Christmas Telephone Call from a Worker North of Reykjavik


“Merry Christmas, mom!”

Robert! Oh, thank you, son! I didn’t think you’d have time to call me today.”

“No, it’s cool. I’m on my break. Even up here, we get OSHA.”

“So you’re still working for that man.”

Yes, mom.”

“You haven’t thought about going back to school.”

“To get my Asian Studies degree? Have you got any idea what the job market is like?”

“You’re such a smart boy, Robert. I know you can do better than manual labor.”

“Mom, this is a good job. It’s a union salary. I’m a craftsman, not a ditch digger. And besides, we only work, like, three days out of the year, and we get free housing. I’m saving a ton of money because there’s no place to spend it up here.”

“It’s not proper work. What am I supposed to tell my friends you do for a living?”

“There’s really not a lot of job opportunities for elves, mom.”

“You’re only half-elf.”

“Whatever. It’s this, cartoons, or posing for the covers of fantasy novels. And you don’t want to know what that’s usually a front for.”

“What about your freind Hermey? He went to dental school.”

“Yeah, I want to leave this sure thing to hope I can get a job doing denture scrubs for retirees in Boca. No thanks.”

“I think you’re just not applying yourself. You shouldn’t let the elf thing stand in your way. You could be like…like the Martin Luther King of elves.”

“Mom. I like this job. If you didn’t want a life like this for me, you should never have hooked up with an elf in the first place.”

“I was young! I think there was vodka in the hospitality room punch at that con, anyway.”

“We’ve been over this. Let’s just let it go, okay?”

“Has that man made a pass at you?”


“Your boss. I don’t trust him. He’s one of those people. A gay.”

“Are you serious?”

“Well, just look at his outfits, Robert. Don’t be naive.”

“Mom, he’s married.”

“A beard, they call that. And I don’t mean the one on his face.”

“He’s been married longer than you’ve been alive.”

“Mmm hmm. But not children, I see. Not unlike certain other people I could mention.”

“Mom, I told you, it’s hard to meet girls up here. I live at the North Pole, you know. It’s not like there’s a lot of singles bars.”

“What happened to that one nice girl you were dating, that Rebecca?”

“Well, we’re still sort of seeing each other, but she’s only up here part of the year, for her work. It’s tough maintaining a long distance relationship.”

“Oh, that’s right. What was she again? A Greenpeace activist?”

“She’s an atmospheric scientist.”

“She doesn’t make more money than you, does she?”





“I gotta go. Merry Christmas. I’ll see you over the summer break.”

“Let me just ask you one question.”

“Okay, what?”

“Does he make you wear those shoes? Because they’re not flattering, I can tell you that. And they can’t be giving you much arch support.”

“I love you, mom. Goodbye.”


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