Yes. There is a Santa Claus if your name is Virginia. But I strongly suspect that Virginia did not grow up to be an engineer.

When children get to that awkward age of arguing about whether Santa is real, one can spot the future engineer. One child may say that she saw presents in her parents’ closet. Another might question whether reindeer could possibly fly. And yet another point out that there are millions of kids in the world and how is it possible that St. Nick could make it everywhere in one night.

The future engineer will pick up on this argument but then state, as he will many times in the future, “Let’s do the calculations.” He will then go on to show, upon pulling out paper, pencil, and calculator, that the concept of Santa as presented by the adult population is dubious at best.

“Think of it this way. Take just our state, with a population of around 5 million people. We will be conservative in all our calculations. Say, 20% of them, or 1 million are children of Santa-visiting age. Some of these may live in the same household. We will allow 3 per household, again, fairly conservative. That means that 333,333 households in our state alone need visited. Our state is all in one time zone, but even assuming that our state is the only land mass with population in our time zone, that would mean that Santa would have one hour to visit all these children-possessing homes after the last time zone and before the next one. Santa would have 60 minutes, or 3600 seconds to do this. He would have only 0.0108 seconds to visit each home. Inversely, he would have to visit 92.5925 homes per second. Even in a bad mood and placing 90% of the kids in homes on the naughty list, Santa would still need to visit 9.25925 homes per second. I just don’t see that happening without major contortions of the space-time continuum. And we are only actually talking about a fraction of the children in the time zone, let alone the entire world, not to mention the stamina one would need…”

Before he goes on to present and weight calculations, he’s likely sitting there by himself. But he will get used to that.

Merry Christmas, future engineers.