Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Making Fun Of Football

Making Fun Of Football

The 2017-18 NFL season is upon us. If you're like me, you think football has become excruciatingly boring. If you're also like me, you still watch it because it's supposed to be fun but rarely delivers. I've always been a Raiders fan and even though this season is actually looking good for them, I couldn't be less-excited. Am I ready for some football? I guess so. Or something. Whatever.

So I've decided to have my own fun with the season. While experts are throwing around scenarios and statistics, what I'm bringing to you is an alternate kind of prediction. I will be determining winners based solely on the team names rather than record or skill or facts of any kind. I'm gonna use real and made-up events to give you hilarious reasons for my predictions.

Spoiler alert- the Browns and Bills will probably have a tough run while the Vikings will likely be predicted to win all of their games because Vikings are awesome. Also, I will be throwing in an upset every week just to make things more interesting. Think a bear would destroy a cardinal? Not necessarily. Anything can happen in the realm of made-up nonsense based on gobbledygook because football is ultimately stupid.

At the end of each week, I'll post my record along with that of an "expert". Based on zero knowledge other than hatred of his name and the unfortunate fact that he went to Baylor, I've chosen ESPN's Trey Wingo to compete with. This just in: He has a son named Chappy. I hate them both so much. I will also compete against someone I don't hate and his name is Mike Celuch.

Let the games begin…

Records after week 2
Mike Celuch: 21-10 ; stupid Trey Wingo: 21-10 ; SpoolyGoo: 18-13

Week 3


Rams vs. 49ers
Picture it- San Francisco, 1849. A bonehead is sifting through rocks to find shiny golden rocks because they're valuable for some reason. His family is 2,000 miles away and he's had no contact with them since he left home nine months ago. A nearby Ram says to himself 1) 'I have a hard head and sharp horns', and 2) 'I like to have fun'. This Ram, living up to his name, rams the 49er in the buttocks, paralyzing both his body and hopes for the future. Also, all members of the guy's family had already died from dysentery and snakebites.
Predicted winner: Rams

Week 2


Texans vs. BengalsTwo groups who have never met. Neither has ever traveled abroad*. Hmm. Texans do have guns but Bengals are stealthy. It would really be a matter of opportunity. Bengals would have an easier time hunting at night.
Predicted winner: Bengals
*Likely untrue


Bills vs. Panthers
It's still unclear what a Bill is but regardless a Panther would destroy it.
Predicted winner: Panthers

Vikings vs. Steelers
It would take several Steelers to throw a steel beam at a group of people but only one Viking to throw a spear through each of his enemies at one time.
Predicted winner: Vikings

Patriots vs. Saints
Patriots really like their country. Saints really like being good. Patriots would die for their country. Saints might die for goodness but that'd be weird.
Predicted winner: Patriots

Eagles vs. Chiefs
In an extremely factual and historical battle, a Chief named Swooping Eagle soundly defeated his enemies. While that's probably not true at all, it also doesn't help me decide on a winner. Eagles have an aerial advantage but Chiefs are on the ground and the ground is better.
Predicted winner: Chiefs

Jets vs. Raiders
Last week, the airplane Jets lost to guys named William while the Raiders beat former rulers of the Earth.
Predicted winner: Raiders

Cowboys vs. Broncos
Now this is a truly classic matchup. Master against slave. Teacher against student. Or something like that. Cowboys always try to "break" Broncos but statistically* they get "bucked" three out of every five attempts. Or am I thinking of bulls? This isn't basketball (though Bulls vs. Mavericks would be similar) so the horses will win out of sheer strength. And if they get into trouble, they can call on bulls to help them. This just in- I don't know anything about Texas.
Predicted winner: Broncos
*Didn't look this up at all

Redskins vs. Rams
If an arrow was flying at me, I'd want to be able to headbutt it out of the way.
Predicted winner: Rams

Bears vs. Buccaneers
Bears are tough. They can withstand attacks from rocks, mean names, and bare-handed people. (Yes, they would crush them with their bear hands.) But they could not withstand cannonballs from drunks on ships.
Predicted winner: Buccaneers

Cardinals vs. Colts
UPSET- We found out last week that it's common practice for Colts to get castrated. This used to be done with some gin and a sharp blade. Then ranchers discovered little red birds who have a natural knack for removing horse balls.
Predicted winner: Cardinals

Browns vs. Ravens
The United Parcel Service (UPS) used to have the slogan, 'What can brown do for you?' Gross. So gross that they abandoned it.
Predicted winner: Ravens

Titans vs. Jaguars
Jaguars got revenge last week on gun-toting gun-shooters. The next reasonable enemy up the chain would be former mythological rules of Earth.
Predicted winner: Jaguars

Dolphins vs. Chargers
When a lightning bolt strikes the ocean, Dolphins absorb the Charge*. They become electric Dolphins and wreak havoc throughout the water. They can shoot electricity out of their bottle-noses at unsuspecting fish, whales, and anemones. Amenomes. Amenemenones. Many enemies. This is fierce.
Predicted winner: Dolphins
*Couldn't be less true

49ers vs. Seahawks
In the mid-1880s, many people went to California in search of gold. What many of those many found was birds which don't actually exist. The gold-seekers were tired and weak, so the fraudulent avians attacked with glee.
Predicted winner: Seahawks

Packers vs. Falcons
One day, a guy was packing a box because he was moving to the nicer side of town. He put his favorite childhood toy- a stuffed mouse- into the box. With keen eyesight and unvarying swiftness, a Falcon soaring high about the Packer saw the mouse. It swooped down and grabbed it. The angry Packer threw various things at the Falcon but never hit it. However, the Falcon tried to eat the stuffed mouse but choked to death instead.
Predicted winner: Packers


Lions vs. Giants
Lions hunt in packs called prides. Prides have taken down elephants. Giants are bigger than elephants.
Predicted winner: Giants

Week 1


Chiefs vs. Patriots
I feel like these groups have battled before…
This would be a hard-fought contest between men who love to defend their own kind. Chiefs have earned their way to the top and are master strategists. On the other hand, I've seen The Patriot starring Mel Gibson. His crew ragtag but got the job done convincingly. There is also a movie titled The Patriot starring Steven Seagal, and Steven Seagal is terrible.
Predicted winner: Chiefs


Jets vs. Bills
Now, what is a Bill? A dollar note? The amount you must pay after eating at a restaurant? A nickname for William for some reason? None is very intimidating. A Jet is large and heavy and wouldn't exactly cause damage to you but you'd get very tired trying to beat it up and would have nothing to show for it.
Predicted winner: Jets

Steelers vs. Browns
Steel workers tend to be quite tough while Brown is a color.
Predicted winner: Steelers

Raiders vs. Titans
Raiders are maniacs who like to perform sudden attacks but I don't think the stealthiest of them could outwit a former ruler of Earth.
Predicted winner: Titans

Eagles vs. Redskins
Both American natives (though Eagles don't mind being called Eagles), both of these groups have much pride. I feel like an Eagle could scoop up a young Redskin but an older one would spear the hell out of it.
Predicted winner: Redskins

Panthers vs. 49ers
If I was a panther and I saw some guy running around screaming that he found gold, I'd eat him.
Predicted winner: Panthers

Giants vs. Cowboys
Cowboys may think they're giants but Giants are actually giants. And giants stomp things.
Predicted winner: Giants

Jaguars vs. Texans
These two have a long history* of fighting each other in the wild. Ever since there was such a place as Texas, Jaguars have been trying to take it over. The Great Jaguar Uprising of 1857 was for naught simply because of one factor- guns. Texans have guns. And guns kill cats.
Predicted winner: Texans
*Completely made up

Cardinals vs. Lions
Though fierce, a small red bird would not stand a chance against the king of the jungle who actually lives in the desert, though 'jungle' comes from a Hindi word meaning 'uninhabited place'. The more you know!
Predicted winner: Lions

Falcons vs. Bears
Falcons are vicious but bears are much more viciouser.
Predicted winner: Bears

Ravens vs. Bengals
UPSET- A little-known fact* is that ravens have incredible skill when it comes to homing in on stripes. Their sharp beaks could thrash a tiger to death in a matter of days.
Predicted winner: Ravens
*Totally untrue

Colts vs. Rams
Young horses against man-sheep. Apparently Colts get castrated later in life so they would have more to fight for.
Predicted winner: Colts

Seahawks vs. Packers
Seahawks suffer from identity crises because there is no animal officially known as a Seahawk. Were they full-blown ospreys or auger hawks (which is their mascot that does not live by the sea), they could pose a legitimate threat. But they don't. On the other side, Packers pack things, which is not very intimidating. Still, I'm gonna have to give the edge to people who will move in the near-future instead of the schizophrenic birds.
Predicted winner: Packers


Saints vs. Vikings
Let's see- people who do good things or blood-thirsty barbarians?
Predicted winner: Vikings

Chargers vs. Broncos
A lightning bolt could cause some major crazy damage. A lightning bolt could kill a Bronco. Between the two, I'd rather be run-into by a lightning bolt because I probably wouldn't suffer. That said, a Bronco would cause more suffering, which is a rough-and-tough trait.
Predicted winner: Broncos

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Striking A Nerve

Striking A Nerve
by Rob Cottignies

I find baseball dreadful. Though they're not as prominent in my life, I find the Ku Klux Klan even more dreadful.

Check this out:

At professional baseball games, it's a common practice to hang a banner with a K on it for every strikeout the home pitcher and/or team gets. Back in the 1800s, some limey Brit developed a system for scoring baseball games. He is responsible for the scores by inning as well as the Runs Hits Errors part after it. My guess is he devised this structure over the course of a few games because he was so fucking bored. He abbreviated a sacrifice play with an S and, because apparently those used to be more common than strikeouts, abbreviated those with a K because that's another letter in the word.

So something like this happens: After strikeout #1, whoever's in charge of the banners displays a big K. After #2, another K is added next to it. But after #3 is where things get dicey. If the same pattern repeats, it would read KKK, which is the usual initialism for the Ku Klux Klan- a group of unsavory white folks with a particular distaste for anyone who is not white and whatever other criteria. They suck. They've murdered people, burned things, and caused general unpleasantry. People surely don’t want to promote that group, especially in public and if they don't believe in their cause. So the third strikeout's K is frequently reversed. This has often been credited to the direction of the K indicating whether the strikeout was completed by a missed swing or the batter just looking or some other boring shit. I call immediate shenanigans. Was the third strikeout which followed two of the forward-K direction the opposite every single time in the entirely-too-long history of baseball?

No. I know this not as a fact but confident that statistics are on my side.

Offended Guy: 'Hey, that means Ku Klux Klan.'
Banner Guy: 'No, it means the pitcher threw three strikeouts.'
Offended Guy: 'Oh, alright.'

And that would be it! Nothing at any baseball park I've seen even comes close to hinting at white supremacy. The league and stands are filled with people of all sorts of colors from all sorts of places. The banner guy is not wearing a white robe with a stupid pointy white hood.

Unless he is. Then the whole thing is racist.

I saw haircut store (a what?) in Tennessee which was named Kim's Klassy Kuts. Again, in Tennessee. Not far from Lynchburg. That was quite likely racism disguised as something cutely vomit-inducing.

To end with an interesting bit of history, there was once a baseball game between an all-black team and the Klan. It happened in Kansas in 1925 because the Monrovians announced an open invitation for anyone who wanted to play them. Guess who accepted. You don't have to guess because I already told you. Apparently the game was a peaceful money-making success which ended with the Monrovians winning 10-8. Check out the entire article.

It would be quite fascinating to know which direction the strikeout Ks faced during that game.

Friday, July 21, 2017

In The End, Blow Up The Outside World

In The End, Blow Up The Outside World
by Rob Cottignies

I hate hypothetical situations, but here's one anyway:

Suppose I find out that I'm going to die tomorrow. This source is 100% positive and is able to convince me of that.

It's 5:00pm. I make some phone calls, tie up loose ends, check Facebook, etc. Then I decide that I will not let Death take me but I will go to him. So at 10:00pm, after eating an entire pizza, I drink some beers that have been in my fridge for years waiting for the perfect time. I wouldn't exactly call this perfect, but I drink (in a fairly particular order) 2016 Multifarious by Jester King, 2014 Westvleteren 12, 2014 Blasphemy by Weyerbacher, then finish with 2013 Black Ops by Brooklyn.

I'm drunk. Really drunk. And full. Really full.

It's 11:30pm and I run out my front door screaming. I'm wearing a Viking helmet and no pants. I'm chugging one last beer (Habanero Sculpin by Ballast Point- gotta go out with a bang) when my neighbors come over. They're so nosy. Like a drunk pantless Viking screaming obscenities near midnight warrants attention.

I pass out. Somewhere in my mind, I know I'll never wake up.

An ambulance comes and takes me to a hospital. I don't know which one. Like it matters. The doctors do all they can but at 2:00am I'm declared dead from alcohol poisoning. I did it. I beat Death to the punch.


The prophecy was correct. I died tomorrow. But what killed me started today and wouldn't have begun if I hadn't heard the prophecy. So was it really correct? If I didn't drink myself to death, would another doom have been waiting for me?

It all comes down to fate:

For those who believe in fate, I was supposed to hear this prediction then get really drunk off of really awesome beer. For those who don't believe, something else was definitely going to happen at some point tomorrow.

What's the point of all this? I don't know. But I say you should have fun while you can because having fun is great and not having fun is stupid.

Before anyone gets all nervous or whatever, there's nothing to worry about. I'm fine and shall continue to be so until something decides I shouldn't be anymore.

Some of you might say, 'I know those excellent beers are strong, but would they be enough to kill you?' Maybe, but the shots of Evan Williams bourbon during the whole escapade probably sealed the deal. And why didn't I throw up? Because I'm tough, that's why.

(This piece is oddly dedicated to my memories of Chris Cornell and Chester Bennington.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

But Is It Irony?

But Is It Irony?
by Rob Cottignies

The concept of irony is a complex and often-debated topic. Many people mistake coincidence for irony, such as you and a friend both wanting pizza for lunch. Alanis Morissette has mistaken rotten luck for irony, such as every instance in her song 'Ironic'. Cool video, catchy tune, horrible semantics.

A few years ago, one brave person wrote a humorous yet extremely poignant and excellent article which included irony and its unfortunate misuses. Our hero described irony as an event where the outcome is the opposite of the initially-intended result. For example, silent film actor Charlie Chaplin once secretly entered a contest to see who could best impersonate his famous [walk]. Because he was actually Charlie Chaplin and invented that walk, he assumed he'd win. He did not. Boom- irony.

So the other day I faced a conundrum- I wanted to run in the park and it was raining out. I generally can't stand wearing a wet shirt so I wore a zipped-up raincoat to prevent it from getting soaked. After the run, I took off the coat and my shirt was soaked. As you probably know, raincoats raise body heat because they are non-porous. The extra sweat my body produced caused my shirt to become soaked in gross moisture.

I wondered if this was ironic. The coat did its job in keeping out rain but my shirt got wet anyway because of the coat. However, if I hadn't worn the coat, my shirt would've still gotten wet.

This can only be explained by inserting or removing the phrase with rain. 'I wore this coat so my shirt didn't get wet. The coat caused my shirt to get wet.' Irony. 'I wore this coat so my shirt didn't get wet with rain. The coat caused my shirt to get wet, but not with rain.' Not irony. But then there's the inevitability that the shirt would've gotten wet regardless. A person could go crazy thinking about this stuff, which I do constantly. Yep, that explains it.

The next time I'm feeling a rain run, I'll just go nude. That'll show the ironic overlords who's boss. Also, check out this video spoofing Alanis's dopey song.

Monday, April 03, 2017

Sharing ≠ Caring

Sharing ≠ Caring
by Rob Cottignies

It baffles me how people are so quick to give personal yet ultimately useless information to strangers. Here are three examples:


My friend Dennis was working behind a bar one Sunday. Aside from me, the other people present were a couple (Guy and a girl. I know there are other types of couples. Blah blah.) and some girl who was with them. Dennis knew the couple so he introduced himself to the girl. Like a child under ten years of age, she shrieked, 'My name is Rosie and it's my birthday!!!!' Unnecessary information shared strictly for attention. My friend did the "correct" thing and gave her a free beer. Then I started texting him hateful things about Rosie. 'I hope this is Rosie's last birthday.' 'Pour her a pint of poison.' 'If Rosie chokes on her birthday cake, I won't perform CPR.' Ya know, cheerful stuff.

What I didn't know was that Dennis's phone was not in his pocket but on the bar in front of the guy. Nosy, as people tend to be, he looked when it vibrated and lit up. With a shocked face, he looked right at me and motioned, asking if I had sent the messages. Playing dumb, I said, 'No, that's not my phone.' He rudely picked it up and showed it to the girl and Rosie. Someone else's phone. Unreal. Perhaps because I was the only other person at the bar, all three looked at me in disgust. Or so Dennis told me. I didn't acknowledge them. Apparently they were so  furious that they did the only thing furious people would do- finished their beers and left. No screaming, no defending, no fighting. Nothing. I felt badly because I had accidentally lost Dennis some business and because this story didn't have an interesting ending. The point is that if someone says your friend should drink poison, cause a scene. Don't run away. Freakin' hipsters…

Paige's Dad

Speaking of hipsters, I was sitting at a bar when a hipster and an older guy came in. Of course they sat near me and of course they spoke loudly because no one else was there. Due to their inconsiderate volume level, I found out the older guy wasn't the hipster's father but the hipster's girlfriend's father. Her name was Paige. I hated Paige. To make things worse (for me), the hipster was asking Paige's dad for "permission" to propose marriage to her. I lost my appetite and feared what I had eaten would erupt at any moment. Also, I knew they would somehow rope me into this garbage pile of a conversation.

And I was correct. In a "clever" plot to tell the "good news" to the bartender, Paige's father introduced the hipster to him as his son-in-law. In a pure Aw shucks golly gee whiz moment, the hipster said it was too early to be saying that. Not to be outdone, Paige's dad said that no one would blab because only the three of them knew. "And this guy." Me. I guess they knew how close they sat to me and how loudly they were speaking. I looked up to see the three of them staring at me, so I said that I wouldn't tell anyone because I didn't care.

Do you think that was mean? Do you also think honesty is the best policy? Hypocrite.

Dale & Belinda

I met my friend Julia at a concert and she was with a friend. Some guy. Dale? I don't know. She introduced us then someone suggested getting beer, which is always a great idea. Julia offered to buy the first round, so that left Dale and me to stand there awkwardly. I hate small talk but sometimes it can't be avoided. So I asked a reasonable question- 'How do you know Julia?' He replied, 'She was friends with my wife who died last month.' I JUST met this guy and he told me the worst news of his life. What was I to do? Now, my mind doesn't work like those of most people, who probably would've expressed condolences and maybe even asked how he was doing. Not me. I asked him how it happened, not to be a jerk but I was mildly curious and he opened the door. He shouted, 'THAT'S NONE OF YOUR BUSINESS.' I was ready to say, 'You made it my business' but Julia came back with the beers and obviously that was more important.

I never found out what happened to Dale's wife, so here's my theory based on exactly zero information: Dale and his wife, Belinda, were walking along a city street. They'd both tried to quit smoking many times to no avail. Dale took his last drag and flicked the cigarette butt into the street. Ever the environmentalist, Belinda reached down to pick it up and place it in a proper waste receptacle. At that exact moment, a truck swerved from its lane to avoid hitting an old woman named Sue who was standing in the middle of the street for no reason. This truck hit Belinda and knocked her head clean off her body. It flew into the nearest waste receptacle with the cigarette in her mouth, exactly how Belinda would've wanted it. However, the butt ignited the contents of the receptacle and the two children playing near it. Also, the decapitated body gave Sue an awful fright and she died on the spot from a heart attack so it was all for nothing.

See what you made me do, Dale? You were inconsiderate and years later a guy you've probably forgotten made up a horrible (though likely accurate) story about your wife dying. This is the pain you have caused. You're a monster.

Why do people share this stuff with strangers!?!? For attention, that's why. These are the same people who "send" thoughts and prayers to victims on social media. Attention makes them feel good so I give them none. But I guess this article counts as giving them attention so figure that out for yourselves. Whatever. Leave me alone.

Friday, February 03, 2017

The Greaving Mother

The Greaving Mother
by Rob Cottignies

            This is a bizarre story. Many of my friends don't even know about it but I assure you it's real. I wish I was clever enough to make something like this up. Also, I did not change names to protect anyone.

            My friend and I were destroying robots, running from dinosaurs, and battling each other. It was the coolest gaming system around.
            My father interrupted the fantasy worlds by calling and telling me to "Come home NOW". Then he hung up. He was clearly angry but what could a good 12-year-old have done to make that so?
            My friend obviously asked why I was leaving.
            "I don't know."
            I really didn't.
            As soon as I got home, I desperately asked what was going on but was told it would wait until my mother got there. So I sat, confused, in the living room with my furious dad. Seconds, minutes, hours. The whole time I was wondering what I'd done. No alcohol, no drugs, no girls, no bad grades. I just sat there, without the faintest of clues but frightened to ask why again.
            My mom arrived and they stood above me as I sat on the couch. Intimidating. One of them firmly said, "Is there anything you'd like to tell us?" I could think of nothing so I remained speechless.
            "Mrs. Greaves stopped by a little while ago. Why do you think she would do that?"
            Mrs. Greaves was the mother of twins my age- Brian and Paul. They were notorious in town for consistently acting fragile during elementary school sports. In soccer, the slightest touch would send either one of them flying and crying, which prompted the mom to run onto the field screaming at the ref, the coaches, the kids, anyone. After a while of this (and not realizing the kids were certainly not to blame), everyone started viciously hitting the boys. If chaos and a penalty would ensue regardless, why not earn it?
            Back at my house, I had no idea why Mrs. Greaves would stop by. I wasn't friends with the boys and our parents had never met before.
            Once more, "Is there anything you'd like to tell us?"
            I still had nothing to express but confused rage so I demanded to know what was going on.
            Mrs. Greaves had brought Paul with her and there were finger marks on his neck. He had clearly been choked. And I was accused of doing it. I did not and told my parents as much. To my frustration, they didn't believe me. Why would they? Sure, I was their son but an upset mother had more clout than an adolescent.
            So I was grounded indefinitely and sent to my room while they sorted out the details. I was so scared that I wondered how I could have strangled someone then forgotten about it. It was the only thing that made sense. Obviously I did it. His mother was crying, there were marks on his neck, and they both accused me. But I didn't remember doing it! And it would've just happened!!!
            After another indeterminate amount of time, my parents came in. They gave me one last chance: I was in trouble regardless but if I confessed instead of them finding out later, my punishment would be less-severe. I'd taken that road a few times in my youth but not this time; there was no way I choked this kid. I said as much and probably because I'd been so honest in the past, I could tell they believed me, at least a little bit. Plus I likely seemed shaken and nervous instead of defiant.
            The night went on and I was asked a few more times, though more-casually. They were angry, I felt helpless, and everybody was confused.
            The next day, my parents took me to school to meet with the principal. They explained what happened and I explained what didn't happen. Surprisingly, she did not seem alarmed. Situations like this had happened before with the twins and their mother. The principal had a thick folder of accusations and investigations. Most of them went nowhere or were deemed false.
            There was no proof but we all determined that Mrs. Greaves herself had choked Paul then blamed it on me, who had no issues with Paul but instead some opposition with Brian, which was known. Her fatal flaw was picking the wrong kid. Regardless, a grown woman strangled her own son then blamed it on a 6th-grader without any apparent motive.
            The whole thing made no sense but it was the only theory that did make sense.
            My parents profusely apologized to me but I understood their predicament. Though a stranger, Mrs. Greaves had a strong case and I was twelve- naturally wired to cause mischief and deny it to save myself.
            Two more years went by without incident until the twins went for schooling elsewhere. I've heard they're doing alright now so I guess the crazy old witch didn't affect them as negatively as predicted. I wonder if Paul remembers this story or if it just got archived along with other unimaginable lunacy.

            My point here is that you should trust yourself in every situation like I did but weigh the facts like my parents did because you just never know what people will do. Oh yeah, and don't strangle your kids. Unless they deserve it.

Thursday, December 15, 2016

No, Virginia, You've Been Deceived

No, Virginia, You've Been Deceived
by Rob Cottignies

            Stop lying to your children. Yes, telling your kids that Santa Claus is real is a lie and you are horrible for doing so. The same goes for the Easter Bunny, Tooth Fairy, Yakko Warner, Wilford Brimley, and whoever else you trick kids into thinking is magical.

            Once upon a time, I was quite smart. I would delve into a subject and pick it apart, criticizing its integrity and answering my questions about it while raising new ones. Perhaps I was an odd child. But what didn't separate me from the other kids was that I believed what my parents told me. When I was learning what things are called, an adult neighbor would point to an airplane in the sky and say "Boat". Of course this is hilarious but apparently I knew better than this rouĂ©. I knew it was a plane because that's what my parents told me and they would never lie to me.

            Then one soggy Christmas Eve, I went to the bathroom. (That sound gross.) On the way, I saw my mother eating the cookies I had placed out for Santa. The nerve. I stood stunned while she displayed the toys which Santa always left for me. She took them out of shopping bags and scratched off stickers. It made no sense but I didn't want to be naughty so I quietly returned to my room so I could think the whole thing over.

            I laid under my awesome dinosaur sheets and wondered why in the world Santa would put my mom in charge of putting his toys under our tree. Then I thought about the world in general and how many people lived in it. Since I didn't really know what religions were, I thought there were only two categories of people- good and bad. (Isn't childhood sweet?) Santa only visited the houses where good people lived. 'How many houses could that be?', my young brain pondered. 'Probably a huge number like a million.' So there it was- one million houses were visited by Santa every December 24th. 'How long would he need at each house?', my adorable mind inquired. He'd have to get in, eat a cookie, leave presents, then get out. I knew he was fast so twenty seconds sounded about right. And maybe another ten between houses.

            Alright, thirty seconds a-pop. Let's do some math:
            30 seconds x 1 million houses = 30 million seconds
            30 million seconds ÷ 86,400 seconds in a day = over 347 days!!!
            (and that's for only a million houses!)

            'Magic and times zones are great and all', my youthful mind thought, 'but those cannot explain doing almost a year of work in just one night. This is unacceptable!' I puzzled and puzzed until my puzzler was sore. Then I thought of something I hadn't before. Maybe Christmas does come from a store. Maybe Christmas, perhaps, was one giant crock of shit.

            So there it was- My mom was Santa. My dad was Santa. Everyone's mom and dad were Santa. It was all a hoax. I was furious but I thought that if I exposed the fallacy I would stop getting Starting Lineup action figures. They say revenge is sweeter than a puppy suckling a honeypot, so I decided to play along for as long as I could. For several more Christmas Eves, I would sing about a fictional fat guy and set out cookies for him and go to bed before he "arrived". And for several more Christmases, I got NFL figures of such notables as Dexter Manley, Ken O'Brien, and Ronnie Lott. There was peace on Earth.

            My parents never officially told me about their hideous treason but just assumed it by my teenage years. I don't know how other people learned the truth but I don't remember any ruckus at school so I assume their parents let it go as long as it could, then asked them not to blab to their classmates. And so ended an era of blind belief.

            Fast-forward to now and I wonder how I'd feel about it all had I been the 'I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus' kid. If you aren't familiar with that song, I'll explain its premise (and I'm very jealous of your ignorance): One Christmas Eve, some disobedient brat who was supposed to be sleeping snuck around his house. Underneath the mistletoe, he saw his mother not only kissing but tickling Santa Claus. Apparently not traumatized, the lad thought it would've been funny had his father seen this spectacle. It's implied to adult listeners that it actually was the kid's father dressed as Santa. People might think this is funny and charming.

            I think otherwise. Had this kid told his father about his mother's infidelity the next morning, Dad would've only had two options:
            1) 'Well, Balthazar, that wasn't Santa but me dressed up in his costume. You might not know this but your parents are disgusting perverts who like to role-play before bringing out the hoses and peanut butter. Your mother confessed to me that she'd been very naughty this year and needed to be spanked. I did this then was rewarded when she jingled my bells and heated up my Yule log. Also, Santa isn't real. But you should still trust us forever.'
            2) 'Well, Balthazar, thanks for telling me. That could not have been Santa because he is not real but it must have been someone dressed up as him. It was probably your mother's Yoga teacher, who she's been having an affair with for months. Pack your things and take the presents from me because everything she got you is awful. We'll go to a hotel and Mommy will get served with divorce papers tomorrow because my lawyer is fast. And Jewish. I'll explain what that means later.'

            Either way, the child is crushed and Christmas is ruined. Way to go, Balthazar's parents.

            So yeah, don't bullshit your kids. They might have to take care of you one day. Or worse, they might end up like me.
            Happy Holidays.

Is this story about your childhood true?
I don't remember. Probably not. Or probably. Whatever.

Would you tell your kids about Santa Claus?
I would teach them about Saint Nicholas and how Sinterklaas and Santa were created in his image. And I would teach them about Krampus because I'd want to frighten them.

Didn't you dress and act as Santa for a friend's Christmas Eve party not once but twice?

Shut up.