As you may remember from last Tuesday, I've got a slight problem on my hands. Well, when I say “slight”, what I actually mean is “two billion children to assess for Santa's Good Deeds List before Christmas Eve”.
Maybe I'm getting old, but I just can't do this job by myself any more. Two billion children need to be classified into Good or Bad and it's time I had some help. So, after putting the job advertisement on the Winternet (it's like the internet, but North-Pole-based), someone came for a winterview (it's like an interview, but... oh, you know the rest!).
The person applying for the job was a young elf called Heidi. Things didn't get off to a great start as she was ten minutes late for the interview.
“Sorry... I'm...late...” Heidi panted. “My... icicle... alarm... didn't... go... off...” “Not a problem,” I replied, putting a big red cross through the 'Punctuality' section of my notes. To be truthful, this was a problem. Any elf expecting to get round 2 billion children before Christmas Eve has to be able to arrive places on time.
One of the first things people will tell you when you go for a job interview is to make sure you polish your shoes. Apparently that's what interviewers look for – to check that you are someone who takes pride in their appearance. Why they would be looking at your feet when they should be asking questions is another matter...
I glanced down at Heidi's feet. On one foot was a bright red sock and on the other was a bright yellow one... With a hole in! I picked up my big red pen and, with a sigh, put a big red cross through the section marked 'Neatness'.
“Ah well,” I thought “Perhaps she'll do better with the questions...”
“So Heidi,” I began. “Washington, DC, New York and Chicago are all cities in which country?”
I thought I'd start with an easy question, but I was surprised at the response I got.
“Er... Hungaria?” suggested Heidi. “Russioslavia?”
The interview was not going well. My big red pen did its big red job through the section marked 'Geographical Knowledge'.
What help is an elf who arrives late, is messy and doesn't know their way around the world?
But then Heidi asked a question of her own.
“Have any other elves applied for the job?” she asked.
There was a pause, before she continued. “Because if no one else has, then I'm all you've got.”
She was right. I had two billion children to sort out before Christmas Eve and the only elf available to help was Heidi. I had three reasons not to employ Heidi and two billion reasons why I should hire her.
So I did.
I'm a stressed-out elf, looking for assistance and Heidi will have to do. I must go now as I've got a lot of training to do, an icicle alarm to fix and some geography lessons to give. Maybe by next week Heidi will be ready to help me find children doing good deeds. I can only hope.
Next week, we'll only have a fortnight left... Wish me luck - two billion children is a very big number and two weeks is a very small one.
Your panicking friend, Toomer