Mr. President, sir, we understand that your careless words and dangerous incitement got you banned from Twitter, Facebook, and most other social media platforms. This was surely the right move. Your tweets, in particular, have ranged from sophomoric to deadly, and that’s not the greatest way for the leader of the free world to bide his time.
However, we, the members of the National Association of Theatre Owners, do want to take the opportunity to invite you to any one of our thousands of multiplexes across the country, where you will be free to shout “Fire!” to your heart’s delight. No, we cannot give you millions of followers, retweetable QAnon conspiracy theorists, or access to hashtags, but we can give you stadium seating and popcorn. You like popcorn, don’t you Mr. President?
We know that shouting “fire!” in a populated theater is the proverbial limit we Americans place upon free speech. But that’s just the thing: we don’t have any crowds right now. In fact, your now-banned Twitter account is a big reason why that is. Because of your earliest and most dismissive tweets encouraging Americans to not wear masks or even take this “hoax” pandemic all that seriously, this nutty virus was left to fester. And so here we are, at home watching Netflix like everyone else.
Despite the lack of crowds, we promise that shouting “fire!” will still feel comfortably reckless. Your voice is quite distinct, so if you yell it loud enough, there’s the chance any one of the outdoor diners at the restaurants next door could hear. Many of our theaters are near strip malls, some of which are at like a quarter capacity. That’s not nothing.
To be clear, you don’t even have to limit your words to “fire!” either. If you want to come up with a C-grade nickname for your new enemy Mike Pence, feel free to workshop it. Or maybe you wanna run through your least favorite Celebrity Apprentice contestants and “fire” them? Teresa Giudice surely has it coming. Hell, you can even bring your golf clubs, hit a few rounds, and scream “Fore!” in our (non) crowded theaters as loud as you want. We don’t care. Just give us your business.
To further entice, we should let you know that many of our theaters have been practically abandoned all fall. Perfect place to hide things. Like, we don’t know—stolen Republican votes? We’re not saying for certain that there are ballots marked “Trump” and “Loeffler” stashed under our seats, but we’re also not saying there’s not. You’ll just have to come and see for yourself.
It won’t even cost all that much. We’ll charge you a Giuliani-and-a-half for the first hour and a Jenna Ellis every hour after that. You can surely make up whatever we charge with a few quick texts to your supporters. You are still allowed to text, right?
We would say this is an offer you can’t refuse, Mr. President, but if your time in office has taught us anything, it’s that you most always refuse offers that you should take, and take offers that you should refuse. So let’s just say that this is an offer that Crooked Hillary, Rosie O’Donnell, and Georgia’s Secretary of State have all called irresponsible. You don’t wanna be like them, now do you, Mr. President?
Just let us know. We have the time. So much time. As you yourself will soon.
You can even bring Ivanka. Or Don Jr. Or one of the other ones. You’ll be like the “Fire!”-shouting von Trapps. They needed to flee Nazis, too.
So come one, come Eric—just come. Supporting us in our time of need will literally be the most responsible thing you’ve done in four years.
“And mom and dad can hardly wait for school to start again”
You know us. You’ve been caroling about us for years. At best, you’ve skimmed past our line with little notice, the way you do lyrics about gay apparel and yon virgins and thanking god that it’s “them instead of you” starving in snowless Africa. It’s more likely, however, that you’ve passed judgment our way at one point or another.
The arc usually goes as follows.
When you’re a kid and self-centered enough to believe that a large man hand delivers your curated loot just because you were vaguely nice, you think we’re crappy parents. Mean. Lazy. You wonder what kind of a cruel mom and dad spends the sweet ass holiday break saying they “can hardly wait” for their kids to get back into boring old school.
But then you get a little older, and you start to get it. As a young adult your holiday becomes less about presents and cookies and Santa’s lap, and more about rum and Netflix and a few days’ break from forking at a sad salad under your office’s buzzing fluorescent lights. You start to understand why two grown adults may want some alone time to stuff each other’s stockings, or whatever.
That is until you have your own children, which is when you swing back and turn against us. With every passing advent, you see the magic in your kids’ eyes getting a little less magical, and you wonder how those two Scrooges in that one song could wish away even one sparkling second of this precious yuletide family fun. You would never give up this fleeting togetherness!
Yeah, well, now it’s 2020. In lieu of holiday cards, our fellow parents, we will instead be accepting your apologies.
Maybe it’s your kindergartener who hasn’t traced a letter since March. Maybe it’s your middle schooler who now thinks the capital of Kentucky is Alexa. Maybe it’s your college freshman whose Zoom fraternity rush turned your best vase into a receptacle for at least three bodily fluids. Whatever the case, your kids are most likely at home a lot this year. Come late December, if not sooner, you too are going to be praying for the miraculous birth of herd immunity.
It’s not that we’re awful. We’re not those weirdos from It’s The Most Wonderful Time of The Year who tell scary ghost stories at Christmastime for some reason. It’s just that kids need structure. This is true all school year, but it’s especially true after a kid-centered vacation in which they’re gifted all sorts of beeping, blinking, bouncing nonsense with which to torment your house and home.
Take our kids (please). Barney got some Hop-a-long boots. Now maybe you haven’t heard of those because, well, who the fuck has? But let me tell you: they’re annoying. He jumps on literally everything, but nothing more so than our nerves. What he needs is to Hop-a-long his little ass back into social studies.
Then there’s Ben, who got a pistol. A. Damn. Pistol. That shoots! You can thank MAGA granny for that. She sent it disguised in a Nerf box with a note reading, “Don’t let those parents of yours steal this like they stole the election.” We’ve both been visited by the Ghost of Mass Shootings Past every restless night since that thing entered our house. When we say we need him back in school, we mean we legit need him out of the house so we can bury that insane gift in an unmarked plot.
As for the twins, Janice and Jen, they both got these dolls that can talk and go for a walk, as you of course know from the song. What the song doesn’t tell you is that these dolls also shit and piss. Sure, it’s just water and some sort of weird brown slime, but trust us when we say it’s not the sort of thing one wants on one’s duvet. You know where these dolls would be great? At a pre-K show and tell. In a room. In a building not zoned residential.
Sadly, none of our four kids are going back to physical school in early January. Many of your kids are likely in the same boat. Team “Can Hardly Wait…” isn’t feeling as lonely this year. Perhaps if you’d all spent more time defending us and less time demanding yet another inferior cover of Last Christmas or of that one song where the dude may or may not have slipped a Bill Cosby drug into his date’s drink, we’d have some organizing power. But we digress.
Look, fine, you’ve judged us over the years. Whatever. Bygones. Strategize with us now and all is forgiven. Hell, get us a vaccine and some after school extracurricular for our kids to join, and you can write a whole new damn song that makes the Grinch seem like a southern woman on Black Friday compared to us. We care not. What we care about is school. In a classroom, not our bedroom.
In closing, let us reinforce that we do agree with our song’s underlying sentiment about the beauty of Christmas. Yes, the tree in the Grand Hotel is as pretty as the one in the park is sturdy. Candy canes, silver lanes—both great. We put holly on our own front door, dutifully but also joyfully. All this glistening is even more important after this sad year.
But we’re not gonna lie: The prettiest sight to see in these closing days of 2020 would be a headline reading, “Soon the bells will start.” That is, if the thing that will make them ring is first period math class. Sorry, not sorry.
I understand the frustration. Like so many Americans, my family and I have been stuck in an inanimate funk since the last time we waved goodbye and hurried on our way. I’m as eager as anyone to come back again. Someday.
However, the Old Silk Hat you keep hearing about this December is not the magic solution some claim it to be. In fact, it’s a fairy tale, I say.
Old Silk Hats contain toxic nanoparticles
Big Magic doesn’t even hide the fact that their hats are old. Even a new silk hat has the potential to leak chemicals into your snowballs, but an old one is almost guaranteed to do so.
Old Silk Hats are untested
Forget careful fittings with randomized placebos. The powers that be admit they just found this damn thing. It just blew in with the wind. And from where, the Island of Misfit Haberdashery? It’s anyone’s guess.
Old Silk Hats are made from aborted silkworms
Did you know that the major hat manufacturers claim the life of an innocent silkworm pupa while it’s in its cocoon in order to make these abominations? As a pro-coming-to-life-one-day citizen, I cannot in good conscience support a plan for animation that relies on the extermination of viable cells.
Link between Old Silk Hats and developmental disorders
If you follow the threads of any of Reddit’s best scientific minds, you will learn the irrefutable truth: Old Silk Hats greatly increase the chances of frostism. This is particularly true if that hat is placed on the head in one fell swoop rather than on a schedule staggered with beanies and ballcaps.
Old Silk Hats make you more frigid
A friend of mine got the hat two solstices ago, and she had less mobility than ever. She couldn’t come to life for days. That’s because this supposed magic has a little bit of frostbite in it so that it actually makes you more frozen than you were before. No thanks, science.
You must keep finding new Old Silk Hats or you melt
The magical-industrial complex would love nothing more than to have you a customer for life, which is why they designed a “cure” that requires you to put on that hat year after year if you want to stay in the game. Ask yourself why they didn’t include a chin strap, hat pin, or some other adherence method when they easily could’ve.
Old Silk Hats alter your aesthetic makeup
A button nose? Two eyes of coal? Within the everyday snowperson are the natural ingredients for a visually appealing life. If you add the Old Silk Hat, that essence is changed in ways none of us can predict.
There are natural alternatives to Old Silk Hats
Rather than this unnatural magic, there are plenty of homeopathic ways to achieve the same results. For instance, you can mix the milky droppings of a blue jay with the crunchy needles of a Fraser fir, combine it into a tincture, and apply it directly to the snow via a carrier oil made from the extracted mucus of Rudolph’s nose. No, this may not make you begin to dance around, but some homeschooling moms on Parler have reported subtle twitching.
Old Silk Hats pose unknown side effects
There are reports that getting the hat will lead those around you to start chanting, “Thumpety thump thump. Thumpety thump thump” for no reason whatsoever. Nope, not willing to take that risk.
Old Silk Hats allow the government to track you
The Deep State would love nothing more than to know whether you are running here and there, or all around the square, which is why they slip a covert tracking device into every hat. Next thing you know, you’ll be heading down the streets of town and only pause a moment when you hear a traffic cop holler, “Stop!”
To which I say, “Catch me if you can, bitch.”
Old Silk Hats put a lid on freedom
We already live in a world where the government tells you where you can and cannot fire up your corn cob pipe. Do we really want them deciding who does and does not get to laugh and play just the same as you and me? What are they, the goddamn Elf on the Shelf?
Look, I don’t want you thinking I’m one of those crazy anti-hatters. I’m really not. I may be a snowman, but I’m not abominable.
I, a jolly and happy soul, am simply coming to you, broomstick in hand, asking for a fair hearing. I realize the sun does get hot some days, and I don’t want to melt away any more than the next anthropomorphized ice sculpture. But if I do wave goodbye, don’t you cry. I’d rather melt with my civil liberties intact than march lockstep with this totalitarian snow job.
Dear President Trump,
I wanted to thank you, sir, for hosting my coming out ceremony on September 26th. While the day itself was festive, it truly is the party that keeps on giving!
People who attended have told me that just thinking about the event makes them breathless. The feelings are so overwhelming, they say they struggle to replenish oxygen. Some even say it gave them chills! The emotional weight of my nomination makes them need to lie down for a few hours. There is such a desire for me to be on that court, their bodies have been aching for days!
The fever for change is running high in Washington, Mister President, and I am proud to be a vector.
I will not let you down,
Dear First Lady Melania Trump,
Mrs. Trump, I want to thank you for the great taste you showed in your radical renovation of the Rose Garden prior my announcement event.
Speaking of taste — some who were there two weeks ago have told me they lost their own ability to make out taste in the days since my little party. Smell too. Has that happened to you?
Dear Senator Mike Lee,
I very much look forward to my upcoming confirmation hearings in front of your committee, and I appreciate your support. I know that these things are a major headache, but as you might have guessed from the event you attended, I am comfortable with unsanitized truth. Hopefully I, you, and a majority of like minded senators will pass the committee’s temperature check so that my jurisprudence will be fully unmasked.
Thanks for the give and take,
Dear Kellyanne Conway,
Madam, you sure have a way with words. I don’t know how you keep from getting a sore throat!
I know George couldn’t make it. Hope you brought him home a little something to commemorate the day.
P.S. Do you ever get a sore throat? Because a friend who attended has a nasty one now. So weird. Let me know if you have a quick cure!
Dear Hope Hicks,
Hey pretty! I’m so honored that you are back with the Trump team, and that you were able to make my ceremony. I know you said you were feeling shutout for weeks on end while away from the White House. It must be so wonderful to hug and kiss and touch and spread the love among your friends and colleagues!
Young women like yourself are the future, and I know I speak for many when I say your spirit is infectious.
Let’s do lunch!
Dear Father John Jenkins,
Father, your mentorship and friendship during our shared years at Notre Dame have been true career highlights. Looking out at you at my announcement event, I could see you getting choked up. It was a little concerning, actually.
We’ve shared so much over the years. Glad to have this one more thing!
Yours in faith,
P.S. I asked Kellyanne for some sore throat tips.
Dear Governor Chris Christie,
Hey there. I know we didn’t get a chance to speak much at my White House ceremony, but I am nevertheless glad you could make it.
I know you said that you haven’t felt tested since leaving the governor’s office. Hopefully you’ve found new ways to get tested in the days since we talked!
Dear Senator Thom Tillis,
I want to continue the conversation we started at my event regarding all of the ills that are plaguing Washington. I agree that the symptoms of corruption are spreading at a rapid pace.
We must fight through the congestion. Perhaps our upcoming trials will help us find a cure!
Dear Kayleigh Mcenany,
Please don’t feel bad about saying I was a Rhodes Scholar. Just this past summer I experienced a spell of mental fog myself. Your career is young and statistically likely to recover.
A little birdie overheard you say things have been spinning on your end since my little event. Hope I can give you many more viral movements to get us some press!!
Dear Pastor Greg Laurie,
Pastor, I deeply appreciate your attendance at my nomination ceremony. It has been stated that “the dogma lives loudly within” me. I’m sorry to hear that ever since my event, something’s been living loudly within you as well.
They say government is a three pronged stool, and many others who attended my event have reminded me that the stool is loose at the moment. Trust that I will help the judicial branch stand with the evangelical community to stop the odiferous flow of bad ideas. Even when current events make us nauseous, we mustn’t let our constitutions, internal or governmental, turn leaky.
Your sixth vote and possible patient zero,
I had written the bones of a piece in anticipation of last night’s presidential debate. My plan was to have my overall idea fleshed out before the debate, and then fill in the details as they unfolded in real time. My conceit was relatively lighthearted, and I expected to be able to flesh it out with substantive matter.
That is not what came to pass. Watching the debate, it became instantly clear that it was too dark for a light take. Too shameful for parody. Too unbelievable for the type of satire I had planned.
I abandoned the piece and instead opened another beer. Poured one out for me, and another for my struggling nation.
For more than a decade, I wrote daily news items, commentary, and strategic musings on politics. I engaged and prodded. I promoted and persuaded. I joked and I poked. I made my case on behalf of both my “team” and myself, hoping to move the needle toward justice and equality.
Now I write for another purpose entirely. While I still firmly believe in the power of words to change hearts and minds, I am now, for the first time in my online writing career, sharing my thoughts without an “activism” label attached. It’s alien territory for me, and I’ll admit to feeling a bit uncertain (and rusty).
But here we go, nonetheless. I am Jeremy. I am in my fifth decade of life. I am a husband to a great man and the father of a daughter who impresses and inspires me everyday. I am at the beginning of my new career as the writer of picture books that will hopefully engage young readers and their parents for generations to come.
I’m excited to share this new journey with you.