Get ready to relearn the names of Santa’s reindeer, Modern Philosophers, because Donner has gone to court to legally change his name. The papers were filed today in North Pole Superior Court, and the change should be official by the end of the week.
This Modern Philosopher Skyped with the reindeer of the moment to discuss why the sudden change. “It wasn’t sudden at all, Austin,” Tony explained. “I’ve been mulling this move for a few decades, and finally decided that the time was right.”
I pressed him for why he felt a change was needed after being known for centuries as Donner to generations of children who love and adore him.
“Being one of Santa’s reindeer is a big deal,” Tony quickly replied. ” We are the big men on the North Pole campus. I never thought Donner was a cool enough name to go with such high profile celebrity status.”
Hollywood legend Richard Donner might disagree with that statement…
After a little prodding, I got Tony to open up a bit more. “Okay, you got me,” he admitted as he peered at me over top of his sunglasses. “I always thought Donner sounded too much like Donna. The other reindeer teased me about it. Even Rudolph with his ridiculous red nose felt he could mock me. I couldn’t take it any more. Tony is a macho, masculine, tough guy name. No one taunts Tony!”
I couldn’t bring myself to tell him that Toni also happens to be a pretty popular female name. I had to let the guy have his moment.
How do the other reindeer feel about the change? None of them would go on the record about that. My Modern Philosopher gut told me, however, that the rest of the team wasn’t too keen on the idea of one reindeer singling himself out for attention this close to Christmas. They are a very tight knit and elite unit.
If you recall, there were a lot of problems when Santa brought in Rudolph to lead the team, and he suddenly got all the publicity. It took years of group therapy before they all worked through that one. Clearly, the team doesn’t want to go through that again, and is remaining silent in hopes that this will quickly blow over.
“I’m happy for the guy,” Fred excitedly screamed at me as he looked like he wanted to bear hug me through the laptop. “He’s the salt of the earth. Not a better reindeer will you ever meet. Yeah, I’ve seen the rest of the guys sassing him about the name, and I even saw him taking some crap from a couple of elves about it. So I get the vibe he’s working through and why he needed to make the change.”
“Yo, Tony! What’s up, T-Bone? Tony, Tony, Tony! I think I might call him Anthony just to mess with him a little, but it’s all good. All’s well at the Pole.”
There was one more being I wanted to speak for this piece, and luckily, being in Maine made that one a cinch. I met the ghost of Clement C. Moore down by the river and we took a stroll on this nippy Winter afternoon to ponder the implications of the name change.
“I am most certainly perplexed by the notion,” confessed the author of the most famous poem ever written about Christmas. “For me, the name Donner will forever be a part of my work. By changing his name, he is changing history as far as I’m concerned. How many children have had my poem read to them on Christmas Eve? Millions I suppose. All of them hearing the name Donner recited.”
We walked in silence and the strong winds caused the ghost to shimmer. “Then again, if the name change goes through, my publishing house will have to fire up the printing presses and churn out hundreds of thousands of new copies of my work. That’s going to seriously help me catch up with Shakespeare and Stephen King on the publishing charts. Plus, it means tons of cash for my heirs. Ka-ching! Woot, woot! Show me the money!”
So what do you think, Modern Philosophers? Is it okay to mess with centuries of holiday tradition because one reindeer doesn’t like being teased? Is Tony the name you would’ve chosen if you were Donner?
Send your comments my way. Make sure you address them to Austin because that is a name I will never change.