Jessica, the Christmas presents are safely delivered by Santa, the helper elves, Rudolph, and the rest of the reindeer, in a sleigh never traveling faster than the speed of light.
But I digress.
I hope Jessica (and all of you) enjoyed reading this story as much as I did writing it.
And remember, the word “Christmas” comes from the very old phrase, “Cristes maesse” which means “Christ’s mass.”
Dec. 25, Christmas Day, is when Christians all over the world celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ.