Wednesday, December 24, 2014


Thriller Guy is going to pass along some holiday cheer, but first he’d like to discuss the elf
on the fucking shelf phenomena. Who comes up with this crap? And why do so many perfectly reasonable parents fall for it? Thriller Guy readily admits that he has come late to this phenomena, alerted to it only by certain Facebook friends complaining that they have to get up in the middle of the night to move the damn elf because they forgot to do it before going to bed. Who is this elf, TG wondered, who was as pushy and demanding as TG himself? For those of you who aren’t aware of the gimmick, TG will give you the short version. For those who want a more detailed explanation, Wikipedia,as always, has an interesting article about it. 

Short version: You buy a little stuffed elf toy, put it somewhere around the house (a shelf is a good place) tell your kid that the elf is going to watch him/her and every night he flies back to Santa and reports if the kid has been naughty or nice. Every night after the kid goes to bed the parent moves the elf to a new place to prove to the child that the elf has gone to tattle to Santa and is now back, ready to spy on the kid for another day. The main rule is that the kid can’t touch or play with the elf in any way. (WTF?)

It may surprise some of you out there that TG is an actual parent of three children, now all grown, and who was and is an active participant in many Christmas traditions. Every year he puts the Goddamned Christmas Lights on the bushes in front of the house, goes to the nursery to buy the Goddamned Christmas Tree with the wife and kids, struggles to put it in the Goddamned Christmas Tree Holder while Mrs. Thriller Guy endlessly moves it a half an inch this way and that while TG lays on the floor cursing while screwing those goddamned holder things into the trunk. Later on TG sits on the couch and drinks (heavily) as Mrs. TG puts the lights on the tree and berates TG for not helping to hang the millions of ornaments that have accrued over a lifetime of summer vacations to locations who all seem to have one common element, a Goddamn Christmas Store somewhere nearby.  So who says TG doesn’t have beloved Christmas traditions?

But the elf on the goddamned shelf? Are you kidding TG? Not in TG’s house. Ever.

Wikipedia says the whole thing was dreamed up by a couple of writers, Carol Aebersold and her daughter Chanda Bell, back in 2005 when they self-published a book telling the tale of the elf. You got a small elf doll when you bought the book. TG is always happy when a writer, any writer, makes some money, and it appears that these two have done very well. Maybe not as well as the lady who wrote the Fifty Shades of Grey books, but… wait a
minute!…TG ‘s fertile brain is banging on the front door of some sort of a mashup between an evil elf and a bit of light bondage, the phrase “naughty but nice” springs to mind; TG will reluctantly put this million dollar idea away for the time being so he can finish this blog entry. At any rate, kudos to the writers who came up with this scheme and snookered deluded parents into paying them money and going through an absurd ritual simply for the sake of the kids who probably understand what bullshit it all is, but are going along with it anyway figuring is it makes their parents happy then that’s all to the good, especially at gift giving time.

So where’s that holiday cheer TG promised at the beginning of this rant?

Looking at his stats, Thriller Guy sees he’s been writing this blog for several months more than five years, turning in 220 entries in that time. In the blogosphere, where most blogs have the life span of the proverbial mayfly, that’s an eternity. TG would hope that over those years, amidst all the bullshit he’s slung around, that he’s passed along some useful advice about good books to read, how to go about being creative, writing in general, and how to survive the Writer’s Life. During this time TG has made some friends and pissed off a lot of people; TG would have it no other way. Also in those years, Allen Appel has sold some books, and he and TG would like to thank those of you who have bought them. TG says every time you buy one of Appel’s books, an angel gets his wings, so we can only encourage you to continue this tradition. In fact, heading over to The Appel Store right now is a good idea if you have any last minute purchases for holiday presents or would just like to unwind with a pretty good book.

In the past five years Appel has read and reviewed almost 800 books. One surprising finding is that books, thrillers in particular, are getting better every year. When Appel started out, there were many terrible books, unoriginal, poorly written and just plain bad. And many of them went on to become giant bestsellers. It is very rare these days when a truly terrible book comes across his desk. Of course this gives TG less to rant about, but rest assured, in the coming year (years) he’ll find plenty of vineyards to trample, buffoons to stick pins in and books to ridicule. So from all of us here at appelworks, TG would like to wish his readers a Merry Goddamn Christmas and Happy Goddamn Holidays. And if you have one of those stupid elves, throw it in the trash after Christmas and never mention it again, your children will never miss it, trust me. If you want to start a tradition, buy a copy of Appel’s The Christmas Chicken and read it to your kid or get the audio version and listento the great Brad Wills act it out. And who says Christmas is too commercial. Not me.

1 comment:

  1. A bit too churly for me! You musn't be the easiest person to live with around Christmas!