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Another Other Reindeer

2019-12-29

By now, we’ve all heard of Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer. Many of us have even heard of Olive, the other reindeer. But, did you know that there is another other reindeer?

It’s true! His name is Watts, and he is Rudolph’s grandfather.

Unlike the other reindeer, Watts refused to waste his time playing reindeer games. Instead, he often worked very closely with the elves and helped them invent several new toys. He is credited with inventing the sled, which remains a wintertime favorite among children even today. His design was later revised to create a larger sleigh, which allowed gifts to be transported more efficiently. Nowadays, it’s impossible to imagine Santa without his sleigh and reindeer!

But, this success just caused Watts to become even more ambitious. He considered creating an even better toy, but quickly realized that this would be a waste of effort. Based upon his calculations, the “perfect toy” would only be about 2.72% more enjoyable than the sled. If he wanted to have a significant impact on enjoyment, then he would need to fundamentally change the underlying calculus.

That’s when Watts had an epiphany.

The limiting factor was not the enjoyability of the toys. No, it was the amount of time that the children could play with the toys! Back then, children had to spend most of their time either going to school or doing chores. This left them with only about 2 days to enjoy their toys each year. If Watts could devise a way to increase this to 6 days, then he could increase the global net enjoyment by an astonishing 200% !!! But how?

Nowadays, the solution to this conundrum seems obvious; but, back then, it wasn’t. Watts experimented with time dilation, but the tremendous energy costs proved to be impractical. He also considered slowing down the earth’s orbit, but he was concerned that crashing a gigantic meteor into the earth might have other undesireable consequences. Finally, mere weeks before Christmas, he concocted a surprisely straightforward solution: snow days!

As we all know, “snow days” are days in which school is cancelled due to inclement weather. To put it bluntly, Watts (accidentally?) released billions of tons of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, thereby inventing inclement weather. Snow days were just a happy accident.

The children were happy! The elves were happy! Everybody was happy!

Except Santa. Santa was absolutely livid.

You might think that you’ve heard this part of the story before. Christmas was nearly cancelled due to a blizzard, and Rudolph saved the day with his brilliant red nose. Well, that’s what happened during the second Christmas blizzard. During the first Christmas blizzard, Watts was given an ultimatum: he could either find a way to navigate through the blizzard, or he could serve 72 consecutive life sentences without the possibility of parole. His choice!

In fact, Watts already had a solution in mind. He had dabbled in genetic engineering years ago, and thus he already discovered a way to grant luminescence to mammals. If he amped this up by a factor of 100, then he could easily create a light that would pierce through the storm. There was only one catch: his treatment would only work if the mammal was still a baby. So, without even asking for permission, he secretly applied this treatment to his newborn grandson, Rudolph.

Of course, Rudolph was still way too small to pull a sleigh! Well, more correctly: safety regulations mandated that Rudolph would need to be at least twice his current size before he would be permitted to pull a sleigh. Fortunately, Watts had a solution for this as well: he would inject Rudolph with some rapid-growth hormones. This would cause Rudolph to quadruple in size over the course of 2 weeks. This was plenty of time to meet the Christmas deadline!

But, moments before Watts followed through with his plan, he realized there was another problem: Rudolph was too young to understand spoken language! Even if Rudolph was hitched to the sleigh, he would be unable to follow Santa’s orders. He would be as useless as a baby!

But, you know who wasn’t useless? That’s right — Watts! In an act of heroism, Watts applied the rapid-growth hormones to his own eyes. Over the next couple of weeks, his eyes grew larger and larger. The bigger his eyes got, the more light they could take in. And, the more light they took in, the better he could see. By the time Christmas rolled around, he was able to gaze straight through the blizzard! Santa was able to deliver the toys, and Christmas was saved!

Unfortunately, this was the last time Watts ever pulled the sleigh. Don’t worry — he didn’t die or anything. But, once the blizzard subsided, there was too much sunlight for his retinas to handle. He went blind almost instantly. He still works in the toyshop with the elves, but these days he serves as more of a visionary (no pun intended).

On one hand, Watts saved Christmas; on the other hand, it was his own hubris that nearly ruined Christmas forever. So, it’s unsurprising that there have never been any Christmas carols written about him. Still, it’s sad that his story never went down in history.

Although his story was almost forgotten, his name was not. In fact, people often shout it as a warning to others. So, the next time you see somebody cooking up a crazy or dangerous idea, just remember to shout:

Watts, the Big-Eye’d Deer!!