John Leo

· Santa Clauses are victims of unsympathetic bosses and parents, as well as kids who ask tenacious questions, said Victor Nevada, a professional Santa in Calgary, Canada. The kids are heavy to lift and ask tough questions about Iraq and Afghanistan, he said. And there is always the risk of getting sued. ?I had a Santa working for me a couple years ago; he had a girl on his knee and he commented, ?You have nice eyes and nice hair.? She claimed sexual harassment.?

· Antoinette Millard told New Yorkers she was a Saudi princess, when she was really a divorced investment banker from Buffalo who went on a spending binge. When American Express sued to recover $951,000 in charges, Millard countersued for $2 million, saying Amex should have known she was acting irrationally because of anorexia, panic attacks, depression, and head tumors.

· Lottery winners may become victims of Sudden Wealth Syndrome, experts warn. Painful confusion, guilt, and self-destructive behavior can befall anyone who strikes it rich, according to the Money, Meaning and Choices Institute. Education and personal counseling are particularly important, the institute said, in cases of ?Ticker Shock? (anxiety and depression in response to stock market volatility) or ?Clinton Syndrome? (a condition marked by a pull between one?s childhood life and the adult life we all are supposed to be living). Psychologist Stephen Goldbart reports seeing clients afflicted with Sudden Loss of Wealth Syndrome, which often follows cases of Sudden Wealth Syndrome.

· Steven Sarenpa?s father and stepmother complained when Steven separated from his wife and found a new girlfriend. Steven says they called him a sinner. But Steven was an employee in his father?s business. After his father fired him, Steven sued his parents in federal court for religious and marital status discrimination. The case comes up this year.

· Todd Bertuzzi of hockey?s Vancouver Canucks delivered a vicious assault on Colorado?s Steve Moore, breaking Moore?s neck and two of his vertebrae. But a team official thought Bertuzzi was the victim of the news media. ?All you have done is crucify my player,? said the Canucks? general manager, Brian Burke.

· Patricia Frankhouser of Jeannette, Pa., is suing Norfolk Southern Railway over injuries she sustained when she was hit by a freight train. In her suit, she argued that the railroad should have warned her that walking along the tracks was dangerous. She also charged that the train should have yielded the right of way.

Columnist?s note: If anyone in America is not yet a social victim, don?t stay out there alone. Call or write. We will do our best to get you into a victim group.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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