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I’m With Stupid – January 1, 2016

by Todd Hartley

Todd Hartley-smallLast week, as you may recall, we were discussing the Elf on the Shelf and what an ill-conceived idea I feel it is. It truly becomes a kind of sickness, and I’m pretty sure it’s not sending the right message to our kids. I know you might think that’s stretching things a bit, but there’s actual evidence to support such a claim.

A couple of weeks ago just before Christmas, a 7-year-old girl in New Jersey called 911 in hysterics after touching her Elf on the Shelf. She was apparently throwing a ball in the house and accidentally knocked the elf from its perch. Fearing she’d ruined the magic of Christmas, which would indeed be an emergency to a 7-year-old, the girl did what she’d been told to do in an emergency and made the call. This led to her mother awakening from a nap to find her daughter trying to shoo a cop away from the door, which must be an interesting thing to wake up from a nap to find.

So why would a 7-year-old girl think that upsetting an elf might ruin Christmas? Oh, I don’t know; maybe it’s because it says right on the Elf on the Shelf website, “Christmas magic is very fragile, and if scout elves are touched they may lose their magic.”

Christmas magic is fragile? That’s a great lesson to be teaching kids. Thanks for imparting that sentiment to our youth, you stupid elves. It’s a wonder every kid in the country doesn’t call 911 in a panic every Christmas.

The very premise of the Elf on the Shelf is a little concerning in the first place. The elves have supposedly been sent by Santa to spy on kids. On the surface, that might sound great; the fear of misbehaving in front of the elf ought to be a perfect way to keep your kid in line (and if you are really cheap, you could give your child no presents and blame it on the elf), but the whole thing seems so Orwellian and creepy. I guarantee you it’s only a matter of time before there’s an “Elf on the Shelf” horror movie. It’s just too obvious not to happen.

Thankfully, our elf, Fred, has gone back to the North Pole for the next 11 months (or, hopefully, forever), but my son, who is as afflicted with the elf illness as anyone, has already started wishing aloud for Fred to come back. It seems he considers the elf a part of our family, whereas I consider Fred the spawn of the devil and an evil presence in our lives.

But anyway, the elf is finally gone, which means my main New Year’s resolution — no more elf — is already taken care of. So what are the rest of my resolutions? I’m glad you asked. I’m just going to go ahead and list them so I can flesh out this half-column to the proper word count.

First of all, I resolve to be more grateful that I live in a country where cow dung isn’t considered a valuable commodity. I’m basing this resolution off an Associated Press story I recently read about how Amazon and eBay have started selling cow-dung patties online in India. According to one retailer, the smell of burning cow poop “reminds (people) of the old days,” and the patties are flying off the shelves. I don’t mean to criticize anyone else’s culture, but I’m definitely glad cow poop didn’t play a larger part in my old days.

I also resolve not to get the facial tattoos I was planning on getting. You see, I had been meaning to get horns tattooed on my forehead and an obscene anti-police message tattooed above my eyebrows, but it’s already been done. I know this because a man sporting exactly those tattoos was arrested in Oklahoma recently. It seems he robbed a guy at knifepoint, and when cops asked the victim for a description, the horns and “f— cops” tattoos made the suspect easy to identify.

I’d love to say my resolutions also include exercising every day, eating healthier and being more considerate to my fellow man, as those are the sort of things that people more thoughtful than I am typically resolve to do, but I like to make resolutions that I have a snowball’s chance in hell of keeping. There’s a good chance I would have already broken all three of those resolutions by the time you read this.

Todd Hartley plans to get a full-size tattoo of a more handsome face on his face.

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