Santa sparks identity crisis

* And you thought you had many usernames to remember ...

Last issue I talked about identity as we saw it 10 years ago, in 1999. Today, I'd like to reprise a newsletter from five years ago, Christmas week in 2004. Nothing much has changed in those five years, or everything has. As the French say: "plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose." Happy Holidays, everybody!

One man, 60-plus identities  

It's that time of year when it seems our biggest identity problem is "will I remember who and where I am if I have another round of egg nog?" But there's one guy who goes through a major identity crisis each year at this time.

Every year, from Dec. 6 through Jan. 6, someone visits many of the children of the world and brings them presents. If you think remembering all your user names is tough, think of the problem he has! In various places around the world he's known as:

Agios Vassilios

Befano

Belsnickel

Black Peter

Bozic Bata

Bozicek

Christmas Bock

Ded Moroz

Dedek Mraz

Diado Coleda

Dun Che Lao Ren

Father Christmas

Father Frost

Fur Clad Nicholas

Gaghant Baba

Ganesha

Grandfather Frost

Hagios Nikolaos

Jezuscek

Jolasveinn

Jolly Old Elf

Joulupukki

Jouluvana

Julemand

Julgubben

Jultomten

Kaledu Senis

Kanakaloka

Karácsony Apó

Kriss Kringle

Miklavz

Mos Craciun

Niklo

Noel

På norsk

Pai Natal

Papa Noel

Papai Noel

Pelze-Nicol

Pére Noel

Saint Nicholas

Samiclaus

San Nicolás

Santa Claus

Santa Klausam

Santa Kurohsu

Santy

Shakhta Babah

Shengdan Laoren

Sing dan lo ian

Sint Nikolass

Sinterklaas

Sion Corn

Star Man

Svaty Mikulas

Swiety Mikolaj

Tomte

Vovo Indo

Winter Holiday Old Man

Wise Man

Ziemmassve'tku veci'tis

[Credit: The Santa Lady]

That's almost 60 different usernames! And those are only the most popular ones. Now since he does have to travel around the world, he probably needs a passport in each name as well as a description and picture. This part is hard to explain, though, as the pictures I've seen show both a tall thin man as well as a short round one. It may be that we're dealing with multiple people rather than multiple personas. I understand that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is investigating.

We're taking a break next week, so have a wonderful holiday, remember who you are, then join us again right after the New Year festivities.

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