“What the F*** is that?!” No really, I thought. What WAS that? Seeing the Elf on the Shelf for the first time creeped me out a little. Maybe it was the strange plastic face reminiscent of a demented kewpie doll. Perhaps it was fact that it was sitting above my friend’s television set, staring at me. Frankly, when my friend explained the little story to me, I found myself even MORE creeped out… and a little intrigued.
See, that Elf on a Shelf is a scout elf for Santa, a super-secret spy that watches children and reports back to Santa, a sort of BigBrotheriswatching effect, only somehow visions of sugarplums should factor in somewhere. Someone is making a mint off of this thing. I should know. My mother-in-law was kind enough to gift our household with one—it came in a package that included a book explaining its purpose. “No touching,” I explained to my four-year-old, “or Cookie loses her magic.” See, in the story, scout elves get new names given by their families.
This is the worst sort of manipulative bribery, akin to Veruca Salt’s daddy attempting to buy a squirrel if only she will SHUT UP.
I LOVE IT. I’m hoping it works. If I get five days of good behavior from my holy and lovely terror named Leia, the silly elf will be totally worth it. She thinks she’s getting an extra present from Santa if she’s good.
Hmmmm. That “extra present” concept really got me thinking. What if writers had Writer Elves? Little spies that would report how good and hard we’ve been working to some magic editor at the North Pole. If we were extra good, we could be offered a contract… you know, a little somethin’ somethin’ to keep us doing the ‘right’ thing. I would have, like, a hundred of these creepy little guys all over my house. Because how many of us keep thinking, WHILE we’re writing, that we hope/want/need for it to go somewhere, for it to matter? Is that ego? Hubris? That one fault that will force us into failure because we’re focusing on the wrong thing?
F***ing elf is making me far too serious.
But I might be getting an extra one, you know, just in case it reports back my good behavior to some good luck fairy.