Elf on the Shelf: The Interview

Following a marketing strategy of epic proportions, Elf on the Shelf (EOTS) has become a holiday tradition. The concept? EOTS spies on children, then flies to the North Pole each night between Thanksgiving and Christmas to give Santa a full report on the children’s behavior. Every morning he returns to the home and hides so he can gather the best intel. elf

Creepy Level (On a scale from 1-10): 14,987

To more fully understand his disturbing job, I sat down with an EOTS, who asked to remain anonymous.

Me: Thanks for talking with me today. Do you mind if I record this?

EOTS: It’s already being recorded.

Me:  . . . Okay, then. From watching movies, I’ve learned that if a doll, such as yourself, comes to life, there’s a 110 percent chance it will kill people in a horribly terrifying way. Should parents be concerned?

EOTS: I can neither confirm nor deny that some elves have turned to cannibalism.

Me: I wasn’t asking about cannib. . .

EOTS: Neither confirm nor deny.

Me: Critics have called your activities, “Part of our current surveillance state” and “A step above a nanny cam” and “Menacing as shit.” How do you respond to those statements?

EOTS: We provide a service that bullies children into making good choices. Kids are notorious liars and thieves. Our program gives parents a 30-day break from the dishonest behavior of their children.

Me: Does it trouble you to know you’re invading the privacy of millions of children? Are you afraid they’ll learn to accept being “monitored” and “reported on” is normal?

EOTS: Organizations like Santa Claus, Inc., are set up to promote good behavior through fear and intimidation. We’re not “invading privacy” like many uneducated people claim. We’re giving Santa info so he can deliver the appropriate gifts based on recent performance.

For example, Johnny pushes his sister into a wall. On Christmas morning, Johnny finds his goldfish stapled to that same wall. Lesson learned.

Me: Will there be a time when you have a camera installed in your belly so you can upload video directly to Santa?

EOTS: (lighting his third cigarette) No comment.

Me: There’s a rule that children cannot touch an EOTS. Why is that and what kind of message does that send?

EOTS: First, we hate being touched. Second, we must keep our distance from these childish cretins so their sins don’t get carried back to the North Pole. In 2011, an EOTS spent the night snuggling with a little girl. When he returned to the NP, he brought with him chicken pox that nearly took Santa out of commission. Santa recovered, the girl got a box of rocks.

The No-Touch message is, “Don’t touch the f***ing elf because we are not to be messed with and we control your lives!!”

Me: What do you do for the rest of the year? There are rumors that you are independent contractors for the NSA.

EOTS:  No comment.

Me: Thank you for your time. Wait. Why are you hiding behind my computer? You know I can see you, right?

EOTS: (crushing his cigarette under his tiny foot). Be good now.

 

 

 

Top 5 Reasons Thanksgiving Gets No Respect

Shelved between the gory chaos of Halloween and the rabid excess of Christmas, Thanksgiving gets no respect. It’s the Rodney Dangerfield of holidays.

rodney

(Google him, you young punks.)

Is it because we’re not grateful? Is it because no one really likes stuffing and cranberries? Here’s my hypothesis regarding Thanksgiving’s no-respect status.

  1. We’re too busy formulating Black Friday plans. It takes a foolproof strategy to hit 17 stores before 4:30 a.m. to get free plush footballs and a jar of pickles for 25 cents. Instead of giving thanks, we’re shredding the fat Thanksgiving newspaper to plan our Black Friday pillaging.
  2. There’s no cute mascot. Along with Santa, reindeer and Baby Jesus, you have that rat-bastard Elf on the Shelf and his minions that are marketed to death for the Christmas holiday. Time to introduce Scruffy the Squirrel who sits in the tree outside your bedroom making sure you count your blessings every night . . . or else. . .
  3. Boring backstory. Once you’re out of elementary school, you’ve heard the story of the first Thanksgiving SO MANY TIMES you can’t take it any more. Blah, blah, blah feast. Blah, blah, blah pilgrims.
  4. There are no presents. Getting to the crux of the matter, if you don’t get free stuff (toys, shoes, candy, beer, etc.) you’re not interested. (Hint: We’re supposed to be grateful for what we already have.)
  5. Maybe we just forget. After Halloween, merchants remove ANY fall merchandise, including turkeys and pilgrims, to make way for Christmas. If you’ve ever tried to purchase autumn-toned napkins on Nov. 19, you are s*** out of luck.

napkins(Just pretend it’s a turkey, will ya?)

Top 5 Humor Writing Tips

People sometimes ask me, “How do you write funny?” I’m not sure if they mean my writing is humorous or the way I write is hilarious. So, I usually stare at these people until they wander off.

If they’re asking how I come up with funny topics and put them on paper (or screen), I share my Top 5 Humor Writing Tips.

Kidnap Pulitzer Prize-winning humor columnist Dave Barry. Some people think Dave retired from writing his nationally syndicated humor column, but that is not the case. He is living under the stairs in my basement (ala Harry Potter) and he gives me funny phrases for food. It’s a win-win.

dave-barry

(Have you seen this man?)

Channel your bitterness and anger. Writing my humor column was the only thing that kept my teenage daughters alive. After a day of whining, slamming doors, moody sighs and over-the-top drama, they’d see me writing and back off. And their behavior wasn’t great either.

Use hyperbole ALL THE TIME. It’s one thing to say, “It’s so cold, my dog is shivering” and quite another thing to say, “It’s so cold my dog is selling lap dances to purchase a ticket to San Diego.” Exaggerate everything until the hyperbolic part of your brain explodes into a million shards of dark humor.

hyperbole

Document everyday situations. So you were driving to see Trolls but instead you crashed into a median, ruptured your front tire, lost your hubcap and had to deal with a mansplaining mechanic who talked to you like you were suffering from brain damage. Yep. Write about that.

Read funny stuff. When Dave Barry stops talking to you because he thinks that’s a good idea, browse the internet for funny articles. Reading different types of comedic writing can get your humorous juices flowing (which is actually really gross) and you’ll be typing up knee-slapping blog posts in no time at all.

If none of those ideas work, maybe you’re just not funny. Have you considered a career in math?

 

 

American Horror Story

It’s finally here: Election Day 2016. The day dawned like any normal Tuesday, which means it sucked from the get-go. Of course it’s gone steadily downhill.

We’ve endured it all.

Hillary’s the Antichrist. Secretary Clinton with her emails and evil foundation with world leaders in her pocket; with her disingenuous smile and faux love for all mankind.

clinton

Trump is the Angel of Darkness. The Donald with his oozing smarminess that he smears on the general public like a rash ointment; his dramatic, racist and misogynistic speeches that border on incomprehensible at best and horrific at worst.

trump

Now we wait.

Which of these “leaders” will represent America for the next four years? Which one will set policy, host foreign dignitaries and uphold the rights of ALL Americans? Is it too late to start over?

I’m sure neither candidate will get 50% of the popular vote. I’m sure neither candidate will weather the next four years with grace and diplomacy.

But we can.

We can turn this horror story of an election around as people across the country come together to heal the division and bridge the racial chasms in the U.S. Or we can continue to bitch about the situation without lifting a finger to change anything–including our own actions.

You see, it’s really not about Trump vs. Clinton. It’s about the populace joining forces despite the anger and rhetoric that has permeated this election.

I’m just one voice. But so are you.

After seeing the choices, it’s up to us.

 

 

Things I’m Not Going to Do Today

People are obsessed with to-do lists. I don’t get it. Why start your day with an entire page of things you MUST get done before your head can hit the pillow at night? Sounds like a recipe for madness.

pink-panther

Here’s what I do instead: I make a list of things I refuse to do so when it’s time for bed, I can experience a sense of moral superiority instead of abject failure. Something like this:

  • No matter how much I’m provoked, I will not stab a chopstick into the heart of the woman sitting behind me at Panda Express who speaks at a 100 decibel level about how her son’s school has conspired against him so he fails at everything.
  • I will not ram my Nissan into the Honda  that swerved in and out of traffic, only to pull in front of me and stop. Although I had to slam on my brakes so I didn’t crush his car like a beer can, and although I spilled my smoothie all over the car seat, I will not resort to petty car crashes just to relieve my immense anger.

roadroage

(But I didn’t, so I win at life, right?)

  • I will resist the urge to sledgehammer all technology after my computer shuts down multiple &@%! times and after my email system crashes and after my scanner decides to take a coffee break and refuses to work for 98 minutes, and after the phone system goes all Mr. Robot on me and tries to take down the entire solar system.
  • Although I would be acquitted, I’m not going to staple someone’s tongue to the wall after I listen to him mansplain how women need to stop being so uptight about “equality” (his air quotes, not mine).

Because I didn’t resort to any of that petty behavior, I think I deserve a hot fudge sundae before bed.

 

Things Driving Me Crazy Today

Let’s see. So much to choose from. Between the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse Election 2016 and the upcoming Catastrophonic Winter, there’s no end to what’s driving me crazy.

snow

But to spare you hours of reading time, I narrowed it down to these:

  • When I wake up five minutes before the alarm goes off.
  • When I realize the tag in my shirt keeps sticking out because my shirt is on backwards.
  • Taking spoons out of the garbage disposal. (AAACCKK!! Must wash my hands with bleach!!!!)

skrillex

  • Anything with the name Trump or Hillary.
  • Trying to throw together a Halloween costume with trash bags, Kleenex and Scotch tape.
  • When I have a zit near my nose that looks like a booger.
  • People who aren’t registered to vote who bitch about the election.
  • Commercials with CGI characters.

commercial

(Not cool.)

  • When I can’t fast-forward through commercials.
  • When I eat my last piece of hidden chocolate.
  • Sticky floors.
  • People who talk to me while staring at my hairline. Look in my eyes, dammit!
  • Hot chocolate that isn’t hot.

Hopefully, we don’t experience any of this stuff today–but it IS Tuesday . . .

Here’s Why I Vote

obiwan

Choosing a presidential candidate this election is equivalent to deciding which type of knife you want to stab into your eyeball. As South Park creators so eloquently put it, we’re choosing between a “Big Douche and a Turd Sandwich”.

In Utah, where most of our representatives lean white and right, it’s frustrating to see the same type of people elected to office over and over and over and over . . .

But I vote anyway. Every election. Every time.

More than 100 years ago, suffragettes fought for my right to vote. They were labeled, imprisoned and institutionalized. If I believe in any kind of equality, I need to cast my ballot, if only to not kick those great women in the teeth.

Here’s why I vote:

My vote matters. Okay, maybe not for the presidential race which is determined by the electoral college, a college that should definitely lose its accreditation and football team. But local races affect me. Changes come through local government. Rare, I know, but it happens.

I can complain. If you don’t cast a ballot, you can’t complain about the government. Period.

Because free stickers!!

voting-sicker

Not voting is a vote. Apathy created the situation we’re in today. When voters stayed home during the 2010 mid-term election, the Mad Hatter’s Tea Party was allowed to evolve into a thing.

The entire world is watching. The global community is watching the U.S. to see how we handle this shit-storm of an election–and to see if we’re going to screw up the galaxy forever. If other countries could vote in our presidential election, they would turn out in droves.

My grandkids. A couple of years ago, my grandson asked me if I had voted. I gave him a resounding, “Hell, yes!” (Disclaimer: Saying “hell” is not child abuse. Get your knickers unwadded.) An entire generation is watching us, witnessing either our dedication or apathy to democracy. They will respond accordingly when they’re old enough to vote.

wwlkd