Wednesday, December 5, 2012

How Santa does it

[I don't know, it just came to me in the shower.  Make of it what you will.  A hat, an airplane, a pterodactyl...]

"But how can he visit every house in a single night?"

"Can you keep a secret?" Sits down on the bed in response to nodding.  "He can't."


"When he got the job no one even suspected there could be this many people on earth, let alone planned out a way to reach them all in a single night.  So every year he just does the best that he can, knowing he'll never reach everyone.

"And he never really delivers coal.  First off it would be rude.  Second it would slow him down.

"Better that one deserving child get a gift than 99 thousand undeserving ones get coal."

"Will he come to our house?"

"I don't know, he'll try, he always tries, but in the end he can only reach so many.

"You'll get presents addressed from Santa, because if ordinary people didn't put his name in the 'from' slot everyone would know how few houses he truly reaches, and that would just add insult to the injury of not being able to reach them all."

"But you'd know, you'd know if there was a present you didn't buy."

"Maybe, though maybe not.  And if I did know I wouldn't tell you."

"Why not?"

"Because I believe in a sense of wonder, a sense of 'what if?'  It's why I hope they never disprove the Loch Ness Monster or the Lake Champlain creature.  Or prove them for that matter.

"I believe that there's something magical about not knowing.  About that little voice in the back of your head that tells you something might be real while everything else tells you it isn't.

"It's like magic shows, sure, you know it's all fake, at least you think you do, but if you get a good magician, then another part of you is shouting that it's real.  It's impossible, and it's real.  And in that place wonder lies, and I believe in wonder.  Learning that the person was a real magician using the idea of stage magicians to pass as normal in the mundane world would ruin the wonder as much as learning the secret behind the trick.

"You'd know, and then there would be nothing left to wonder at."


[Original Work Index]


  1. This. I really love this. I'm not sure if it needs to be part of something larger, but if it were it would be an awesome part.

  2. Personally, I always figured it involved Time Turners.

    1. And what was your theory before 1999, Brin? :)

  3. There's magic in not knowing... but there's magic in knowing, too.

    When you found out how a rainbow worked, did you say "oh, the magic is spoiled" or "hey, that's even more interesting"?

    Seriously. I know people on both sides of this one.

    Oh, and: quantum smearing.

    1. I think it depends.

      Finding out for sure that there's no Loch Ness monsters is a) the expected outcome, b) not very interesting, c) doesn't really teach us anything we didn't already know so there's nothing to wonder at.