No, I don’t “Elf”
How the hell did this get to be a verb any way? The over competitive mommy club has come up with a new way to out do each other. You know the types. Just check your Facebook page. Since the teenagers are fleeing in droves, us old folks’ pictures of fishing and suppers at Outback and family vacation photos are showing up more and more often in the “news feeds”, and if you haven’t deleted certain people yet, I’m sure you have seen a few elf pictures.
Salon published a great article on this freaky tradition.
If you don’t know what this thing is all about, around 2005 some bored women decided to self-publish a book on their holiday tradition of moving this elf around the house. Part Loki, part NSA employee, the elf is a little mischievous, but always watching on Santa’s behalf. It’s the kid’s job to be good and wonder just what the elf will do next, and it’s the parent’s job to Google ideas and try and figure out what to do next, because after day ten of living in an advent calendar, you start running out of ideas.
Sure, on day one he’s all happy and a little silly, but by December 23rd the parents have totally run out of ideas and have morphed the silly thing into a parody of their own lives. Stupid kid about to turn 3 and still wearing pampers? Get the elf to help!
I’m thankful my child has past the whole Santa stage and now knows the truth, there is no omnipotent obese toy welfare land manager at the north pole just waiting to rush gifts off to the world. “Santa” at this stage is an Amazon.Com wish list. Oh we still talk about him as if he’s real, but everyone knows it’s a metaphor. “Santa” is the spirit of giving, being nice to the people you normally can’t stand, buying trinkets for people for no reason, helping our fellow man, and beating the shit out of the guy in front of you in the line at WalMart because he got the last XBox One and your nine-year-old will never understand how “Santa” didn’t come through.
Elf on the shelf is a little too close to religion, as well. You can draw so many parallels between the Santa mythology and religious myths. “If you’re bad, you’ll be sorry! And we’ll know if you’re bad, because we’re always WATCHING you, just like the NSA!” is the basic message. Who the hell invites such paranoid nonsense into their house? It’s one thing to say that far away an invisible man is keeping track of your behaviors, but to actually point the thing out, day after day in your own living room, that’s going a little too far. “See Johnny, this doll comes alive at night and walks around and does creepy things and if you punch your sister he will KNOW and then you’ll get coal in your stocking and you’ll be sent straight to HELL for eternity!”
Why don’t you just throw Johnny in the Punishment Closet with the damn doll? Someone call Child Services please…
So, no, we don’t “Elf”. And stop saying that. “We don’t do Elf on the Shelf” sounds fine. “Elfing” sounds like “Effing”, which usually goes before “elf”, as in, “Screw that effing elf.”
But – I am intrigued by the Elf. After all, there seems to be a lot of fun stuff you can do with him. There’s a whole “naughty elf” thing going on, people with twisted visions and just a little time on their hands come up with all sorts of things.
Buddy the Elf doing a line on the table right before x-mass dinner. Now that’s something to show the little kids. Get a few barbie dolls (and maybe a Ken, too!) and now you’ve got yourself a real party.
I had a relative delete me from Facebook. She said her grandchild would look at Facebook over her shoulder, and some of the things I would post were very offensive. The Elf doing a line of Coke across Barbie’s bare midriff would really be something funny to most of my friends, and yet horrify some others. First of all, the phrase, “I’m offended” doesn’t grant you any rights. Contrary to popular belief, when you say, “I’m offended”, I have no responsibility to correct my actions at all. If you are offended, go somewhere else. Second, Facebook’s own TOS says that users should be over 14. As far as the internet itself, well, hey, its a wide open land of fun and frolic. You want your kid to be blissfully unaware about the realities of life, then lock the TV on the Disney channel and put a password on the computer.
Back to the Elf – I have already conjured up several scenarios for the little guy. If you’re really bored and have an extra $25 to blow, feel free to send me one. I will do my level best to be as offensive as I can with the thing, if only to infuriate some overachieving mommy types.