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Holiday maladies

Harvey Field
Published:2016-12-21 Column
Holiday maladies    Print Snohomish Times    
Holiday maladies

By: Jill Pertler

It’s the ho-ho-holiday season and the big guy in red has some bad news about the state of affairs regarding Rudolph, Frosty and the rest of the North Pole crew. Apparently a number of new, never-before-heard-of holiday-related illnesses are on the rise this year and may interfere with reindeer flight, stocking fulfillment and toy packing capabilities of elves across the globe.

The phenomenon hit poor Mrs. Claus first. She awoke one Wednesday morning with a baffling case of fayophobia – or in plain English, a fear of elves. She holed herself up in Santa’s sleigh with her head under a blanket and thus far has refused to come out or participate in the North Pole Christmas cookie exchange.

Santa is literally beside himself with his own unique problem. He is unable to look in the mirror because he’s developed a fear of himself, otherwise known as Santa Claustrophobia. To avoid mirrors, he ran into the woods without his jacket, hat or boots. His beard and white T-shirt camouflage him in the snow and he is in current danger of contracting ho-hoperthermia.

The elves would go look for him, but most of them have fallen victim to chionophobia, or fear of snow. To further exacerbate the situation, toys are piling up in the toyshop. As long as Mrs. Claus occupies the sleigh, the elves have nowhere to pack the toys they’ve already made.

Who else has the fallout impacted? The Grinch contracted a serious case of christougenniatikophobia, an extremely long word that indicates a fear of the very holiday he attempted to steal: Christmas. His heart capacity, thus far, remains intact although the traditional roast beast dinner in Whoville is iffy at the moment.

The little drummer boy has reportedly lost his rhythm, leaving him without his rum pa pa pum. Charlie Brown has succumbed to christougenniatiko dentrophobia (fear of Christmas trees) and is refusing to star in his own holiday special. Jack Frost suffers from cheimaphobia, or fear of cold. He was last seen hitchhiking on highway 35 just south of Kansas City holding a sign that read “Mexico or bust.” Frosty the Snowman was diagnosed with cocklaphobia, which, despite what you may be thinking, is a fear of hats.

Dancer has come down with a fear of heights – acrophobia. Prancer and Vixen have acquired the closely related illness of aviophobia, or fear of flying. Dasher, Comet, Cupid, Donner and Blitzen are thus far unaffected.

Perhaps poor Rudolph has been hit the hardest in this mess. He’s got a triple affliction, the sudden onset of which occurred less than 24 hours after Mrs. Claus jumped into Santa’s sleigh. It started with rhinophobia, when Rudy discovered he was afraid of his nose. Next came erythrophobia and a fear of all things red. Finally, Rudolph completed the trifecta when he succumbed to photophobia – fear of light. He’s packed a poultice made of herbs and clay around the offending body part and has his snout buried in the snow to dim the illumination. It goes without saying that reindeer games are out of the question.

Meanwhile, back on the mainland rumors of a new virus ensue. Doronophobia has been officially diagnosed in five states. The CDC has declared a national state of emergency and is limiting travel in the upper Midwest and Alaska. Superstore execs report that hand sanitizer, disinfectant spray and vodka are flying off the shelves as the populace fights to avoid the germs that cause an irrational fear of opening gifts.

The world waits anxiously. Will the presents be delivered on time this year? Will anyone dare to open them? Will visions of sugarplums dance in our heads? Is there still time to save Christmas?

Of course there is. We’ve just got to believe.




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