I didn’t always feel this way. In fact, before I had children—back when I was merely “Uncle John”—I actually liked you. A lot. You were a funny and irresistible little monster. Plus my niece and nephew loved you.
Remember that holiday season when you were in such high demand? Well, I was one of the lucky ones who managed to get his hands on your red ass, chicken suit and all. I’ll never forget what a hit you were that year. The kids played with you for hours. But what I didn’t realize then was that their parents must have hated every single minute of it.
No, my furry friend, I wouldn’t learn that lesson for quite some time. But learn it I would, when I finally became a dad. I will admit, though, even after spawning the tiny trio, it took a while for the disdain to set in, likely because the triplets adored you so. It’s hard for me to dislike anything which brings such joy to my children.
But it’s not impossible, my misguided monster. Hearing your little chicken-dance song 5,412 times certainly proved that.
“Elmo wants to be a chicken. Elmo wants to be a duck. Quack, quack, quack, quack.”
Well, which is it, Elmo? Do you wanna be a chicken or do you wanna be a duck? You’re quacking, so I assume you wanna be a duck, yet you’re dressed in a chicken costume, which would indicate a poultry preference. Not to mention the fact that the package you came in—It didn’t read “Duck Dance Elmo.” It read “Chicken Dance Elmo.” So why the duck are you quacking? You’re setting a horrendous example for my kids who could very well be acquiring a sense of entitlement by witnessing such behavior. I can hear it now. “I wanna do this. No, I wanna do that. No, I wanna do this. No, I wanna do that…”
As much as I loathed you in your chicken-dance format, there was a simple solution—hiding you from the light of day. Once I did that, I figured you were behind us. Until the long-ass car rides. That’s right. Seven-hour drives to the beach with three fussy toddlers is quite an experience. To keep the peace we tried everything. But only one thing seemed to work. Your Best of Elmo DVD.
Oh the irony, Elmo. Hiding you at home brought me great peace. Yet, on the road, from a monitor behind my head and well outside my field of vision, you still managed to wreak a hell-like havoc on the vacation commutes I haplessly executed. Back in the good old days, three hours on the road meant we were in the middle of Spartanburg. But suddenly, three hours on the road meant that we were in the middle of the seventh showing of your mind-numbing collection of skits.
Do you have to use that high-pitched voice, Elmo? Or rap. Do you have to rap? You’re about as gansta as an imaginary tea party. With princesses. And do you have to rock the third person all the time? Hmm? Because John Cave Osborne doesn’t like that. It bugs him. In fact, it bugs pretty much everyone on this planet.
Hey, Elmo. Fran Dresher’s calling. Her laugh thinks you’re annoying and wants you to stop.
Speaking of annoying, Elmo—Whoopie Goldberg? Really? What, Star Jones all booked up? And how ’bout your deal with Julia Roberts? Just hearing the two of you trying to scare each other is enough to make me wanna throw an apple at the monitor. Don’t worry, though. Should I ever lose control like that, no one would actually get hurt. Any apple thrown anywhere near Julia Roberts would do nothing more than harmlessly lodge itself into the top row of her preposterously large teeth.
Oh, and I think it’s nice that you gave the Unhappy Honker your last drawing, but if you needed at least one to display at the Monster Art Show, why in world did you give it to him?
I smell a dumb-dumb.
And then everyone’s supposed to feel all sorry for you and return the dozens of drawings you just spent the better part of 30 minutes handing out as gifts? Again, not a great example. Back to the entitlement deal.
Yes, Elmo, you do suck. But, honestly? I’ve kinda enjoyed disliking you so. The acrimonious fire you’ve set within my soul has kept me warm for nearly 18 months now. And that’s the real reason why I’m writing you.
Sadly, it seems the fire is going out. You see, A, B, and C no longer wonder where your chicken-dance doll is. They don’t enjoy your DVDs anymore, not even the one where you selfishly insist that every day be Christmas. (You’ve got to work on that entitlement thing.)
Sorry, Elmo, but you’re yesterday’s news. In fact, you’ve already been replaced. And wouldn’t you know it—you’ve been replaced by something else that’s red. And what’s more—much like you, your replacement emits high-pitched noises capable of giving me migraines. And truth be told, I’m kinda sad about it. My new foil, though similar to you in color and sound, will be nowhere near as fun for me to hate.
But that doesn’t mean I won’t hate it. Because, rest assured, I will.
And I can also promise you this. That damn thing will never be allowed in the car. Ever.
So long, Elmo.