Wow! The moment I made the announcement that Giant Electric Penguin was back in business (at least for the holiday season), I couldn't believe how many celebratory e-mails I received. Thank you to everyone who sent me words of encouragement. It sincerely means a lot to know you are reading and enjoying. All I've ever wanted as a writer is fame, notoriety, and millions of dollars, but I'll take nice e-mails from fellow frustrated creatives too. Seriously, I'm touched.
Not every e-mail has been "welcome back" and "I'm a dentist and I read your post about flossing, and while I thought it was very funny, you really should floss and here's why" though. For some reason, I've received a number of holiday-related questions, the kinds of letters you'd see in an advice column like Dear Abby or Ask Amy or Questions 4 Quentin, that weird column director Quentin Tarantino writes for Indie Film Quarterly (too many f-bombs and n-words for my liking, but his advice isn't terrible). I thought it might be fun to answer some of these Christmas quandaries throughout the month of December, in fact, many of you might be facing some of the same issues these poor saps are this Christmas, so maybe we can all help each other. I'll pepper a few of these letters here and there over the next 25 days--think of them as "seasoning for the Season (Ugh! I love/hate that I thought of that; hate that I typed it.)--and answer them to the best of my ability. And, golly, if you've got any questions, holiday-related or otherwise, send 'em to the e-mail address up top.
I love Starbucks (sue me!!!), but their decision to remove Christmas iconography from their cups this newborn Savior season has left me confused and scared. My pastor says Starbucks' choice to serve its coffee in plain red cups is yet another sign that we are living in the End Times. My favorite YouTube evangelist says all good Christians should boycott Starbucks until they return snowflakes and reindeer-drawn sleighs to their cups and/or make it a policy that all non-Christian Starbucks employees undergo mandatory and immediate baptism. I know I shouldn't be--and believe me, I've already asked for forgiveness multiple times--but I'm torn. I love the Lord my God, but I gotta have my coffee!!! What do I do?
Wow. I wasn't aware this was an actual thing, in fact, a few weeks ago, I mentioned this whole "red cup controversy" to my parents, two of the most devoted Christians I know, and they a) had no idea what I was talking about and b) thought it was possibly the stupidest thing they'd ever heard. Now I mean no disrespect to your religion, your church, your pastor or your YouTube evangelist of choice, but I agree with my parents: this is stupid. And it's a non-problem. I don't speak for Jesus, but I'm pretty confident that he doesn't care where you purchase your coffee. I'm pretty sure he's got no beef with Starbucks.
But, hey, maybe you're losing sleep over this, so, I've got some alternative methods to feed your need. You could try another coffee joint. I've always been partial to Caribou Coffee. They do a great hot cider ("Grandma's hot apple pie in cup," as it was described to me by a very eccentric barista many years ago) and I'm pretty sure they've got a caribou, which is essentially a reindeer, on their cups year-round. Or you could start frequenting a locally-owned coffee shop in your area, as they usually serve their drinks in mugs like the ones you have at home--though beware, most local coffee houses are staffed by college-aged liberals who most likely don't cotton to your Christiany ways and sport multiple arm tattoos they make absolutely no effort to cover up with long sleeves. And speaking of home, why not make your own coffee at home, that way you can use any old mug with any old religious saying painting on it you please. I get the impression from your letter you've got a lot of those. Lastly, you could use this opportunity to consider cutting back on your java consumption altogether, as it will probably be revealed any day now that coffee rots your liver and promotes cancerous polyp growth in your butthole, because remember, everything we love, will eventually kill us.
My cousin Garth says there is no Santa Claus. I'm not so sure. What's the truth?
Billy, age 4
Usually, when I receive a question like yours, I write back with a simple "Check out Wikipedia" or "Google it, bitch," but this is a topic I know a little something about, and I thank you for the opportunity to share.
Billy, there is a Santa Claus. Better said, sweet Billy, there was a Santa Claus. But he died. Hundreds of years ago. And now he's a ghost. A present-delivering ghost.
Sweet, sweet Billy, haven't you ever wondered how Santa gets into your house each Christmas and leaves presents under you tree? Sure, the "lame-stream media" wants you to believe that a corporeal fat man squeezes his way down your chimney, but we all know that is just more liberal lies. How can a morbidly obese human male squeeze down a modern-day chimney? He can't, and if you think he can, you're a dumb idiot with figgy pudding for brains. Ghosts, however, can pass through walls, and that-sweet, dumb Billy--is how Santa Claus gets into your house each Christmas Eve.
But, Billy--oh, Billy--I hear you in your room seated at your PC or staring at your iPhone in the back of a taxi or reading this on your tablet device during your youngest daughter's soccer match when you should be watching her score the winning goal: "Sure, ghost Santa could pass through the wall and gain access to my house, but what about all those presents? How are they coming through the wall with him?" Dammit, Billy, you stupid slab of dumb, don't you get it yet? All those toys and presents? They're dead too! Every toy you've ever received is a ghost! What aren't you getting, Billy?!? Why is this so hard for you to understand!?!
Christmas is chock full of ghosts and dead things. What do you think Andy Williams is singing about in "It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year" when he mentions "scary ghost stories?" He's talking about Santa and his burlap sack of dead toys and his eight tiny, dead ghost reindeer and the ghost sleigh and the zombie elves that toil in his toy factory, building toys and strangling them to death, and Ms. Claus's rotting head that Santa keeps like a trophy in his haunted workshop Jason Vorhees-style. You probably think about the Baby Jesus from the Bible, but Christmas is more like a Stephen King novel.
I hope this helps, Billy. Merry Christmas!
Next Time: Elf on the Shelf, Frosty the Snowman, and what to get a dick for Christmas!