A Small, Good Thing

Mr. LDBC’s winning LDBC-elfie

Well, people, it’s a bit after 6 am on Howland Island, and the birds and crabs there are celebrating the dawn of a new day. The game is over everywhere on the planet, and it’s time to celebrate our victories and give our losses their due.

What’s that mean? First off, it means winning LDBC-elfies. Post your smiling, victorious faces as comments, please. I want to mix those in with the losses and leaven the sadness of defeat. To get you started, here’s mine. (I haven’t bothered to shower today and won’t subject you all to my Vonnegut-like pandemic hair, which really does need to have a machete taken to it.) I decided to highlight our light-up snowflake, which provides a glimmer of cheer against the gray backdrop of the day.

Mrs. LDBC and I rode to victory this year, and I know many of you did, too. We are joyous in our win but mindful of those who fell before The Boy was booted back to wherever the hell he hangs out the rest of the year. (Don’t worry, I’m sure I’ll make something up.)

So let’s see those smiles and victory dances. And don’t forget to fill out the form (bit.ly/LDBCform) with your win so that we can gather some fairly complete stats. For there will be stats once I get my act together to crunch all the numbers and do the wrap-up post (which seems to be getting later and later, 12 years in to this Thing of Ours).

Also, please don’t forget our friends at Americares, which is once again our charity of choice. People have been generous this year, and we really do appreciate it. And along with that comes my usual message. There’s no requirement to donate. Some people would rather give their own way, and others are finding it a little too tight this year. No problem. But if you’re up for it, the money goes to a great organization, and you can donate here.

Anyway. I suppose I should make myself presentable. We have to go grab food for tonight and our traditional eight-hour slow-cooker roast, which is tomorrow’s dinner. (It used to be five hours. But we switched recipes in order to be even slower.)

So with that, I’ll wish you and yours very safe and Happy Holidays and a bright New Year. A dozen years on, you make this Thing of Ours a pleasure to run, and you help warm the cold days and nights of December.

Please be kind to one another. No matter how it looks at times, we’re all in this together.

Day 9: We Need to Talk About Hawkeye

Hawkeye's Hailee Steinfeld
Hawkeye‘s Hailee Steinfeld

“I no longer believe in superheroes,” Mecca Brown writes while relating her tale of being betrayed and taken down by everyone’s favorite Avengers archer and his sidekick on Disney+. And while I’m not willing to go quite that far—I need to know Spider-Ham is real and battling baddies in his own dimension, for instance—it is disheartening to be stabbed in the back by a hero after we were so sympathetic about his family being turned to powder and all.

Anyway, as a friend of mine said when his car was stolen, only to be recovered with its dashboard and steering wheel completely bedazzled, it’s what’s happening. It’s what happens every year, and we do what we can to get through it. Together.

“I went back to bed. What’s the point of getting up now?” dearly departed LDBCer Robert Laughlin said when posting of his own demise. And I get it. I do. Especially on a Sunday evening, when it’s cold and rainy, and I’m staring down the barrel of a Monday that starts with a 6 am alarm and kicks off a full week of work. But so we beat on, and our hope is to beat The Boy.

Who do we do it for? Each other. And Erica Kolh, our First Fallen for 2021. And the 216 other LDBCers who’ve been taken down thus far. And should our heroes continue to let us down, then fine—we’ll be each other’s heroes. As long as I get to be the Silver Surfer.

So that’s it for a Sunday when it’s a little after 6 pm, and it’s been dark for an hour and a half. Below, you’ll find our first batch of LDBC-elfies, turned in by the victims who were unfortunate enough to zig when zagging was clearly called for. Honor them. Fight on. And we’ll be each other’s light.

Puh-rum-pum-pum-pum, people.

For Erica!

LDBC-Elfies: Tragedy Captured

  • Kim Drogan Prentice and David Prentice
  • Naomi DeVries Pomerantz
  • Em Emma Emily
  • Stephanie Ellis
  • Sarah Hunter and Josh Turiel
  • Mara Fitter
  • Lynn Sebrell
  • Lori Ploeg Wells
  • Liz Murdock
  • Krista Schnelle
  • Kendra Hughes
  • Karen Austin
  • Julia Hodgson
  • Frances Noon
  • Aileen Stickley
  • Rachel Cleveland
  • Laura Sanger Watkins
  • Kenny Hicks
  • Jillian Harris
  • Jeanette Jamison

A little help, if you can: once again, we’re battling the darkness that is The Boy by trying to shed some light on the situation. So if you’re willing and able to help this year, Americares is who we’re giving to this year.

As I say every year, there’s no obligation. Everybody’s welcome in this Thing of Ours, whether you contribute or not. But if you can, Americares is a great organization.

Please donate here.

“No More Shines, Billy.”

“Sometimes you don’t sound like you’re kidding.”

That’s right, LDBCers. We don’t shine The Boy’s shoes no more. Not for another year, anyway. In fact, he’s the one sent home to get his shine box.

So post the details of your win (or your loss, if you haven’t already) to the reporting form, please. Then it’ll be time for the official wrap-up.

But breathe easy, and enjoy the taste of winning (or of our yearly struggle being over, at least). We’ve earned it. I mean, given the year we’ve had? Boy, have we (pun intended).

Puh-rum-pum-pum-pum, people.

Reminder: we’re trying to balance out the evil of The Boy by doing some good, LDBCers. So if you’ve got the giving spirit and are able to help this year, Americares is once again our cause of choice.

As I’ve stressed since we started doing this, no pressure. I’m happy to have everyone play the game who wants to, whether you’ve got the desire or the means to contribute. But if you can, Americares does great work.

Please donate here.

Day 24: She Gave Me Gasoline

Jennifer Palome Nassivera

Curses, foiled again: Jennifer Palome Nassivera at the scene of the crime

A bit more than three weeks into this thing, people, and it’s looking like those who said it’d be easier due to sheltering-in-place may have had a point. We’re running at about 56% of the losses we had last year by this time.

But as Bruce Springsteen sang, “To the dead, it don’t matter much ’bout who’s wrong or right.” If you’re out already, it wasn’t any easier for you. Just ask poor Jennifer Palome Nassivera and her sister, pictured above. (I assume it’s your sister, Jennifer; please correct me if I’m wrong.) They just wanted the opportunity to prettify themselves. It’s a basic right. That’s what they asked for. What they got was the Evil of The Boy.

And the more I think about that, the more another song comes to mind—Howlin’ Wolf‘s “I Asked for Water (She Gave Me Gasoline).” You expect something, and you’re handed something else. A visit to the dentist’s office doesn’t result in tartar-free choppers as the chief memory. Nor does firing up that wonderful holiday playlist you found. Instead, it’s a trip to the reporting form to enter the details of your demise.

We do what we can to help, though. We’ve put together a list of Deadly Movies and TV to check before you watch. (Be aware, however, that it’s by no means comprehensive. We’ve been struggling to keep it up to date, in fact.) And your fellow LDBCers try to help, too. We’ve got two safe Spotify lists contributed by Grace McIntosh and Anna Bulthuis. “Safe” doesn’t always mean what you want it to, though. Grace was recently knocked out herself (not because of her list). And mistakes can be made by the most well-meaning among us. So double-check for yourself before playing, just in case. As I always say, ever-vigilant.

Safety is what you make of it, friends. A lack of it is what’s taken down more than 400 of your fellow fighters thus far, including Rigdzin Dorje, our First Fallen this year. But we’re just days away, so look alive, and maybe you’ll stay that way.

Meanwhile, here’s the latest helping of LDBC-elfies from our dearly departed. Learn from them. Finish strong for them. Because no matter how hard the tricksters try to tell us otherwise, we’re all in this together.

Puh-rum-pum-pum-pum, people.

For Rigdzin!

LDBC-Elfies: Tragedy Captured

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Reminder: we’re trying to balance out the evil of The Boy by doing some good, LDBCers. So if you’ve got the giving spirit and are able to help this year, Americares is once again our cause of choice.

As I’ve stressed since we started doing this, no pressure. I’m happy to have everyone play the game who wants to, whether you’ve got the desire or the means to contribute. But if you can, Americares does great work.

Please donate here.

Day 6: A Flaming Dumpster Fire

Only six days in, and we’ve already got nearly 100 reported casualties, LDBCers. It’s grim. No question about that. But last year, there were twice as many by this time, so maybe the quarantine lifestyle is an impediment to The Boy after all.

Which doesn’t mean he’s not on the hunt, mind you. Why, just ask poor Emily S., who checked in with this summary of her downfall.

2020 has already been such a flaming dumpster fire that I had a premonition of going out early, but I’m still disappointed that I (technically) did it to myself.

Just made dinner for the bickering kids, who’ve been on the longest school vacation ever, clocking in at 8.5 months. Eeeeeeeeight and a haaaaaalf moooooonths these children have been home with me. Everyone’s heartily sick of Thanksgiving leftovers. They’d been fighting all day over whose turn it was to play Breath of the Wild. (My house is in a heretofore undocumented bend in the space-time continuum where the person currently playing has both been playing “all day” and “just started,” and digital kitchen timers do not function properly, mysteriously going off “too soon.” NASA, hook me up with some research money.)

I just wanted some peace and seasonal joy while I watched them eat four-day-old turkey and dressing and monitored for early signs of salmonella poisoning. I turned on the old kitchen TV to the cable company’s version of Christmas satellite radio: Music Choice’s Sounds of the Seasons. By the dinner table’s second chorus of, “Mine is cold, and the reprise of, “This tastes funny,” I heard the unmistakeable notes. Sharon and the Dap-Kings had kicked me while I was down.

Single parenting = hard.

Single parenting & working from home during a pandemic = really, really hard.

Single parenting & working from home during a pandemic with LDB in the background = intolerable.

Everyone has their breaking point, and this was mine. Plates were scraped into the trash, pizza delivery was called, and a kitchen dance party was held as we embraced the seasonal suck. Sharon’s version isn’t half bad, but I’ll relay my prescient 13-year-old’s comments as wisdom from the mouths of babes: “Pizza makes everything better, and I like the David Bowie one where he sings with that other guy best.”

So do I, kiddo. So do I.

With the help of dancing and pizza, we’ll get through this.

Happy holidays, LDBCers.

Indeed we will get through this, Emily. We always do.

Well, except for these folks pictured below.

For Rigdzin!

LDBC-Elfies: Tragedy Captured

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Reminder: we’re trying to balance out the evil of The Boy by doing some good, LDBCers. So if you’ve got the giving spirit and are able to help this year, Americares is once again our cause of choice.

As I’ve stressed since we started doing this, no pressure. I’m happy to have everyone play the game who wants to, whether you’ve got the desire or the means to contribute. But if you can, Americares does great work.

Please donate here.

Look For the Helpers

Americares

Apocalypse Boy by Jubilant James Barnett

We’re trying to balance out the evil of The Boy by doing some good, LDBCers. So if you’ve got the giving spirit and are able to help this year, Americares is once again our cause of choice.

As I’ve stressed since we started doing this, no pressure. I’m happy to have everyone play the game who wants to, whether you’ve got the desire or the means to contribute. But if you can, Americares does great work, and your donation may be matched up to eight times if you donate by Giving Tuesday (Dec. 1).

Please donate here.

Otherwise, fight on, friends. For Rigdzin!