What do you do when Santa has a heart attack?
A man playing Santa collapsed in front of about 750 elementary schoolchildren at a Christmas assembly.
John Rappach, 60, clutched his chest and fell near the end of the assembly at Roosevelt Elementary in Hubbard on Wednesday. He was in critical condition on Thursday.
School officials ushered in crisis counselors and assured students that Santa would be fine and ready for Christmas Eve, Superintendent Richard Buchenic said.
I've been pretty dismissive of our recent dependence on "crisis" and "grief" counselors. But in this case, it must take a quick wit to convince a 6 year-old that Santa was just tired -- what with all the present-making and sleigh-loading -- and just needs to cut down on his smoking and love of fried foods. He'll be just fine.
[Update:] And then there's the annual story of the earnest-yet-clueless "educator" who can't bear passing along a culture's mythology to its young.
Jamey Schaeffer stretched her mouth open wide, showing off a pair of twin gaps in her smile. With a mouthful of fingers, she said she has no interest in two front teeth for Christmas.
Instead, she’d like a Barbie doll from Santa Claus — and Santa Claus only.
But a substitute music teacher almost came between the 6-year-old and a Christmas Eve spent dancing cheek to cheek with sugar plums.
Theresa Farrisi stood in for Schaeffer’s regular music teacher one day last week. One of her assignments was to read Clement C. Moore’s famous poem, “A Visit from Saint Nicholas” to a first-grade class at Lickdale Elementary School.
“The poem has great literary value, but it goes against my conscience to teach something which I know to be false to children, who are impressionable,” said Farrisi, 43, of Myerstown. “It’s a story. I taught it as a story. There’s no real person called Santa Claus living at the North Pole.”
Farrisi doesn’t believe in Santa Claus, and she doesn’t think anyone else should, either. She made her feelings clear to the classroom full of 6- and 7-year-olds, some of whom went home crying.
Schaeffer got off the school bus later that day, dragging her backpack in the mud, tears in her angry little eyes.
“She yelled at me, ‘Why did you lie?’” recalled Jamey’s mother, Elizabeth. “‘Why didn’t you tell me Santa Claus died?’”
This young woman may harbor the ability to unleash the musical creativity of the young, but if she's this clueless, I'd doubt it.