Glowing Red Nose Syndrome

A long time ago, Rudolph the Reindeer was born. He was healthy, kind, and very intelligent, knowing his own mother, father, and even Santa just hours after he was born. Everything about this young reindeer was perfect, except for this glowing red nose shining like a beacon. His parents were disturbed, and worried about how his glowing red nose would impact his development. Hopefully, it would go away in time.

Santa saw this glowing red nose and became very worried about the growing epidemic of glowing red noses among little newborn reindeer. Santa and the chief toymaker, Elfie Marcus, had attended a reindeer convention that year where the veterinarian Dr. Cordero said that 1 in 166 reindeer was born with a glowing red nose, and it must be treated like an infectious disease. Panels at the reindeer convention gave different and contradictory reasons why so many reindeer were now being born with red noses: vaccines meant to make the reindeer more resilient against deadly diseases were instead poisoning their bodies and making their noses red; the reindeer drinking water was poisoned with toxic heavy metals from the toy factories and it needed to be treated by making the reindeer drink bleach; some panelists even said that red noses could be treated by transferring poop from the body of a normal reindeer into the body of a red-nosed reindeer. Santa, with his seemingly limitless resources, threw money at many different potential treatments and cures for glowing red nose syndrome to make the problem go away.

The year that Rudolph was born, Mr. and Mrs. Claus, along with many of the chiefs of the toy factories and celebrity elves, founded a medical charity called Red Noses Speak. Red Noses Speak sounded the alarm to all the families of the world about the dangers of red noses and how more and more reindeer were being born with these atypical noses. Families, schools, communities, and businesses gave Santa billions of dollars to fund ways to fix the problematic red noses in his reindeer teams. To raise even more money, Elfie Marcus began to use his toy factories to develop special glowing red light bulbs which families and schools bought to raise awareness about glowing red nose syndrome.

Rudolph’s parents, Mr. and Mrs. Donner, enrolled Rudolph in Applied Nose Analysis to make his glowing red nose go away. The board-certified nose analyst put Rudolph in 40 hours a week of hoof-over-hoof therapy to teach him how to make his glowing nose go dim and brown. From age 5 to age 16, Rudolph did 40 hours of ANA every week on top of his 40 hours of reindeer school. Rudolph had no time to rest, no time to play, no time to be a young foolish reindeer exploring his world, but his parents hoped that all of this expensive therapy would help him be normal as an adult. They believed that the earlier you intervene in the child’s life, the easier it is to correct their abnormal nose.

16 years passed and Rudolph still had his glowing red nose. Ultimately, his parents put a fake brown nose over his real one and said “don’t ever let anybody see you with this silly red nose, it’s not for adults”. At the reindeer games, where the reindeer have their tryouts to pull Santa’s sleigh, Rudolph performed at the top of his class. He flew higher and faster than any of the other reindeer his age. But when he landed, his fake brown nose fell off, and everybody could see the glowing red beacon on his face. They laughed, teased him, called him names, and bullied him. He was expelled from the reindeer games for his birth defect and Rudolph ran away into the mountains to be alone and wonder why he had to be so different.

While Rudolph was in the mountains, he met two unlikely friends. He met an elf named Singer, who ran away from Santa’s workshop because she wanted to be a sociologist instead of a toymaker, who taught Rudolph that red noses were all a part of the beautiful diversity of life. Rudolph also met Steve Cornelius, a miner in search of “Silberman’s Gold” who taught him the hundreds of years of history of red nose reindeer, and that Rudolph’s red nose linked him to generations of reindeer much like him. Rudolph wanted to meet all of these red nose reindeer he had never seen before, so they took him to the Island of Misfit Noses. There were all kinds of misfits here, not just reindeer, but toys, animals, and humans all living together even though they looked so different. There were not just red noses, but orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple noses too. They had made a home together, where they had many disputes and did not always agree, but they often gave each other a kinship and respect they did not receive elsewhere.

Rudolph, Singer, Steve Cornelius, and some of the other reindeer with glowing noses returned to the North Pole. Many of the reindeer, seeing that having a dim brown nose was not any more special or better than a glowing nose, apologized to Rudolph and committed themselves to learning about reindeer diversity. Just then, on Christmas Eve, a dangerous fog came over the North Pole and Santa was in danger of missing his deadline to get the presents delivered. He asked Rudolph for help pulling the sleigh.

“Since I have a glowing red nose, will I be guiding the sleigh through the fog?” asked Rudolph

“We can’t have that”, said Santa, “we need our best reindeer out front teaching others about cures and treatments for red nose syndrome, and we expect you to follow their lead”

“Will I be paid as much as the rest of the reindeer on your team?” asked Rudolph”No”, replied Santa, “but we will be able to show the world that we have a progressive and inclusive workplace at the North Pole and you will have an excellent opportunity to list on a resume”

Rudolph and his friends returned to The Island of Misfit Noses. They didn’t need that noise.

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