Attack of the Holiday Pathogens
Oh no! The Grinch and his South Pole Elves (pathogens) have decided they want to ruin the holidays for the world by stealing the holiday spirit! But worry not, everyone at the North Pole (bone marrow/immune system) is not going to let that happen!
Nutcrackers (neutrophils) and Santa Claus (monocyte) arrive right away and flash freeze the South Pole Elves with the help of Frosty the Snowman (eosinophil). Rudolf (basophil) hears the commotion and comes running, his shiny red nose a beacon to the world that something is amiss!
Around the world, holiday spirit is dwindling and snow is melting (inflammation/fever) because Santa and the Nutcrackers weren’t able to freeze all of the South Pole Elves, but never fear – Mrs Claus (B-Cell), Santa’s Reindeer (T-Cells) and the North Pole Elves (antibodies) are here!
Before Santa and the Nutcrackers froze all the South Pole Elves, they noticed they had gingerbread cookies (antigens) in their pockets. Of course, being cookie lovers, Santa and the Nutcrackers gobbled up the gingerbread cookies.
Since Santa and the Nutcrackers eat loads of cookies, they have developed the ability to decipher the recipe used to make a cookie with just one bite! Back at the North Pole, Santa and the Nutcrackers show Mrs Claus the gingerbread cookie recipe used by the South Pole Elves and she sets about making a big batch for all the North Pole Elves.
After just one bite, the North Pole Elves are able to remember these gingerbread cookies, the same ones Santa and the Nutcrackers took from the South Pole Elves.
This cookie-remembering skill has already come in handy because look – more South Pole Elves are launching an attack to help the Grinch fight his grinchy battle! The North Pole Elves recognize the South Pole Elves right away because of the cookies in their pockets, and head straight to Santa and the Nutcrackers to let them know. As soon as the North Pole Elves tell them, Santa and the Nutcrackers flash freeze the south pole elves before they have the chance to steal any more holiday cheer.
Meanwhile, the Grinch himself has snuck into a Christmas tree farm and is beginning to steal all the trees! All he wants is to make everyone sad so he is making sure no one can get a Christmas tree this year! But Santa’s Reindeer who also got a taste of Mrs Claus’ gingerbread cookies are on patrol. Of course, the Grinch sometimes gets hungry so he carries a stash of the same gingerbread cookies as the South Pole Elves – he got the cookies from them after all.
But Santa’s Reindeer, with their strong noses sniff out the Grinch hiding in the Christmas tree farm from the cookies he’s got in his pocket. The Reindeer use their antlers and charge at the Grinch, taking down some Christmas trees with them. Even though some trees had to be sacrificed, the Reindeer heroically trap the Grinch in a cage of antlers, stopping him from stealing any more trees!
All is well around the world again – with the South Pole Elves frozen, and the Grinch trapped by the Reindeer, the snow begins to fall and holiday spirit returns.
Even though the North Pole is only mentioned around the holiday season, it’s always a bustle of activity, keeping the world safe from South Pole Elves and the Grinch!
This article was originally published in STEM Up on December 22, 2020.
Illustration by Shanling Lei