An elf on our shelf
One of Santa’s hardest workers stops by the Chronicle
Published: Thursday, December 19th, 2013
It’s a busy time of year at the North Pole.
Santa’s workshop is in full swing as Santa’s elves scramble to finish their last-minute construction of toys to deliver to children around the world. Despite that, one of Santa’s head elves, Max, agreed to stop by the Custer County Chronicle to be this year’s subject of the Chronicle’s annual holiday issue.
Max sat down with Jason Ferguson to discuss all things North Pole, including Santa, his fellow elves and even the Affordable Care Act.
Jason Ferguson (JF):âï¿½ï¿½Thanks for stopping in, Max. Iâï¿½ï¿½know you’re a busy man this time of year.
Max the Elf (M):âï¿½ï¿½You’re quite welcome.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½I must confess, I’ve never seen an elf in person. Elf—am I allowed to refer to you as an elf? Should I say little person? Vertically challenged?
M:âï¿½ï¿½The word elf still flies at the North Pole, so get your fill.
JP: So how does one become one of Santa’s elves?
M:âï¿½ï¿½As you might imagine, it’s something you’re born into. I’m an elf like my daddy, and his daddy before him. You’re born at North Pole Regional Hospital and raised to be an elf. There is intense training involved and you’re given a set of tools at a young age. And it’s not just building toys. We cook, clean, take care of the reindeer. It is a full-time, year-around job.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½So basically, if your parents are one of Santa’s elves, you are one of his elves the minute you’re born?
M:âï¿½ï¿½No, that’s not the case. You aren’t forced to work in Santa’s workshop if you discover it isn’t for you. While being one of Santa’s elves is something most elves strive to achieve, it isn’t for everyone. Each year, many elves leave the North Pole and set out on their own career paths. We have doctors, lawyers, musicians, you name it. One of our most famous elves now makes a handsome living telling jokes. His name is Kevin Hart.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½Was there ever a time you didn’t want to be an elf?
M: I briefly thought about leaving the workshop to pursue a basketball career. Iâï¿½ï¿½tried out for the University of Texas college team, but I was subsequently cut.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½So what you’re saying is, you came up short. Ha.
JF: (Throat clearing).
M: (More silence).
M: Oh, are you done? Was that a joke? A height joke? Original.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½Ummm, well some of our staff members and readers had some questions they wanted you to answer.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½What are the pay and benefits like for an elf?
M: We get compensated well. Of course, I won’t give out actual amounts, but we do well. Plus, we get all the peanut brittle and cider we can consume, and Santa offers a very generous sick pay and vacation package. We also get cookies and milk breaks, and free room and board.
JF: Wow, nice. Do you have insurance? How does the new Affordable Care Act affect you?
M: It doesn’t. We are exempt from it, just like Congress, since we are a part of the government.
JF: Part of the government? What?
M: Yes, we are an offshoot of the National Security Agency.
M: He sees you when you’re sleeping? He knows when you’re awake? How do you think that is? Don’t be naive. Iâï¿½ï¿½know you’re somewhat bright, because I have seen what you have Googled on the internet the past five years. Which reminds me—dude, get over the Mila Kunis obsession. She doesn’t know you’re alive.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½Are you represented? Unionized?
M:âï¿½ï¿½Well, we were at one time, but technology has made that impossible. We are having to work more and more hours and start earlier and earlier in the year to be able to build the complicated gadgets that exist today. Things were so much easier in the 1930s. Do you have any idea how much easier it is to make a slinky or a wooden car than it is to make an IPad?
JF:âï¿½ï¿½I do not, but Iâï¿½ï¿½can imagine there is quite a difference.
M:âï¿½ï¿½You got that right. We used to begin building things for Christmas right after Halloween. Now it’s right after Labor Day. I wanted to start a campaign that would have seen children ask for live animals such as puppies for Christmas. We don’t have to build puppies. Santa put the kibosh on that. I’m telling you, if it weren’t for my vacation to Jamaica each spring, I would lose it. Steve Jobs has made my life very difficult. Kids used to want dolls. Now they want Apple products.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½It doesn’t sound like you like your job, Max.
M:âï¿½ï¿½No, I love it. I just like to rant once in a while. It is hard work. There is definitely job security, because Christmas gets more and more commercialized and society as a whole is much more greedy than they once were.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½How many elves are there at the workshop?
M:âï¿½ï¿½We usually hover around the 5,000 to 6,000 mark.
JF: Wow! That must be quite a complex to house that many elves.
M:âï¿½ï¿½It sure is. The married elves have little cottages. The single elves live in dorms. The dorms are not co-ed anymore, however. We have found there is far less drama if we separate the sexes.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½Drama? What kind?
M: The kind you see on reality TV. We never had separate dorms until 1976, when a couple of elves named Floyd and Lulu brought their personal problems to work. Next thing you know, we’re dodging half-built toys that Lulu is rifling at Floyd. She even went after him with her workshop-issued mallet and tried to tee off on him. We ended up having to talk her down off a six foot shelf in the break room. When you’re as short as we are, a six foot fall is serious business.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½Our next question comes from Custer Elementary student Dominic Bryans. He wants to know why you have long, pointy ears?
M: Well, it’s nice to hear from Dominic. I appreciate the question. Unfortunately, I don’t have a really good answer. It’s just a trait of an elf. It’s the same reason birds have beaks and horses have hooves. That’s just how our DNAâï¿½ï¿½has been from the beginning. Some say they have evolved to that point so we look better in our bell hats, but Iâï¿½ï¿½don’t know if I believe that. Personally, I enjoy a good Fedora, anyway.
JF: What do you think of the “Elf on a Shelf” thing?
M:âï¿½ï¿½I think it’s the reason I don’t log on to Facebook during the month of December.
JF: Our editor, Norma, wants to know what Santa’s relationship is like with is wife.
M:âï¿½ï¿½They are a very cute couple. He still sends her flowers and cards constantly, and she dotes on him as well. They are perfect for each other. Iâï¿½ï¿½suppose when you’re the only full-fledged human beings within a 1,000 mile radius of where you live, it helps keep the embers of love burning.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½What’s the biggest misconception people have about elves?
M:âï¿½ï¿½That we all talk in falsetto. As you can tell, I have a perfectly normal male voice.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½Yep, sounds pretty deep to me.
M:âï¿½ï¿½I’m sometimes referred to as the “James Earl Jones” of Santa’s Workshop.
JF: That’s no moon.....
M:âï¿½ï¿½Nobody is going to get that Star Wars joke.
JF:âï¿½ï¿½You got it.
JF: Well Max, I think that’s all the questions I had for you. Thanks again for stopping by. It’s been great to talk to you.
M:âï¿½ï¿½You as well. I wish you and all of your readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. And remember children, ask for pets for Christmas. Pets!
Click Here To See More Stories Like This