I Burned Your Elf On The Shelf

“I’m rolling thunder pouring rain
I’m coming on like a hurricane
My lightning’s flashing across the sky
You’re only young but you’re gonna die
I won’t take no prisoners won’t spare no lives
Nobody’s putting up a fight
I got my bell I’m gonna take you to hell
I’m gonna get ya satan get ya

Hells bells
Hells bells, you got me ringing
Hells bells, my temperature’s high
Hells bells”
Hells Bells- AC/DC

The guy who wrote The Radical Honesty of a Life I Don’t Love Revisited forgot that sometimes you can pull the Joker out of the deck more than once.

That dude figured that after he had spent years dancing in the fire and survived he had come out the other side.

You’d think I would have held my tongue and not called down the thunder, that I would have remembered what my grandfathers said.

“דער מענטש טראַכט און גאָט לאַכט/Der mentsh trakht un got lakht.”Man plans and God laughs.

But clearly even though I referenced it the other day it is clear I didn’t remember then.

Maybe I got lost in the silliness of life and spent too much time writing posts like My Goal Is to Wreck Christmas and Are You The World’s Greatest Dad Blogger Or Content Marketer?

Or maybe it is as simple as saying that one of the greatest strengths and weaknesses of being human is how quickly we forget the hard moments.

I Burned Your Elf On The Shelf

Hate is too strong a word to describe how I feel about the spawn of Satan you place upon your shelves but immense dislike isn’t.

Don’t worry, I feel the same way about the Mensch on the Bench…idiotic toys.

No judgement there, right.

Not going to apologize for that, not during the age of sanctimony when people update their statuses on Facebook to say things like “If you don’t hate Brussels Sprouts and lesbian Chinese Peppers unfriend me now, because you are no friend of mine.”

If you are unsure about whether your old pal Jack the insouciant dad blogger is serious about these things let me clarify it for you.

I would defenestrate your elf of your mensch without a second thought and I find the sanctimonious status updates to be distasteful.

I’m coming On like A Hurricane

Every now and then I have taken part in some wonderful discussions about destiny and free will. We have tackled soul mates, what is besheret and whether life is nothing but a series of odd events and circumstances.

And my answers/feelings about it all haven’t always been the same, not because I am wishy-washy but because as we grow and experience life our perspective changes.

I am not who I was at 18, 25, 33 or 42.

All of the things I have experienced have made me into who I am or is it all that I have done and the choices I have made have made me into who I am…today.

I am an agnostic about some of it and a believer in others, a dreamer who chooses to focus on trying to follow an unmarked trail to a place I can’t see but can picture.

Remember, I am not limited by who or what I am today because I choose to be the conductor of my life.

But there are moments, yeah there are moments where I feel change coming and sometimes I think that drives me to take action sooner than I might have.

Sometimes I think of those moments and see myself coming on like a hurricane and sometimes I remember how instead of channeling that energy the way I could have I let it explode and things went…awry.

Do You Worry About Share Counts?

All around the blogosphere there is an ongoing discussion about what to do about share counts, or more specifically what happened now that Twitter removed them.

There are people who are gnashing their teeth because they believe that social proof validates their writing and their words except they don’t know how many of the 983,893 shares they received led to someone reading their words or taking action because of them.

Not everyone agrees with me, more than a few have told me that share counts are of paramount importance because they help people determine what is worth reading and what is not.

That troubles me.

I like thinking and asking the people around me to think. Share counts strike me as making it easy for people not to think and that is something that happens with too much frequency already.

Makes me think about online reviews and how I am often skeptical about them, not because I am worried that the owner of a restaurant or friends of an author have paid for book reviews but because your taste may not be mine.

Your interests and beliefs in what is important may not be mine.

Maybe this is part of why I sometimes feel like an outsider, I put myself in situations where I don’t run the same direction as the group.

Sometimes that is good and sometimes you’d be better off being a Sneetch with a star than without.

Still doesn’t convince me share counts are really meaningful, there is a lack of important data.


Bread is singing Make It With You and I am remembering being a kid at family camp in Santa Barbara.

I hear the adults talking about their being tar on the beach and someone asking one of the fathers to throw him a beer.

They are talking about things I find boring and I am wondering if they are going to argue about Nixon and Vietnam or if this conversation will talk about whether Ford will beat Carter.

We talked about some of this in school and some of the kids told stories about their fathers, neighbors or friends fighting in the war.

Some of them were in Vietnam, some in Korea and some in World War II.

Back in the present it strikes me that my walk back into the early and mid seventies will make me sound old to some and young to others.

Somewhere, someone is reading this trying and shaking their head because they think my chronology is off but I am not worried about it.

It doesn’t have to be that specific, these moments happened and the fragments are flooding my head with other parts and pieces, like telling my grandparents that it is 1974 and I am in kindergarten.

It is A Question Of Dignity

In a few minutes I’ll remind my son of the garage sale we had when we still had our house and how I sold the homeless guy an old pair of my shoes.

Every year I bring this up because it is important to me that he hear the story and understand why I sold a man with no house a pair of shoes.

He pulled out his wallet and asked me how much they cost and I told him to give me a dollar.

He did and I gave him the shoes.

This time of year we focus on possessions and forget about the people. That man could buy shoes, but he couldn’t buy dignity and I wasn’t going to rob him of it.

You can take your elves on shelves and share counts and do what you will with them. I am immersed in the mystery and majesty of this moment in time.

Dreaming about love, life and liberty to do more than think, but to take action and do.

I’m coming on like a hurricane.

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  1. Larry December 23, 2015 at 1:17 pm

    I couldn’t care less about Elf on a Shelf… If it makes the kids happy and behave and hurt no one… Well, fine.
    In terms of changing your view, we see things differently during our lives. Perspectives are different. However, I do think our core beliefs remain.

    • Jack Steiner December 25, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      I don’t know why it bothers me, the elf that is, but it does. I dislike the Mensch ‘cuz I don’t understand why our fellow MOTs can’t find enough in our own heritage, but that is a different tale.

      I wonder about core beliefs and changes there too, I think some of them stay the same, but not so sure about all.

  2. Tim Bonner December 23, 2015 at 1:09 am

    When my wife mentioned to me about Elf on the Shelf the other day, we both looked at each other in dismay. Those people really have too much time on their hands and need to do something more fulfilling with their lives! If I see any updates like that they get hidden on Facebook.

    I don’t think that social proof validates writing. When you consider that things like Triberr made Twitter counts become over-inflated, I don’t think they were something you could rely on with any great confidence. I definitely don’t think they determine what’s good to read and what’s not. That’s just daft!

    I’m glad Twitter took them away to be honest. I think it levels the playing field for everyone.

    • Jack Steiner December 24, 2015 at 5:21 pm

      Hi Tim,

      I really don’t understand the whole elf thing, but that is ok, not my deal.

      We are definitely on the same page about social proof, I have yet to be convinced it is useful or has real value. It is good to see the playing field leveled again.

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