Sunday, December 13, 2009

Have you met Crumpet the Elf? Recommended Holiday Reading

Yesterday I broke out one of my relatively new holiday traditions: Reading David Sedaris' collection Holidays on Ice. If you're going to read any of the stories from this one, read "SantaLand Diaries."

When I first picked up this book at the Borders in Bloomington three years ago, I stood in the store giggling to myself and ended up reading the entire piece before I remembered I was in public. Obviously I bought the book after that.

Every year as I read this and giggle to myself, I tell myself, if David Sedaris dressed as an elf at Macy's before he made it big, I think I can handle paying my dues as a waitress.

One of my favorite parts:

"I was in a coffee shop looking through the want ads when I read, "Macy's Herald Square, the largest store in the world, has big opportunities for outgoing, fun-loving people of all shapes and sizes who want more than just a holiday job! Working as an elf in Macy's SantaLand means being at the center of the excitement...."

I circled the ad and then I laughed out loud at the thought of it. The man seated next to me turned on his stool, checking to see if I was a lunatic. I continued to laugh, quietly. Yesterday I applied for a job at UPS. They are hiring drivers' helpers for the upcoming Christmas season and I went to their headquarters filled with hope. In line with three hundred other men and women my hope diminished. During the brief interview I was asked why I wanted to work for UPS and I answered that I wanted to work for UPS because I like the brown uniforms. What did they expect me to say?

"I'd like to work for UPS because, in my opinion, it's an opportunity to showcase my substantial leadership skills in one of the finest private delivery companies this country has seen since the Pony Express!"

I said I liked the uniforms and the UPS interviewer turned my application facedown on his desk and said, "Give me a break."

I came home this afternoon and checked the machine for a message from UPS but the only message I got was from the company that holds my student loan, Sallie Mae. Sallie Mae sounds like a naive and barefoot hillbilly girl but in fact they are a ruthless and aggressive conglomeration of bullies located in a tall brick building somewhere in Kansas. I picture it to be the tallest building in that state and I have decided they hire their employees straight out of prison. It scares me.

The woman at Macy's asked, "Would you be interested in full-time elf or evening and weekend elf?"

I said, "Full-time elf."

I have an appointment next Wednesday at noon.

I am a thirty-three-year-old man applying for a job as an elf."
Read a longer excerpt of "SantaLand Diaries."

You can listen to an excerpt of "SantaLand Diaries" here, but really, do yourself a Christmas favor, and buy Holidays on Ice. You won't regret it. Plus, it will give you something to keep busy when you're avoiding awkward conversations with your relatives about what the hell you're still doing in Chicago, waiting tables. Oh, wait.


  1. being an elf,or a service industry employee, is good training for a writer.but an elf with a sharpened prodder and a tape recorder should have future Pulitzer acceptance speeches in pocket at all times,particurly during egg nog throw downs at family holiday gatherings.

  2. Would the acceptance speech be given in full elf attire?