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He was born Elfert Allen Shelfowitz in Gary, Indiana on December 25, 1990. Elfert was raised by his mother, Lerlene Babbage, who was forced to work three jobs after Elfert’s father, “Big” Len Shelfowitz abandoned them shortly after finding out about Lerlene’s pregnancy. As the only white elf in a predominantly black neighborhood, Elfert was often ridiculed for his many differences, including flamboyant style of dress and happy-go-lucky nature. Teachers described him as an average student who often angered other students as he was frequently caught staring with a wide grin on his face. In the fifth grade, he was referred to the school psychologist, Dr. Dave Flutterman, who diagnosed Elfert with antisocial personality disorder.
Elfert and Lerlene bounced around towns in Indiana, after multiple evictions forced them to do so. At the age of 11, Elfert was arrested and sent to juvenile hall for setting a garbage fire in the rear of a 7-11 convenience store. The fire quickly spread and engulfed the building. Store owner Raj Patel observed Elfert masturbating behind a dumpster as the fire raged, so he charged towards him and held him by the scruff of his neck until police arrived. At the juvenile detention center, Elfert Shelfowitz gave his name as “Elf on the Shelf” and was known as such from that day forward.
After being released from detention for his arson conviction, Elfert went to his last known address to find that his mother had abandoned him. Although the situation left him heartbroken, Elfert had spent his time in juvenile detention learning the tricks of the trade from kid grifters, angle boys and scores of creeps in training, so he was well equipped to survive on his own. His bunk mate, Jesse Lee Dorsey, was an accomplished burglar by the age of 10. He gladly furnished all of his criminal knowledge to Elfert. As a result of obtaining all of that knowledge, Elfert was able to survive on his own for years, lying, manipulating, stealing and burglarizing homes to simply watch people sleep. In a prison interview with the A&E Network, Elfert describes a typical break-in: “I would usually just jimmy the lock with a Swiss Army knife. Once inside, I wouldn’t care if I stole anything or not. For me, it was all about the rush I felt from watching people sleep, watching their chests rise and fall, putting my ear to their mouths and letting their air fill my tiny, elf ear canal. I would often pretend that I was a part of that family. Most times, I would curl up between the husband and wife while they slept. After a few minutes of that, though, I would normally get an anger hard-on, so I’d jerk off like my freedom depended on it. When I would cum…er…ejaculate, I apologize for my language, I would never jerk off onto the wife. If she woke up with jiz…I’m sorry…semen on her back, she’d just assume her husband did it. However, I’d always jerk off all over the husband’s back, neck and face. That way, when they would awaken, it would be utter chaos, as there would be no explanation for why a man’s back, neck and face was covered in cum with only a woman in the room. It was just one of my quirks, man”
Elf continued committing petty crimes and jerking off all over husbands in the Indianapolis area as they slept with their wives. But after a friend convinced him to come along to a Tony Robbins personal empowerment event at an Indianapolis Ramada, Elf realized that he needed to maximize his creep potential and find a way to have people invite him into their homes, so he could satisfy his deep, dark, disturbing cravings without running the risk of getting locked up again. After speaking with Tony Robbins during the event in front of several hundred other personal empowerment seekers, Elf decided that he would package himself and let people simply buy him, willingly place him in their homes and partake in his sick desires once they were asleep.
To date, Elf on the Shelf has willingly been placed in millions of homes.
For the past decade plus, I’ve been able to bullshit my way through being a dad. I quickly learned that as long as you’re a big, dumb, goofy asshole, you can kind of just coast along and have your kids love you anyway. I really feel like I’ve won my kids’ hearts with fart jokes and pizza. It’s becoming apparent, though, that I am on the verge of having to evolve from being a big, dumb goofy asshole as Bella is quickly transitioning out of childhood. My worst fears are becoming realized, as I now know that the real parenting work is just beginning.
When the kids were babies, I remember being angry a lot that I was missing out on something that I really wasn’t. I was very immature for a very long time and still acted as though I was on my own quite often. Although I loved my family from day one, they weren’t always my first priority. For years, my nights and weekends were dedicated to hanging with my buddies. What little time I did spend at home, I was satisfied with as I always told the kids that I loved them and would spend minimal quality time doing something kid-friendly. For me, that was enough to feel as though I was a good dad.
Sometime shortly after having Mikey, I started to realize I needed to get my shit together and since then, my life has revolved around my family. The weird thing is that I used to seem to have so much free time to kill when I didn’t give a fuck about anyone but myself. Now that the kids are the center of my life, I feel like it’s always a fucking sprint to spend quality time with them and make sure they feel loved by me. Mikey and Olivia are very easy to make happy, so if I only have enough time to wrestle with them after work for fifteen minutes before they go to bed, they seem cool with it. But now that Bella is eleven, her world is drastically different than her brother and sister’s worlds.
This scares the shit out of me because it’s the first time I’ve had to put significant thought into parenting any of my kids. Up until this point, it’s been primarily ensuring their survival and being a goofball. I do like it though, because it is forcing me to think differently. Think about all the things I have to teach her. Things like looking people in the eye, relying upon yourself to get things done, setting goals and going after them. Unfortunately, I also have to teach her things that I don’t want to. Things like how she’s going to often be treated unfairly because she’s a woman, how to react when boys harass her, boys trying to take advantage of her and boys just being total fucking assholes in just about every respect.
The biggest positive to all of this is that I’m beginning to feel as though I’m interacting with a small, thoughtful person as opposed to a child. It’s cool seeing the groundwork for the person I envision Bella to be as she moves towards adulthood. I just hope I can provide what she needs to help her go into the world as a confident young woman. I feel like I can, but I also feel as though the clock is ticking because there are only six and a half years left until she becomes an adult. It’s crazy how time flies when you’re being a big, dumb, goofy asshole…
If you’re anything like me, you’re an insecure egomaniac who cannot bear the thought of doing something for another person without the deed being publicly recognized. Or maybe you’re a decent person. If so, I have no idea how you do it. Especially when it comes to spending hundreds of dollars on Christmas presents, only to be able to take credit for a portion of them. I’ve had enough. I’m pretty sure this will be the year I burst the kids’ bubble and tell them I’m the man behind the magic.
I spend a significant portion of each day, eyes glazed, daydreaming about what a good person I imagine myself to be. Today alone, I fantasized about saving puppies from a burning building, performing CPR on a dying kitten, and splinted a compound fracture that Topanga from Boy Meets World suffered while trying to rush the stage to meet me at the GQ/Hustler Magazine/Nobel Prize blogger of the year awards ceremony. The worst part about the daydreams is that I often feel as though I’ve accomplished the things I’ve fantasized about. It all stems from deep-seated insecurity that I should probably address at some point, but it will likely have to wait until after the holidays are over.
Christmas is rapidly approaching and I’m already getting anxious that Santa Claus will receive the attention that I justly deserve for buying all the kids’ presents. I’m conscious of the fact that the magic of Christmas is something that every child deserves, but I refuse to sit on the couch like some dildo in a fucking robe while I angrily blow on my coffee to keep from ruining the fun and blurting out that I bought all the shit that the kids are going bananas for. It’s already bad enough that I have to take bites out of the goddamn carrots so the kids believe that the reindeer nibbled on them. I don’t know about you, but I refuse to lie to my children. Especially at the expense of costing myself some well-deserved attention. Fuck carrots and fuck being humble.
I guess the best way to do it is to just sit the kids down and tell them. Maybe I’ll make it seem like Jaime and I are splitting up so that when I finally reveal that the big news is that Santa doesn’t exist, it will be a huge relief. Or I’ll just tell the kids to check out a funny cat video on my laptop and I’ll conveniently leave up my Amazon Prime checkout list that is comprised of all kinds of awesome shit that they’ll love. If they badger me about that, I’ll just lie to them and tell them that Santa got a sleigh DUI coming home late Thanksgiving night after meeting a frostitute at a North Pole Motel 6.
The bottom line is that I need this fucking attention. I’m tired of deferring it to some old, red-cheeked creep who watches kids sleep. Maybe I’ll just compromise and take the credit for just this year, so the kids can still believe in the magical ideal of Santa. I’ll just let them know that he’s just not going to be around this year, due to the fact that this was his third sleigh DUI.
After seeing Mikey’s preschool artwork indicating what he is most thankful for, I have ambivalent feelings. He put me on the list, which was a slam dunk, so whatever. But I’m a little weirded out about most of the other shit. I hope I’m wrong on some of these, but here’s my interpretation:
This one weirded me out the most. I have no idea who Carolann is. The first thing that popped into my mind was that creepy dead kid from Poltergeist. If that’s the case, then not only is he chillin’ with some weirdo spirit who is a portal to the gates of hell, but now I have another kid in the house. Ghost kid or not, that’s the list thing I friggin’ need. She’s probably going to start waking me up in the middle of the night to bother me with bullshit like my worldly children do. “Mike, wake up. I’m scared. There’s a living boy in the room that my closet’s in.” No shit, Carolann. That’s because it’s Mikey’s room that you’re haunting. Go back to the netherworld and leave me alone.
The Color Red
I think he’s simply referring to the color red, which I can definitely understand because red is a pretty awesome color. Or he could be referring to a sequel to The Color Purple that I’m not aware of. I’m guessing The Color Red is a special Valentine’s themed sequel to The Color Purple where Danny Glover feels terrible for being such a jerk off to Whoopi and showers her with red roses. Look, I don’t know. It’s his fucking list, not mine.
Mommy and Daddy
Pretty good ones. Mommy is beautiful, does a lot for Mikey and is just pretty awesome. A little unstable, but again, his list, not mine. Daddy is an excellent choice. I’m easily the best blogger he knows and I pay for his food, clothing, shelter and Netflix. He has my full support on that choice.
The Red Door
I’m creeped out again because I just assume this is the portal that Carolann uses to commute from the kid afterlife into my house. If I find this door, I’m putting a deadbolt on my side and evicting Carolann from my home. If she’s got a problem with it, she can take it to Ghost Court.This ghost kid is already causing me more aggravation than I need. I swear to God, if I gotta take a day off from work to go to Ghost Court, I’m gonna go ape shit on this kid in the court room. I’ve seen A Few Good Men like 15 times. This kid has no idea what she’s in for. If she thinks purgatory was rough, wait til she sees my cross examination!
Mikey’s toys are pretty cool, so I can see his point here. Unless he’s referring to that horrendous Robin Williams movie, Toys. If that’s the case, I’m going to slowly phase this kid out of my life, because I just can’t associate with someone with such poor taste in movies.
Chairs really are pretty cool if you think about them. I enjoy chairs so much that one of the goals on my bucket list is to confine myself to one when I get to about 80 years old. In the meantime, I’m stuck being a part time chair user.
I’m assuming this is a euphemism for his penis. In which case, I admire him for feeling so confident about what he’s working with. My penis is so mediocre that I often dye my pubic hair neon green to make my genitals stand out. I’d kill to have enough briefs beef to brag about in preschool. No wonder this kid is attracting chicks from the afterlife.
For the past week, I’ve engaged in heated debates about the Grand Jury’s decision in Ferguson. Like the people I’ve wasted valuable hours of my time arguing with, I haven’t offered any solutions to the issues that we argued over, so I am a clearly a part of the problem. Yesterday, I saw a picture which softened me and made me realize just how useless the arguing was and has made me rethink a number of issues that I spend time arguing over. All of this happened because of the actions of a 12 year old boy.
At a Ferguson demonstration in Portland, 12 year old Devonte Hart was pictured hugging a Portland police officer. Every time I look at the picture, it makes me feel soft, but in the best way possible. Kindness and compassion have viral effects, but when they are exhibited by children, they are exponentially more powerful. I especially feel that with my own children. I often feel guilty because I feel like I should be teaching them more, and to compound matters, I feel guilty because they often are the ones teaching me.
My most glaring defect is that I lose my temper way too easily. I’m a big yeller and I always feel like an asshole after I’ve freaked out over dumb shit that undoubtedly did not necessitate me yelling in the first place. I have made progress over the years, but not to the point where I can confidently predict that I’ll handle my emotions maturely in response to a given situation, especially in front of the kids. I know that my anger has had a significant impact on them and I fucking hate it. I also know that whatever strides I’ve made towards handling situations in a calmer, peaceful manner are all because I know I have to set a better example for the kids. I just don’t want them to inherit the shitty behaviors that I exhibit.
My kids are getting to the age where I’m starting to feel more comfortable about talking to them honestly about what I really feel. I want them to understand that anytime I’ve reacted in a regrettable way, that it had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to a point where I feel comfortable knowing that I can react to something I disagree with without losing my temper. But I do know that a substantial amount of the progress I make will be a direct result of kids like Bella, Olivia, Mikey and Devonte reminding me that I can, and have to, do better.