If my wife is away, then the rest of us have a say:
We interrupt this regularly scheduled blog to bring you a special interview with some of the folks often mentioned on a weekly basis. We have here today Ken, T, Titus, and Raven.
Raven: “Mentioned?” You mean “victimized”.
Interviewer: You think you’re victims?
Raven: Well, I am. I’m never portrayed as the hero.
Titus: Did you say sandwich?
T: Nobody said sandwich.
Titus: Isn’t there a hero sandwich? I was promised food if I did this interview.
Interviewer: Well, let’s just slow things down a bit and ask a few orderly questions. Raven says she doesn’t like the way she is portrayed. How do the rest of you feel?
T: I wish I had a name. I’m all for protecting my identity, but I AM 18.
Ken: Do you want your name given when she reminisces about when you were a baby. Like the time I had to change your diaper three times in one 20-minute drive. Man, you just wouldn’t stop shitting.
Titus: He said it. He said the S-word. Where’s the treats?
Raven: They’re in my litter box, dummy.
Interviewer: No one’s eating out of the litterbox during this interview.
Interviewer: How about you Ken? How do you like being mentioned?
Ken: It’s okay, I guess. It HAS caused me to preface our intimate conversations with, “This is off the record.” Otherwise, it ends up in the blog.
Titus: You can do that? Next time I mention a dick joke, I’m going to say that.
Ken: Some things are true. Like every time she hears a noise, I have to investigate. The other night she heard some noise when we were watching TV in the evening. She wanted me to go downstairs and investigate. I told her that if you mute the TV and listen carefully, you’ll discover a logical explanation.
Interviewer: What was the noise?
Ken: It was the doors on a car parked on the street being slammed as people got out and went into the church. I told her and besides Titus wasn’t alarmed. If there was an intruder, he would be running downstairs.
Titus: There was a noise?
Raven: You big idiot.
Interviewer: Titus, how do you like being in the blog?
Titus: I’m with T. I wish she would use my proper name.
Interviewer: What is that?
Titus: ‘Titus the Wonder Dog, Saviour of the Universe, Jedi Knight, Lord of the Yard, King of Drumbo, Protector of those I love, and Master of the Kitchen and all the food in it.’
Raven: Shortened to ‘Idiot.’
Interviewer: That’s quite a title. Can you repeat it?
Titus: No, I forgot what I said. Just call me Titus.
Interviewer: We all know that the blog writer lives in Toronto during the week and works for The Agency. What does each of you do?
T: I’m at university.
Ken: He’s discovering that life is more challenging when Mom and Dad aren’t around to make meals, grocery shop, do laundry, clean the kitchen, and keep things tidy.
T: No. Well, okay yes. You guys should come by more often and do the dishes.
Ken: I’ll send Titus.
Titus: Yeah, I’ll do your dishes. Are there leftover crusts?
Interviewer: What about you Raven?
Raven: I have a tightly regimented schedule. I wake up in the morning after sleeping beside Ken for warmth and I go downstairs and yell until he feeds me. I hate when he goes to work and my bowl’s empty. Then I sleep in T’s room for the morning because it faces south and I get the warmth of the sun. Then, in the afternoon, I move to the living room and sleep on the west-facing leather chair to soak up the sun. Once Ken gets home and turns on the fireplace I sleep in front of it until it’s time to go to bed.
Ken: Seriously, that’s all she does. She’s supposed to watch the place for mice and keep them out.
Raven: Have you seen any mice?
Raven: Job done.
Interviewer: And you Ken?
Ken: I keep busy. I make lists and try and do little things around the house as well as work. In the evening I like to edit photos and read.
Titus: And he cooks.
Interviewer: Is he a good cook?
Titus: I don’t know about that, but he’s a sloppy cook. I eat everything he spills. He drops a lot of cheese when he grates cheese.
Ken: I spend my kitchen time guarding the food against the food thief.
Interviewer: Does Titus like to try to take your food?
Ken: Every single chance he gets.
Titus: Is this about the basil beef? I thought you were done.
Ken: Done. It was still sitting in the wok. We hadn’t even eaten yet.
Interviewer: What’s this about?
Ken: Last year, Suzanne made a wok full of basil beef and before we ate, we ran some up to the store where T was working. When we got back, we discovered Titus had eaten it all.
Titus: It was so good.
Interviewer: What about you Titus? What do you do?
Titus: I guard things. Like the other day when Ken was at work I had to guard against these people who came to the door.
Ken: What did they want?
Titus: They were handing out pamphlets. I told them we don’t eat pamphlets.
Raven: If it was food, would you have let them in?
Titus: If they had good food….maybe.
Raven: How are you guarding anything if you can be bribed by food?
Titus: But they have food…
Raven: You just don’t get it.
Interviewer: Tell us about a good day for you, Titus.
Titus: One with no cats.
Raven: Piss off.
Titus: Burn. I just burned you in an interview. And I ate your food the other day when Ken forgot to close the door.
Raven: There’s a squirrel outside.
Interviewer: Well, we just lost Titus. He took off running out of here.
Raven: And I just dropped the mic.
Interviewer: Maybe I should wrap up. Thanks for your thoughts.
T: Do we get cookies now? Titus said we get treats.
Now, here’s a short post from last year:
Wednesday: I worry about the implications of the Elf on a Shelf
On Wednesday at work, we were talking about the upcoming holiday season, and a couple of people referenced the newest Christmas ‘tradition’—the Elf on a Shelf. This merry little fellow is a posable doll, dressed in a red and white elf costume, which can offer hours of fun for parents, and apparently hours of terror for children. Every morning, the child will get up and find the elf in a new position, having done something clever or naughty during the night. And during the day, there is the reminder that the elf is “watching over you” from somewhere in the house. This, from what I gathered, allows parents to apply leverage to their little ones ie: “You’d better behave—Marcel (or whatever name the parents give the tiny spy) is keeping an eye on you, and if you don’t stop poking your sister, he’ll tell Santa in his daily report!” While this may sound cute and festive on the surface, it has really insidious undertones. Isn’t it bad enough that “Santa” already knows when you’ve been “bad or good”, sees you when you’re sleeping, and knows when you’re awake? At least Santa is at the North Pole, and might be too busy to constantly monitor whether or not you snuck a green bean to the dog. But now, there’s a creeper in your own home, who stalks you every minute of the day and reports back to the Big Guy for even minor infractions like colouring outside the lines or drinking straight from the bottle or whatever. And there are hundreds of websites devoted to sharing things that people can do with their elves. I took a look at some of them and here are the more disturbing places that the Elf on a Shelf can be found. I’m not making this sh*t up—they’re all true:
1) In a Nativity Scene: These irreverent parents replaced the baby Jesus with their elf, named DJ. He towers over all the other figures like a jolly, stocking-capped god. The shepherds look terrified, and the Wise Men look pissed off, like “We came all this way for that?” Mary just looks confused.
2) Trussed up in a toilet paper roll, wrists tied together, and hanging from the shower curtain rod, having been gagged with what looks like his own collar. This might be the first clue that your parents don’t really like the Elf on a Shelf—or that they’re serial killers.
3) Lying in a drunken stupor on top of a picture frame, after having used black marker to draw devil horns and tails on a family portrait. What kind of behaviour are you trying to role model here? Satan worship or vandalism? And then you wonder why, ten years later, your teenager is playing records backwards and spray painting the neighbour’s fence with pentagrams.
4) Reading the Bible: Not that reading the Bible is disturbing, but it kind of sends a mixed message. Does God have elves or angels? Plus it adds another layer to the paranoia you’re creating in your child. Now the little tyke is being watched by the Elf, Santa, and GOD. I would just lock myself in my room and never come out.
5) In the hot tub, with three Barbie Dolls: He looks REALLY happy. Maybe because all the Barbies’ hands are under the marshmallow water. “Daddy, what are all those ladies doing to Buddy?” “Don’t worry, honey—they’re just jingling his sleigh bells.”
There also seem to be a lot of pictures of the elf defacing walls with crayon, gorging on maple syrup and candy, writing on mirrors, squeezing out toothpaste all over the counter, and writing messages in spilled hot chocolate powder, which makes me think that parents are having way more fun with the Elf than their kids are. Sure, sure, I know that kids get really excited about ANYTHING to do with Christmas, and probably get a kick out of the Elf to a certain extent, but it’s all just a little too Orwellian for me, like the Thought Police have invaded Christmastown. If we really want to draw an analogy to 1984, then Santa is Big Brother, the Elf on a shelf is O’Brien, your child is Winston Smith, and your house is the Ministry of Love (which sounds like a very nice place, but that’s where all the torture-y stuff happened, in case you never read the book). Do you really want your children to wake up Christmas morning chanting, “2+2=5”? Santa was always good enough for me, cuz I loved Big Brother. Also, my other worry is that we’re another step down the road to abandoning any actual meaning for ANY celebration, and eventually we’ll just blend Hallowe’en, Black Friday, and Christmas all together into a new festival called “Overconsumption”, where adults wearing elf costumes fight to the death in a two-month long tournament to win candy, toys, flat screen TVs and vegetable steamers for their kids. Overall though, I guess if you want to do the Elf on the Shelf thing with your kids, play up the fun, and tone down the fascism. And the sex. That’s my advice.
(As a side note, I would never have an Elf, but I DO have “Sock Monkey in the Wine Frig”. His only job is to make sure no one steals my wine.)