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How To Talk To Your Family About The Force Awakens



In these tense holiday times, many sensitive subjects come up when we gather with our families. For example, someone you know–a loved family member even–might say something stupid about Star Wars: Episode VII: The Force Awakens.

Here’s a list of 7 common complaints and how to handle them using your choice of the dark side or the light.

1) “I don’t even get the whole Star Wars thing.”

The Dark Side:
I’m sorry you hate joy. I bet you also dislike music and laughter. Those are both totally overrated, too. Why don’t you write a think piece about how much ice cream doesn’t even really taste that good, jump on your hoverboard, and roll the fuck out?

The Light Side:
I understand Star Wars isn’t for everyone and everyone’s entitled to their subjective opinion. That said, there are reasons it’s hugely popular with millions of people and has been for multiple decades. On its surface, it’s fun. It’s an epic saga about space wizards who cut each other’s arms off with laser swords. That’s just fun. But it’s constructed on deep themes of isolation, longing, free will versus destiny, individual agency in the face of institutionalized oppression, and lots of bad parenting. It speaks to essential challenges of humanity but also the aliens look cool. Go ahead and critique it or dislike it, but, at this point, what is there to not get?

2) “There were too many action scenes in it.”

The Dark Side:
It’s called Star Wars, you dumb moof-milker, not Star Talk About Our Feelings.

The Light Side:
Star Wars was inspired by old Saturday Morning Serials. The movies are designed to be thrilling by having lots of different action scenes. That said, they usually do a great job of not only advancing the plot through the action scenes, but also advancing individual characters’ journeys and relationships. For example, in The Force Awakens, when the rathtars are released, the action serves to strengthen the bond between Finn and Rey. During the First Order’s attack on Maz Kanata’s castle, Finn isn’t just using Luke’s old lightsaber to fight a cool Riot Stormtrooper; he’s making the choice not to run away from his fears. Also, saying there were too many action scenes in a Star Wars movie is like saying there are too many repressed emotions in a Jane Austen movie.

3) “It seemed like a reboot of that first Star Wars movie.”

The Dark Side:
*push glasses up the bridge of your nose with the power of the force*
The first movie is called A New Hope, asshole.

The Light Side:
Yes, it uses similar thematic elements, but it should. The goal of this film was to honor the old characters and stories while introducing us to new ones. The idea of mashing-up the very old and the very new is at the core of the franchise. It’s ancient hero myths but now there are aliens who look like big stressed-out fish. That’s Star Wars in a nutshell. While The Force Awakens played with our familiarity, it also introduced plenty of new things to the Star Wars galaxy. We’ve never had characters like Rey, Finn, Poe, and BB-8. They are not carbon copies of Luke, Han, Leia, and R2-D2. They are unique, new creations. Besides, Star Wars has always had a deep sense of nostalgia. From the very beginning, Luke wants to be a Jedi to follow in the steps of his father. There’s always been a generational theme. The movies have always been about adventures that happened “a long time ago.” And at this point, that deep connection to the past that was introduced in A New Hope is now an actual connection to our shared cultural experience in real life. We share Finn and Rey’s amazement because Han Solo is a legend we met a long time ago both in the story AND in reality. There’s no way to tell this story that isn’t deeply, deeply nostalgic.

4) “Okay, but why did there have to be another Death Star thing?”

The Dark Side:
It’s called Starkiller Base. Also, come up with a better plot device under the same amount of pressure, then make it the bestselling movie ever. I’ll wait.

The Light Side:
The movie is a big tentpole blockbuster with multiple plates to spin. By all means, say you don’t like those kind of movies, but get used to saying that a lot because those are the movies that exist now and their storytelling needs are different than It’s A Wonderful Life. The Force Awakens is trying to tell a big story about the state of the galaxy, but they couldn’t have too many political scenes or everyone would have yelled at them for doing “that prequel shit.” They also wanted to keep the focus on the interpersonal relationships. The Starkiller Base served a bunch of narrative functions: it wiped out the Senate and the Republic’s fleet by destroying the Hosnian System, created a ticking clock, a specific point of rivalry between Hux and Kylo Ren, and the opportunity for multiple characters to have heroic moments. When you’re already spinning that many plates, why not use something the audience is familiar with and makes sense in universe?

5) “Kylo Ren was too whiny.”

The Dark Side:
Your brain is very small. It’s worth one quarter portion.

The Light Side:
Kylo Ren is a great new Star Wars character–he’s petulant, insecure, and desperate. This is so much more interesting than a confident, monologuing mad man. And yet, we know by how much maintenance his hair must take, that deep inside there is still patience. He still cares. There is still a possibility for redemption.

6) “Han died for no reason.”

The Dark Side:
You didn’t actually watch the movie, did you?

The Light Side:
The movie resets Han’s hero’s journey. We meet him as a washed-up smuggler who is running away from his responsibilities. By the end of the movie, he makes the choice to go back and plant the explosives on the thermal oscillator because, as he says, “the galaxy is depending on us.” That decision opens the hole that Poe Dameron flies through. On top of that, Han has no desire to face his son. He’d rather write him off as gone, having too much Vader in him. But Han makes the brave choice of facing his fears and trying to get through to his son. He could have walked away–instead, Han talks first.

7) “Rey learns to use the Force too fast. She’s kind of a Mary Sue.”

The Dark Side:
If someone says this at dinner, just force throw a plate of ham into this guy’s face. Because it’s probably a guy who said this.

The Light Side:
First, google Mary Sue because you’re probably using it incorrectly. Then, take a good hard look in the mirror and make sure you’re not just upset about a female protagonist. If you haven’t rage quit this blog then we can move on to super nerdy force power discussion. Strap yourselves in.

Yes, Rey develops her abilities in a different way than we’ve seen other Jedi–which is cool–because see above about the mix of the old and the new.

Rey discovers her power step-by-step. Her abilities first “awaken” when she’s piloting the Falcon off of Jakku. She explicitly says to Finn she’s flown before, but she didn’t know how she did it so well.

Next, she fires a blaster. She has a slight look of surprise like she’s aware of her own increased accuracy.

Next, she’s captured by Kylo Ren and his beautiful hair. She discovers she can not only resist his attempts to use the force to read/invade her mind, she can do it back to him. At this point, we know Rey has heard tales of Luke Skywalker and the Jedi. It’s not surprising that she would’ve heard of the old Jedi Mind Trick. Also, Kylo Ren just tried to invade her mind. Then she does what we’ve seen many Jedi do, she concentrates, believes in her ability, and successfully mind tricks Daniel Craig dressed as a stormtrooper thus fulfilling someone’s slash fic bingo card somewhere.

Finally, the big lightsaber battle. It’s not a shock that Rey would be able to call the lightsaber to her, since the lightsaber itself was calling to her at Maz Kanata’s castle. She has a connection to it that Ren apparently doesn’t. Even with that, for the first half of her battle with Ren, Rey is just keeping alive. She’s slashing and running. We know she’s good at that because we’ve seen her do it with her staff back on Jakku. But then Kylo Ren mentions the force and she does exactly what Maz Kanata had told her to do: Close her eyes, let the light in, and it will guide you.

We were told way back in A New Hope by Obi-Wan Kenobi that the force obeys your commands, but it can also guide your actions.

What Rey lacks in training, she makes up in her connection with the force. Also, Kylo Ren is massively wounded, tormented about killing his father, insecure about this new force user, and probably still worried about his hair.

From a certain point of view

So those are a few thoughts you can share with your grumpy aunt, sexist uncle, or hipster cousin over the dinner table about the true power of The Force Awakens.

Just memorize all of this and repeat it verbatim to your family. They will ask you where you read that and then they’ll worry for my sanity.

Because, as Qui-Gon Jinn taught us, our focus determines our reality. So maybe this is a light, funny blog about a space movie. Or a thoughtful analysis of a film with deep themes and emotional resonance. Or the ravings of a crazy guy who saw the same movie four times opening weekend and can’t wait for a Rey action figure that comes with a lightsaber to be released.

All of those things are true from a certain point of view.

Happy holidays and may the force be with you.

Thanks for reading! If you enjoy you can help make more blog posts possible by supporting me on Patreon. You can also check out Ken Napzok and I discussing some of these same issues on our podcast Force Center. Finally, I made a whole album of Star Wars comedy called Rebel Scum that you can listen to with your ears should you choose.


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A Man and His Holiday Tweets

For the past several months I’ve been doing a series of daily tweets. First tacos, then monkeys, then daily affirmations, then daily etiquette tips, then incorrect quotes, then fake TV shows, horoscopes, horror, writing tips, and now holiday tweets! Enjoy!

You can also follow me on Twitter to enjoy January’s series of resolution tweets!

Day One – Judging by title alone, Sweet Child O’ Mine by Guns N’ Roses is a great Christmas Carol.

Day Two – “HI HI HI!” -Creepy Autocorrect Santa Claus.

Day Three – Other things you can leave out for Santa: kale.

Day Four – Candy canes are funny because they’re like penises. Bright, colorful, horribly bent penises wrapped in plastic.

Day Five – He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake, had a burrito, cried in the shower, watched Teen Mom.

Day Six – “Bah Humbug!” is actually an old Victorian curse that translates to “All y’all Christmas bitches can go hump a goose!”

Day Seven – If you don’t like it when people tell you long pointless stories about their weird dreams DON’T GO TO THE NUTCRACKER.

Day Eight – Some of the reindeer games Rudolph didn’t get to play: Settlers of Catan, Russian Roulette, and #AddDickToAStarWarsQuote.

Day Nine – “Mistletoe” is a very old european word that roughly translates to “harassment bush.”

Day Ten – People are upset if you say Merry Christmas or Happy Holidays, so let’s all say “This is why we can’t have nice things.”

Day Eleven – My favorite holiday special is probably “Some Adults Who Were Doing Cocaine in the 1970s Thought Kids Might Like This.”

Day Twelve – The modern equivalent of Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh is an Xbox One, a neti pot, and $1 gift card to The Body Shop.

Day Thirteen – It’s the thought that counts. This holiday, give your family thoughts like “I like ham,” “I want money,” and “Why?”

Day Fourteen – Ten years ago, I heard someone mispronounce The Nutcracker as The Nutcrapper and I’ve been laughing ever since.

Day Fifteen – I don’t have a cat so every night I have to get up and knock shit off my Christmas Tree myself. Pain in the ass.

Day Sixteen – If you’ve been very naughty this year expect Santa to send you a LinkedIn invitation and a snap chat pic of dog poo.

Day Seventeen – Here’s the complete list of Santa’s lists: Nice, Naughty, Neurotic, Necromancers, Napoleonic, Needy, Nuts, Nerf-Herders.

Day Eighteen – Trader Joe’s should sell a special white wine for the holidays called COPE.

Day Nineteen – Other reindeer names: Runny, Dingle, Chopper, Fumble, Samantha, Conrad, Private Dancer, Freak Nose, Cancer, and Mandy.

Day Twenty – “But do you recall the most famous reindeer of all?” WHAT THE HELL DO YOU THINK FAMOUS MEANS, SONG?

Day Twenty-One – Not all holiday specials have to be a “VERY” something. I would watch “A MILD Ebola Outbreak Christmas.”

Day Twenty-Two – As you gather with your families, give them the special gift of speaking only in best of lists.

Day Twenty-Three – Santa knows, but does not give two shits about, your Klout score.

Day Twenty-Four – A sad Christmas fact: Santa will be unable to find your house if your address is 404.

Day Twenty-Five – According to my autocorrect, Christmas marks the anniversary of the day Chris was bored.

Day Twenty-Six – Traditional 21st Century Boxing Day traditions include looking up Boxing Day on Wikipedia and going “Oh, yeah, right.”

Day Twenty-Seven – My 2014 resolution is to remove “amazeballs” from my vocabulary and replace it with “greattesticles.” Time to grow up.

Day Twenty-Eight – My inner fridge is still stuffed with cold emotional leftovers.

Day Twenty-Nine – Here’s a list of the most forgettable events of 2013: 1) Diane in 7A
2) Uh 3) Um 4) Something about a cat??? 5) Screw it

Day Thirty – I tried to type a joke about my 2014 resolution but I typed 3014 instead. I’m going to go with that. Look out, 3014!

Day Thirty-One: Setting up the Whiskey Tree, hanging the regret pole & putting out the vomit bucket for Hangover Claus! Happy New Year!

Your friend in writing,


If you enjoy my work, check out my brand new comedy and music album FLAW FEST. You can also sign up for my fan list here.


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LOVE ACTUALLY: Obsessed Ep 40

The new four seasons: Spring, Summer, Fall, and Fighting About the Romantic Comedy Love Actually. Joseph and his guests, comedian Jim Robinson (who hates Love Actually) and librarian Jody Wurl (who loves Love Actually), gently dissect the film with a chainsaw. We address such thorny questions as: Is the film sexist? What’s the deal with the turtlenecks? Isn’t Bill Nighy awesome? Why do the girls from Wisconsin dress like cowboy hookers? What music would you play to annoy your family at your own funeral? Is Love Actually a cracked, dirty mirror through which we see ourselves? Should the film be called Ambiguous Actually? This episode was recorded live in Joseph’s home so there isn’t a live audience but we did get really upset and bump the mic a few times so please enjoy those ambient noises.

AWOOGA! Obsessed is now a part of Feral Audio! Go to Feral now to listen to this episode and subscribe for new ones!

Listen, rate, review, and subscribe to OBSESSED on iTunes.

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Batman on Jingle Bells

Like most normal humans, I spend a lot of my time thinking about Batman. During the holiday season, I find myself wondering how The Dark Knight would feel about the infamous altered lyrics to the holiday tune “Jingle Bells.” So I wrote that. For maximum enjoyment, please read this out loud to yourself in a deep, guttural bat-voice. Enjoy.

Hello. I’m Batman.

I am vengeance. I am the night. I’m upset about the Batman version of “Jingle Bells.” You know, the one where children replace the normal chorus with one about me, Batman. I’m Batman.

Not only are the lyrics insulting, they’re riddled with inaccuracies.

Here are the traditional bat-lyrics:

Jingle Bells, Batman smells
Robin laid an egg
The Batmobile lost a wheel
And the Joker got away

I will note the Hey! is optional. Let’s break this down line by line.

Jingle Bells.

That’s fine.

Batman smells.

You would think I’d have a problem with that line.


Of course, I smell. I spend hours fighting, sweating, and bleeding in tight constrictive body armor. I am rank. I am like a thousand filthy locker rooms filled with a thousand wet dogs.

I am your worst olfactory nightmare. And I like it that way.

My goal is to strike terror in the hearts of criminals. I can’t really do that if I smell nice. I don’t want to pop out of the shadows, grab some punk, and then have them say, “Well, he looks scary but he smells like lavender.”

That’s just stupid.

I don’t want Catwoman to be able to track me through the city because she can pick up a faint odor of cinnamon and nutmeg.

I’m not a fancy coffee drink. I’m Batman. Let’s move on.

Robin laid an egg

This one is just dumb, dumb, super-double-dumb. I didn’t even get it at first. Why would Robin lay an egg? Oh, because Robin is also the name of a bird.

Ha ha ha. Very funny.


I can think of at least three reasons an egg should not be coming out of him.

You think it’s funny to sing Robin laid an egg? Well, you take a second and picture that actually happening. Gross.

Besides, I don’t even work with Robin that much anymore. He’s too loud and bright. It’s like Katy Perry doing a duet with The Cure.

Yes, I know pop culture references. Shut up. Let’s move on.

The Batmobile lost a wheel

Okay, this happens sometimes. It’s a car I use to fight crime. It’s not like I accidentally drove over a broken Nalgene bottle on my way to take the kids to soccer practice in the PT Cruiser.

The Batmobile gets shot all the time. WITH ROCKETS AND EVERYTHING.

I lose wheels. What am I supposed to do? Pull over and call AAA?

That’s STUPID! This one makes me really mad. Let’s move on.

The Joker got away

Again, yes, this happens. I keep letting the Joker get away. I want to end his reign of terror once and for all, I want to take his spindly clown neck in my powerful bat-hands and just…it would be so easy…but then I would be just as bad as him wouldn’t I?

Finally, the optional lyric: Hey!

This one doesn’t bother me too much. But I would prefer that it was a more aggressive crimefighting type noise.

Something like Unnnghha!

That would be better. In fact, here are some better lyrics for the whole damn thing.

Jingle Bells, Batman repels

Like I’m repelling crime in a broad sense. Or it can be “rappels” like I’m climbing down a wall.

Robin is not here

He’s not. I don’t hang out with him any more. When was the last time you saw us together? Get over it.

The Batmobile performed to spec

That’s respectful to the engineers who designed the car. It’s an impressive technical accomplishment.

The Joker is in jail

Because I do actually catch him sometimes. LIKE CONSTANTLY. LIKE EVERY TIME WE FIGHT I CATCH HIM, JERKS.

So, putting it all together, you should sing.

Jingle Bells, Batman Repels
Robin is not here
The Batmobile performed to spec
The Joker is in jail


Or if you must associate Batman with a holiday song, here are some other options.

You could turn “O, Holy Night” into “O, Dark Knight.” There’s a missing syllable so you have to kind of bend the note like O, Da—ark Knight. But like so many things in life, it will work IF YOU FORCE IT.

Or you could sing a song from my perspective. Like you could change “All I Want For Christmas Is My Two Front Teeth” and make that “All I Want For Christmas Is Your Two Front Teeth.” Because that’s what I’m saying to some criminal punk before I punch him in the mouth. And I knock his teeth out. For Christmas.

Or you could take “Let it snow!” and change it to “Let Her Go!”

Like the Joker is dangling someone you love out of a window so you sing a song about it.

Let Her Go! Let Her Go! Let Her Go!

That would have to be in a minor key, though, just thematically.

Anyway, I have a lot of ideas. I could go on like this all night.

But duty calls and I must answer. For I am the caped crusader.

I am vengeance. I am the night. I know I smell and I’m okay with that.

I’m Batman. Unnnghha!

Did you read it in a deep voice? Does your throat hurt? Happy holidays! This story is now available in audio format as part of my comedy album A VERY HOLIDAY THING. The album and the blog post were made possible by funding from Patreon. Thanks, patrons!


Filed under Comedy Story

Attack of the Holiday Letter

I get a lot of year-end holiday letters. Holiday letters are odd because they’re just updates about people’s lives with pictures of children. They’re like Facebook on paper. Many of the holiday letters are great, but a few are strange in a very specific way. They are defensive. Aggressively defensive. It’s as though there is an unspoken challenge to prove your life is PERFECT IN EVERY WAY. I wrote the following parody of a holiday letter for our annual New Year’s Eve show. Some of the letter is accurate to letters I have received. Some of the letter features creative license. See if you can tell which parts are which! Enjoy and happy new year!

Dear Person Who Is Not As Good As Me,

It’s been another busy year! And yet my family continues to make time to excel at everything!

Our beautiful daughter Morgan (Age 7, 11th grade) continues to love everything about school. Her favorite subjects are math, history, english, art, science, social studies, advanced therapeutic pottery making, and every other class. Her favorite sports include–but are not limited to–basketball, baseball, soccer, lacrosse, badminton, polo, water polo, water football, water cricket, and competitive hugging. Also, Morgan recently won the Hunger Games.

Morgan is very happy and fulfilled doing all of these activities, she does not feel in any way that her parents are pushing her to succeed for their own validation. Her smile never seems forced and tortured as though she is about to explode from the inside out. She also likes to bake cookies. Sometimes, she eats the dough before cooking it. I guess she’s a rebel like her mom! Smilie face!

Our wonderful son Jordan (Age 3, 4th grade) is a sensitive little guy who has read Lord of the Flies six times and even got a chance to act it out when his Boy Scout Troupe got lost in the woods behind our beautiful and large suburban home. Jordan got the following badges: Leadership, Civics, Fire-making, Face Painting, and Primal Savagery. Jordan can also recite Pi to the 8,000th digit and enjoys ballet.

BUT he also loves cars, raw meat, and other outdated cultural signifiers of masculinity. No, he really does! I’m not just saying that because I’m aggressively clinging to damaging gender stereotypes. Smilie face with a wink!

My husband Ken continues to be a kind and supportive partner who makes more money at his job than your spouse or partner does. Also, Ken is immortal. The only way he can be killed is if another immortal cuts his head off with a broadsword in a parking garage, construction site, or other abandoned building. Good thing Ken is keeping up with his broadsword combat classes at the local Y!

Our sex life is not boring or bland. We never have to try new positions or dress up as characters from THE STAR WARS to stimulate interest in one another’s aging bodies. NO! My husband Ken’s penis continues to impress in both length and girth. Everything is so great that when I have an orgasm a rainbow shoots out of my you-know-where.

Of course, it’s also been a busy year for me. I am keeping up with my crafting. I knit an entire shelter for homeless people. I am always calm because I am always doing yoga. I AM DOING YOGA AS I WRITE THIS.

I also beat Kanye West in a freestyle rap battle in the parking lot of Wal-Mart and self-published a fan fiction novel in which Oprah Winfrey has sex with Edward Cullen. It sold a million copies. I can open a bottle of Trader Joe’s wine by harnessing my rage and screaming so loud the top of the bottle shatters. When people say things I don’t like, I just start singing something from The Sound of Music. I am not in denial about anything!!! I BEAT EVERY LEVEL OF CANDY CRUSH!!!!!

In closing, here are some religious beliefs that you may not share but I feel comfortable ramming them down your throat because the holidays. We should all get together soon; it’s been too long.

Well, I think this festive holiday letter illustrates that I am better than you in every way—physically, emotionally, spiritually, sexually, and financially. If you challenge any of my beliefs, make no mistake I WILL END YOU.

With Much Love From My Family to Yours,

A Motherfucking Crazy Person

P.S. I have more friends than you do on Facebook.

This story is now available in audio format as part of my comedy album A VERY HOLIDAY THING. The album and the blog post were made possible by funding from Patreon. Thanks, patrons!

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The Imaginary Advent Calendar 2012

Last year on Twitter, I joked about wanting an advent calendar that had little bottles of whiskey inside the door instead of chocolate. This year, I discovered the joke was a reality.

I was too late to order my whiskey calendar, so each day I tweeted the gifts found in my Imaginary Advent Calendar. Here are all my gifts in one place. Enjoy!

Day One: A mimosa and guilt.
Day Two: A sweater vest and some opium.
Day Three: Fine lace doilies and desperate longing.
Day Four: $67 in cash and a gun. Uh-oh.
Day Five: A smaller Advent Calendar and the horn sound effect from Inception.
Day Six: A small effigy of me and a warning to stop my investigation.
Day Seven: Holiday pants.
Day Eight: A tiny voice whispering a prophecy about The Boy Who Lived.
Day Nine: A tiny snow shovel and a large bottle of pain meds.
Day Ten: Fake passports, a candy cane sharpened to a deadly point, a list of targets. Who am I?
Day Eleven: An episode of Friends on VHS and a loud modem sound.
Day Twelve: Some Doritos and a dime bag of Myrrh.
Day Thirteen: A snarky AV Club article sort of complimenting but also mocking Advent Calendars.
Day Fourteen: A hugging robot. A robot designed only to hug people.
Day Fifteen: A huge pile of unused Oxford Commas. They just want to help us understand one another.
Day Sixteen: Two live squirrels and an empty bottle of Ritalin. Jesus.
Day Seventeen: Mistletoe and a mirror. Creepy.
Day Eighteen: A fruitcake and a big pile of existential dread.
Day Nineteen: The nativity scene recreated with Ikea furniture. Have to assemble it myself. 🙁
Day Twenty: A large chocolate bunny. Holidays are confusing.
Day Twenty-One: A 404 error message. Oh my.
Day Twenty-Two: A small note that read, “Our bad. Math is hard. LOL. Happy Holidays, the Maya.”
Day Twenty-Three: A Nutcracker doll that came to life, did the Gangnam Style dance, then became a doll again.
Day Twenty-Four: A stress ball, magic refilling box of wine, ham, an ox, a lamb, a jazz snare drum.
And finally…
Day Twenty-Five: A flock of doves, a mimosa, and a Kickstarter campaign for next year’s Advent Calendar.

Happy Holidays!

If you enjoy this story, there are many others like it in my book Comedy of Doom. Thanks for reading.

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SANTA CLAUS: Obsessed Ep 16

Mystical being, Santa Claus, is obsessed with fresh breath and shampoo. Santa also has a lot to say about elf cruelty, the Supreme Court, Godfather’s Pizza, and reindeer putting on plays. PLUS random audience volunteer, Madde Gibba, reveals her obsession with Animals in Clothes on the Internet. Enjoy!

AWOOGA! Obsessed is now a part of Feral Audio! Go to Feral now to listen to this episode and subscribe for new ones!

Listen, rate, review, and subscribe to OBSESSED on iTunes.


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Adult Santa Claus

I originally wrote this piece for the very awesome New Standards holiday show. Many thanks to John, Chan, and Steve.

I have a new holiday tradition. Right around Thanksgiving, I turn to my beautiful wife and say, “Honey, I hate Christmas.” She patiently listens as I go on the exact same rant that I do every year.

“I don’t want to hate Christmas. I used to love Christmas. I used to get a break from school. I used to look forward to opening presents. I normally got Star Wars action figures, but one year my mother hurt her back, got high on pain meds, and gave me three different individually wrapped flashlights.

I didn’t even care.

I just went to my room, turned off all the lights, and pretended the flashlight was a lightsaber. I danced around in the dark waving a flashlight like an idiot. That’s what Christmas used to be–a warm comforting light in the middle of the dark winter. It used to feel magical. Now it’s just more stuff I have to do.”

This year instead of just complaining to my wife, I’ve decided to make Christmas magical again. In order to do that, I’ve invented a new myth.

The myth of Adult Santa Claus.

I don’t mean Adult Santa Claus like a special holiday movie you would order in a hotel room.

No, Adult Santa is like your cool uncle who also happens to be a life coach. He has the magical ability to visit every stressed out adult in the world on one night. He doesn’t have a sleigh guided by reindeer and he doesn’t enter through a chimney. He drives a 1997 Ford Taurus with a missing muffler and he comes in the front door like a normal person.

Adult Santa has many names. In Germany he’s known as Dave Kringle. Some know him as Saint Chad, the patron saint of whatever, man. In Belgium, they just call him Low-Stress Pete.

Adult Santa doesn’t say, “Ho Ho Ho!” He says, “Ho Ho Ohhh—I’m tired. Whooo! My back is killing me. Ahhhhhhh! Son of a—!” And he just goes on like that for a while.

His face doesn’t appear on Coke cans, but you might see him on a package of Nicorette or a bottle of Xanax. Because Adult Santa is just here to help.

He logs onto your facebook account and deletes that horrible post you wrote about your mother-in-law while you were hiding in the bathroom during dinner. He finishes that stupid PowerPoint Presentation you have to give on December 27th. He leaves a big bottle of Trader Joe’s wine under your pillow. He knows Trader Joe’s wine isn’t fancy, but you like it, so who cares? Adult Santa doesn’t judge.

Maybe he just sits on the end of the bed and rubs your feet. It should be creepy that an old dude named Dave sneaks into your house and rubs your feet, but it’s not.

It’s magical.

He will even hang out with you. Adult Santa will stay up late and watch that episode of Downton Abbey you’ve had on the DVR for two weeks. He agrees with you that the best part of Project Runway is Tim Gunn. He’ll bring you an Xbox and play co-op Call of Duty all night. He is really good with a grenade launcher.

Adult Santa won’t force you to sing Christmas Carols. But if you want to, he’s got a couple of carols he likes to sing. He calls them Realistic Christmas Carols. His favorites include “Silent Night, Passive-Aggressive Night,” “I’m Beginning To Bitch A Lot About Christmas,” and “All I Want For Christmas Is Two F’ing Minutes To Myself.” Adult Santa likes to say that by title alone his favorite Christmas Carol is “Sweet Child O’ Mine” by Guns N’ Roses.

Unless you don’t like that kind of sarcasm, then Adult Santa just keeps it to himself. Because he’s not here to fight, he just wants you to be happy.

Adult Santa knows Christmas doesn’t actually suck.

It’s just really, really hard to be an adult.

So this year, I am going to recapture the magic of Christmas. On December 24th, I’m going to stay up late at night and wait for Adult Santa. I’ll set out some whiskey and a wedge of brie. I’ll sit in a dark room illuminated only by the glow of the Christmas tree. I’ll sip some of that whiskey as I listen for the low rumble of his rusted out Ford Taurus. I will feel warm and safe.

In that moment, I will get the true gift of Christmas. A gift that all adults deserve. Just a few precious minutes of peace on Earth.

Thank you and merry realistic Christmas to one and all.

This story is now available in audio format as part of my comedy album A VERY HOLIDAY THING. The album and the blog post were made possible by funding from Patreon. Thanks, patrons!


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A Death Star To Guide Me

The following is the letter I should have sent to Santa Claus when I was a young boy.

Dear Mr. Claus,

My name is Joseph Aaron Scrimshaw. The adults in my family call me Joey. I hate that. I tell them my name is Joseph. They laugh and call me cute. I tell them their reaction is condescending and pejorative. At this point, most adults leave the room.

Their loss.

But back to subject matter that is more germane to this missive. In regards to my Christmas present this year–it is my deepest desire to be the first child on my block to own a Death Star Space Station play set inspired by the major motion picture event, Star Wars.

Now, Santa, I realize you are probably not a fan of this recently released sci fi/fantasy epic since you are of the older generation and probably prefer more adult fare such as Annie Hall, ABBA:The Movie, or Exorcist II:The Heretic.

Suffice it to say, like yourself, Star Wars is rooted in ancient mythologies. Its timeless narrative allows young people to vicariously live a life of noble heroism through the main character, Luke Skywalker.

The film reminds us that we all have exciting destinies. As soon as a fascist regime brutally murders our parents or guardians, oh, the adventures we will have!

At the end of the film (after his second parental figure, Obi Wan Kenobi, has also been murdered) Luke Skywalker deals a terrible blow to the Galactic Empire by destroying the aforementioned space station, The Death Star.

The film’s phenomenal box office success has generated an unprecedented wave of merchandise. There are Star Wars glasses, posters, cereals, pillow cases, ornaments, etc. In Germany, you can even get Star Wars toilet paper.

Wiping your ass with an image of C-3PO seems like an odd way to express your interest in the film. But then, it’s Germany. I don’t need to tell Kris Kringle how weird the Germans can be.

(As a side note: I am so completely surrounded by the oeuvre of Star Wars, I often wonder if it will warp my mind and lead me to an adult life in which I obsessively quote the film and pretend any long cylindrical item I see is a lightsaber. So it goes.)

The most popular tie-in product is the Kenner toy company’s line of action figures. Action figures are like dolls that don’t threaten your masculinity. As much. The Death Star is a play set for these action figures. Sort of like Barbie’s Mansion, but evil.

And speaking of evil, I realize the irony of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ by receiving something called The Death Star. I could argue that there is a STAR connection to the story of Jesus’ birth, but I think we both know I would be equivocating.

I ask you to judge the Death Star not by the blatantly evil name (in fact, one wonders how the Empire got this name past the steering committee. Perhaps The Force was used?) or the rather inflated suggested retail price of $49.95, but rather judge it by the joy it would bring to me–young Joseph Aaron Scrimshaw. An intelligent, sensitive young man trapped in the barren wastes of the frozen tundra that is Northern Minnesota.

(Another side note: Northern Minnesota is much like the North Pole if most of the elves were alcoholics and Mrs. Claus had never heard of contraceptive devices. That is to say: it is lacking in magic.)

Rest assured, Santa, that I have exhausted every other possibility for acquiring the Death Star. I have asked my 26-year-old hippie parents to buy it for me. They answered a firm “no,” shaking their needlessly long hippie hair.

Even both of my Grandmothers put together to form a sort of financial Mecha-Grandmother could not afford the Death Star. I find this hard to believe as I have personally witnessed my maternal Grandmother smoke at least $60 worth of Virginia Slims cigarettes in one sitting.

And so, Santa, as holographic Princess Leia said to Obi-Wan Kenobi, you are my only hope. I risk no hyperbole when I say my entire world view for the rest of my life hangs in the balance.

I realize the Death Star is merely a collection of cheap plastic (and orange foam used to clumsily symbolize the garbage in the trash compactor), however, what magic has been fused into the plastic? Is it really an overly priced commercial tie-in? Or is it like a star itself? Both a muse to sentimental poets and a very real giver of light, warmth, and life?

If I receive the Death Star, I will be justified in my current belief that the world is a bright and happy place in which one can always make one’s dream a reality.

OR these fragile beliefs could be ruthlessly shattered by YOU. And I will be sentenced to a long and hollow life devoid of joy, compassion, and love. Suddenly, $49.95 doesn’t sound that expensive, does it?

Yours with much affection,

Joseph Aaron Scrimshaw


P.S. I must warn you in advance, I will not be able to leave out any cookies for you. As I mentioned earlier, my mother is a hippie, so I hope you will enjoy her seasonal collection of dried fruits and unsalted nuts.

Merry Christmas and May the Force Be with You.

A version of this story is also available in my book COMEDY OF DOOM.
Thanks for reading.

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