Tuesday, 21 December 2010


Illustration by Sugabelly 

Nobody believes in Santa anymore...or maybe, it is just that nobody is courageous enough to voice out that belief. How can we talk of outgrowing ‘stage Santa’ when experience shows that free gifts become scarcer with the advancing years; and thus more treasured. I think that, as surely and as inexplicably as snow (and harmattan) punctually herald Christmas-tide; that portly model of geniality must be given his right of place during the celebrations.
Sadly, Santa in the face of dwindling popularity has either uncloaked and transformed to a normal, unhappy mortal; or simply soared to yet undiscovered galaxies of the North Pole. Or maybe still...has retreated resignedly to the suburbs of our imaginations.

But in truth, it is difficult to deal with his absence. The yearly re-creations of his image buttress the reality that we cannot use maturity as an excuse to wish away Father Christmas; and thus; murder Christmas. Therefore, if only we are bold enough to strain the borders of rationality, Santa can return again...and grace our world with his pleasant deep throated laughter filling us once more with the harmless innocent cravings that have grown extinct in an increasingly humourless world...

But then; we reckon without the Law...and Lawyers.
There are certain legal questions that would need to be successfully addressed before Santa is re-admitted in today’s hyper-civilization.
Already, the odds do not help his case. He wears a cloak and a...wig. And he steers all attention to himself with their bright colours, as opposed to the grim dourness of the lawyers’. Maybe that explains the origins of the traditional closure of Law Courts at Yuletide. As the melodious bells of Pied-Piper Santa introduce an enchanting truce in human relations, lawyers are compelled to involuntary idleness. Surely, you do not delude yourself that the religious significance of the season extends to the legal folk as well.

So the cross examinations commence- What are the contents of those bulging bags? What statutory authority issued the ‘standard testing’ for them? And, being Imports; have they been properly taxed and necessary Duties paid? For example, if some daft believer wishes for a fairly used car, would Santa’s obliging the request not tantamount to smuggling? ...Santa is a smuggler then...?  If that is established as a fact, of course he would be put away for a long time.

Oh! Smart fellow; he tries to evade further taxations by couching his goods as ‘gifts’. Ok; let’s see how he prepares proper deeds of gift to his teeming fans. He would need a lawyer for that; right?  Can’t the gift clause be defeated by the perfectly logical argument that installing a week-long holiday in his honour is adequate consideration by the recipients, thus creating multiple contractual relationships? The follow-up question once this is conceded as fact would then be: Do the goods meet their description as contained in the respective wish-lists? Is there adequate fitness for purpose and merchantable quality? What are the Insurance covers, especially in the light of his precarious delivery mode? What jurisdiction do the parties submit to if there are conflicts? Does Santa’s native origin reflect a Reciprocal Judgement enforcement concord with those of the various offerees?  

Further precautions would also be imperative. First, the reindeer must be withdrawn!  Its use constitutes a violation of various sovereign airspaces; and until a comprehensive international framework is developed to cover UFOs, Santa must fly in air-planes. He must endure the routine of body scans; and his bags thoroughly rifled through. Sorry; no wishes of cologne, deodorant, shampoo or liquid stain-removers this year.

Now, this is actually where his problems would only have started.  For one, his ancestry is doubtful; though he claims to be Dutch. Whatever though! Within our shores, he is an expatriate. Where is his Business permit?  What Visa does he bear? Has he been cleared by the National Investment Promotion Commission? Has the issue of Expatriate quota been addressed?  How many indigenous employees does he propose to recruit, considering the inevitability of registering a corporate entity?
And now, that dubious mode of ingress he adopts...floating in through chimneys! What honest man does that? And this, while the household sleeps! There are Legal provisions on house breaking and burglary; and he should not literally soar above the Law!

Child Right activists would also have a few things to say about the practice of cuddling kids on his laps and buying them over with gifts of candy...all the while with a twinkle in the eye. Viewed with the discerning eyes of a lawyer, that ho-ho-ho roar and belly-smacking attain a disturbing dimension at such scenarios. Therefore, he needs to satisfy beyond any doubts that he is not a previous offender.

And Alas! He wears five golden rings...on his left hand and is known to frequently hum a tune about Nine-Ladies-Dancing.  He must issue authentic certifications on exactly how many Mrs Claus-es are in the picture. While it would be naked contempt to celebrate a monogamous faith with a polygamist in the lead, the Lawyers’ concern is the Matrimonial Causes Act which by virtue of his preferred season of appearance is irrebuttably implied to bind him.

Now- those numerous trees that are bulldozed at his behest; complete with shiny decorative rays of dubious radiation levels? He would need to scale through proper Environmental Impact Assessments and other relevant statutory tests before such practice is allowed to continue.  

Finally, it is likely that the custom of writing Wish Letters will be reawakened, complete with other options enabled by the Information technologies: mobile telephony and other wireless media. It would be suggested that a stakeholder enquiry on what these portend for Cybersecurity efforts of various states be held. There is no telling what items a terrorist group will prefer; and Santa willingly oblige. He should therefore agree unreservedly for round-the-clock surveillance to be mounted on his every correspondence.

Now, this is the moment the reader tosses the paper aside with a snort, and a muttered curse on kill-joy gentlemen of the Law.
Well, well, have your celebrations, but there is an overriding obligation to the rules of modern society...and its cogent fears.
And you must concur that the above requisites do not substantially derogate from the traditional Santa-clause.


Published in Thisday Newspapers:December 21, 2010- http://www.thisdaylive.com/articles/inserting-a-legal-clause-to-santa-/71622/

No comments:

Post a Comment