I heard them on the radio

WARNING! Some people will find this conversation offensive and disturbing.

Very disturbing.

 

Paul McCartney: I saw you flash a smile, that seemed to me to say

You wanted so much more than casual conversation

I swear I caught a look before you turned away

Now I don’t see the point resisting your temptation

 

Taylor Swift: This ain’t for the best

My reputation’s never been worse, so

You must like me for me

We can’t make

Any promises now, can we, babe?

But you can make me a drink

 

Paul: Did you come on to me, will I come on to you?

If you come on to me, will I come on to you?

 

Taylor: Dive bar on the East Side, where you at?

Phone lights up my nightstand in the black

Come here, you can meet me in the back

Dark jeans and your Nikes, look at you

Oh damn, never seen that color blue

Just think of the fun things we could do

‘Cause I like you

 

Paul: I don’t think I can wait like I’m supposed to do

How soon can we arrange a formal introduction?

We need to find a place where we can be alone

To spend some special time without an interruption

 

Taylor: This ain’t for the best

My reputation’s never been worse, so

You must like me for me

Yeah, I want you

We can’t make

Any promises now, can we, babe?

But you can make me a drink

 

Paul: If you come on to me, will I come on to you?

If you come on to me, will I come on to you?

 

Taylor: Is it cool that I said all that?

Is it chill that you’re in my head?

‘Cause I know that it’s delicate (delicate)

Is it cool that I said all that

Is it too soon to do this yet?

‘Cause…

 

Paul: Do, do, do, do-do, do

Do, do, do, do-do, do

Do, do, do, do-do, do

Do, do-do-do, do

“Delicate” © 2018, Taylor Swift

“Come on to me” © 2018, Paul McCartney

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Elf on the Shelf

I recently read a review of the Elf on the Shelf with which I strongly agreed. Because I have already established my reputation as a curmudgeon, I am proud to be able to proclaim a loud “Bah, humbug” to the Elf on a Shelf.

My feelings about this Elf were formed long before the product had even been designed. Every December when I was little a wreath would appear on my bedroom door overnight, a wreath that had a plastic elf sitting on the lower part. I cannot remember now what my parents told me about that elf, but I associated it with the elves that my parents said were watching me. Not only did they make toys at the North Pole, but Santa’s elves also helped Santa keep track of which children were naughty and which children were nice. (Wild rabbits, my parents also claimed, helped keep the Easter Bunny apprised of children’s behavior in the weeks before Easter.) No wonder I found the elf in the wreath to be a sinister element of the holiday decorations.

When I was older, the elf in the wreath no longer appeared in December. However, one December when I came home from college after Finals Week, the same wreath was once again on my bedroom door. Now I was old enough to tell my parents how I felt, and I asked them to remove the wreath. When they asked why, I told them that I had always found the plastic elf to be creepy, more than a little bit disturbing.

I’ve seen pictures of the Elf on a Shelf, and he looks a lot like my childhood elf. I understand, of course, that the Elf on the Shelf involves more of a story than merely spying for Santa, but the elves are similar enough for me to put my foot down and say, “Not in this house.” When my children were little, I did not frighten them with stories about a judgmental Santa with spies hidden everywhere. What little I said about Santa—and mostly I let the songs and books tell the story—made clear that he was simply a nice man who liked to give gifts at Christmastime.

Perhaps I should discuss Santa and his elfin spies with my therapist. She has already noted that I have a bit of a problem dealing with guilt over petty and harmless matters. Christmas is stressful enough, equally for adults and for children; the last thing any of us need is a sense of guilt and judgment tied to the holiday season. The joy of Christmas is not that we have all been nice and deserve gifts from Santa; the joy of the season is that we have a Savior, Christ the Lord, who rescues us from all guilt and all judgment. Several years ago, another blogger posted a very good short story with this very theme: you can read it here.

Season’s greetings, happy holidays, and a holy Advent to you all. J.