Is it Quizmas time already? I’m sorry… I just can’t say that out loud without imagining Elmer Fudd trying to say Christmas. Kids, as this is the sixth outing for Paul’s Captain’s Quiz, it’s important that I put on my game face. My game face looks a lot like my normal face. But you can tell it’s my game face because it’s slightly more competitive than my normal face.
As always, I point you back to The Captain’s Speech so you, too, may participate in this quiz. Basically, you answer the questions that Paul asks and then he scores your answers. It’s important to note that there are no right or wrong answers. Which is what makes these quizzes so difficult for me. My logically trained brain is so used to quiz games like Jeopardy! where there is always a correct response. But, so far, for the most part, I’ve finished around the middle of the pack. I’d like to crack the top three at some point, though. Maybe the sixth time is the charm.
The 10 Questions
- Santa Claus is on a health kick this holiday season. Instead of milk and cookies, what snacks would you leave out for him?
No milk and cookies? What about skim milk (white water) and Oreo Thins? No? Okay… How about we go with a different classic. It’s one you don’t typically think of as a Christmas snack, but if we can’t do milk and cookies… Let’s go with Ants on a Log. You know what I’m talking about. Small celery sticks with peanut butter spread down the middle and a few raisins on top of the peanut butter. Personally, I’m not a big fan of any of those ingredients… especially the peanut butter. But maybe Santa isn’t as picky an eater as I am. Besides, raisins are like nature’s candy, right?
- Picture your 8-year-old self. You are home alone during the holidays, when burglars try to break in to your house. What do you do?
There’s something very familiar about all this. You know… my mom gave me a hard time for spending so much of my allowance on Micro Machines. Well, who’s laughing now? No… I can’t really say I’d respond in the same manner as Kevin McCallister, because I wasn’t a budding sociopath at 8-years-old. I was quiet and shy. If I’m accidentally left home alone at that age, I’m sure I would be okay. And if burglars are trying to get into my home I’m likely going to grab the cordless phone (because we had a landline when I was 8) and hide in my closet while calling 911. After all, I’m 8 and Home Alone has not been released yet, so I don’t even have that as a road map for how to deal with home invaders. But I have been taught by my elementary school’s DARE officer about how to call 911 when there is an emergency. I would have been a very responsible neglected child.
- Have you ever bought a gift for someone else that you wanted to keep for yourself? If so, what was it?
I don’t know that I’ve ever bought a gift for someone specific that I wanted to keep for myself. However, my rule whenever going into any kind of gift exchange game (think: Dirty Santa), whether that be with coworkers or family, is to bring a gift that I would not mind leaving with. For example, for next weekend’s family Christmas get together, we will be having a gift exchange among the grown-ups and the gift that I’m bringing is REDACTED. Right… can’t say just in case I have family that read this blog. But it’s something that I would like to have myself. I even went slightly over the spending limit because it’s that cool. Whether I wind up with my own gift or not, I’m sure the exchange game will be super fun.
- Which would you rather build: a snowman or a snow fort? Explain your decision.
Give me a snow fort any day. Partially because that likely means we’ve gotten a lot more snow than is typically required for a simple snowman. More snow means more snow days. But also, with a snow fort you have the potential to be involved in an epic snowball fight. What does one do while hanging out inside one’s snow fort? Make snow balls, of course. One must be prepared for potential invaders when one is master of a snow fort. Memo to 8-year-old self: be prepared for potential invaders if left home alone during the holidays. Hopefully your Christmas is much colder than this year’s mild December and you will actually have snow with which to work.
- It is your job to remind others to drive safely in treacherous winter conditions. Write a Public Service Announcement that will play on the radio this winter.
“Ladies and gentlemen of the open road, please pay attention to this important message from the Department of Transportation. Statistically speaking, it is a well-known fact that the average motorist’s IQ drops between 5 and 10 points whenever any sort of precipitation falls from the sky. It does not matter if it is rain or snow or sleet or hail, somehow it makes many of our drivers a little bit dumber. Please, use common sense this winter season. When your local meteorologist is calling for inclement weather and implores you to stay at home and off the streets, heed that warning. If, however, you must venture out to drive under treacherous conditions, take your time. Take a deep breath. Slow down and remember to leave plenty of space between you and the vehicles around you. It is bad enough that grandma got run over by a reindeer so many years ago. No one wants your family to receive the news that you lost control of your vehicle because you were rushing out to do donuts on the freeway. Drive safely or stay home. Thank you for your time.”
- There is a holiday party at your workplace and everyone must bring in one dish of food to share. What are you bringing?
I will be bringing macaroni and cheese. But not just any macaroni and cheese. I’m not talking about anything that comes out of a blue box. I’m talking about my grandmother’s recipe. It’s baked in a casserole dish. It’s so delicious. My cousins and I have come to lovingly refer to it as crackaroni and cheese. Because it’s addictive. Like crack.
- Someone got you a hippopotamus for Christmas because you insisted, “only a Hippopotamus will do”. How did they give it to you?
One bite at a time. Oh… wait… That’s the answer to “How do you EAT a hippopotamus?” My bad… I imagine the real answer would be “very carefully…” I mean, I live in an apartment. And it’s not exactly a big apartment. Getting a hippo up to the third floor will be a feat in and of itself. Not to mention directing the mighty beast through the narrow hallways may be next to impossible. I’m guessing that this someone is that friend that doesn’t understand sarcasm, because there’s no way I’d be serious about taking on a pet hippopotamus in my current housing situation. But I’d open the door and would likely stand there in shock and awe seeing my friend with, I assume, some kind of leash attached to a harness being worn by a full grown hippo. My first words would probably be something along the lines of, “What is this?!” To which they would reply, “Merry Christmas! This is the hippopotamus you asked for!” And then I would look at this person as if they were incredibly stupid and ask, “You thought I was serious about that? You’ve seen where I live! How am I supposed to take care of a hippo?!” Then they would say, “I guess that’s your problem. This animal cost me a lot of money to have transported all the way from Africa so I’m gonna need you to be a little more appreciative of the gifts you receive. Also, I’m expecting something spectacular from you in return. Good luck!” Then they’d hand me the leash and try to squeeze by the hippo in an attempt to leave. But then I would say, “Something spectacular?! We’re not even that close! I was only hanging out with you as a favor to a coworker that I don’t even like that much!” Then they would look back, pain written all over their face, “You know, your words hurt like a fist.” Then I would feel a little bad… but then I’d look back down at the hippo and my anger would return pretty quickly. “Get this thing out of here before someone alerts the property manager! Even if I could have a pet it would be limited to cats, dogs, or fish!” The hippo, growing hungry and impatient would then go on a rampage, destroying the walls of the hallway, charging into my apartment and damaging just about everything in sight. The police would be called. I would definitely lose my security deposit.
- What advice would you give someone who isn’t good at wrapping presents?
Two words: gift bags. The first thing I want you to do is go to the dollar store. You know, where everything costs one dollar. I want you to get as many gift bags as you need. This depends on how many gifts you are giving this Christmas. They have varying sizes, so estimate which sizes you will need for each gift. While you’re there, find the tissue paper. It should be close to the gift bags. The wrapping paper will be close by, too, but I want you to ignore that. Once you get your gift bag(s) home, place your gift inside, then shove some tissue paper on top. If you’re feeling fancy, you can arrange the paper so it looks like you took some time to actually care about presentation. But that’s entirely up to you and how you’re feeling that particular day.
- In the movie, Home Alone, Kevin McCallister says, “Be sure to bundle up if you go outside. It’s a little nippy.” How do you stay warm when it’s cold?
I’m a fan of blankets. Though, I must say, I don’t easily get cold. But I do try to keep my apartment on the cooler side. If it’s too warm, I can’t function. If it’s too warm at night, I can’t sleep. So when it’s feeling cool, I like to crawl under the covers and sort of roll myself into a human burrito. And that’s about it. I’m not a fan of hot beverages, so I don’t do that. I don’t have a fireplace, so I can’t build a fire. If I’m feeling particularly cold, I will likely throw on a hoodie in an attempt to heat up my core. But it’s basically blankets.
- Are you a Dasher or a Dancer? Why?
This is a difficult question. And I’m certain that Paul just intends for people to say one or the other and move on. But as I think on it, I don’t think my personality matches any of Santa’s eight classic reindeer. Dasher implies speed… I’m not fast. Dancer implies an ability to dance… which I can’t. Prancer… well, I don’t prance. Vixen? That brings to mind a seductress of some kind and I’m certainly not that. Comet… again feels like a speed reference, along with flight. Cupid… I’m no matchmaker. Donder and Blitzen? Thunder and lightning? Nope… All right. Dasher or Dancer? I’ll go with Dasher because I’d much rather be fast than dance.
- Santa is about to put you on the naughty list this year. Convince him he’s making a mistake and that you were a good person in 2021.
Mr. Claus… May I call you Santa? Okay… Santa… I’m not perfect. Far from it. I know I suffer from road rage. I know I’ve expressed a great deal of unhappiness in my professional life in recent months. I know that I’ve allowed that unhappiness to bleed over into my personal life as well. But I can only hope you’ll forgive this imperfection while also considering the fact that I keep this unhappiness well under wraps. Maybe that’s not healthy. Maybe I should seek therapy. No… I know I should. Because burying that stress is unhealthy… I know. But I have managed to work with a number of people who require help in their day-to-day lives throughout the past year. Often, these are difficult individuals who are ungrateful for the help they receive. Often, I’m treated like garbage by these clients. And I take it. It is a lonely and painful existence. But I guess that’s why the pay me the mediocre bucks. I may not deserve the nice list this year… but do I really deserve the naughty list?
- There have been allegations that Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer was bullied by his fellow reindeer. The North Pole calls you in to give the reindeer a stern talking-to. What do you say?
First, I would want to identify the leader of Santa’s reindeer team. The captain, if you will. I think it’s safe to assume that this captain would be Dasher. After all, Dasher is mentioned first in the classic poem and in Rudolph’s own song. As the captain, the rest of the reindeer are looking to him as the leader and an example of how to carry themselves, both at Christmastime and throughout the year. I don’t believe I need to speak to the entire team of reindeer about the bullying of their super-powered brethren. I just need to help Dasher to see the incredible gift that Rudolph is to their team. When Dasher has more respect for Rudolph, the rest of the team will as well. When Dasher stops laughing when the others mock Rudolph for his glowing red nose, the others will realize that’s not the way to get their captain’s attention. I think about this in the same way that Ted Lasso tried to handle some members of his team who were picking on Nate the Great during the first season of that fantastic show (if you haven’t seen it, binge that junk right now). Ted knew that saying something to the bullies on the team would get him nowhere. But he also knew that saying something to Roy Kent, the team’s captain, putting the responsibility on him… that would be the catalyst for change. You want that domino effect, then Dasher is the first domino you knock over.
- On the television show, The OC, Seth Cohen created Chrismukkah as a way to celebrate both Christmas and Hanukkah. Meanwhile, on Seinfeld, George Costanza’s family celebrates Festivus – a secular and non-commercial holiday – on December 23. Create your own alternate winter holiday and tell me all about it. What’s it called? What are the traditions? Who can celebrate?
Well… it kinda feels like all the good ones are taken. Christmas, of course, is the big one in our modern world, whether one considers themselves a Christian or not. And it’s followed closely by Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and a Festivus for the rest of us. And there’s always the Winter Solstice, which the pagans would celebrate for many years until the Christians came along and stole their Donder by deciding to celebrate Christ’s birth around that same time. I’m cool with it… I mean, it is nice getting a day off from work one week after the other. But I’m going on and on about holidays that already exist. Let’s call my holiday Sleepday. I know that the day after Christmas is traditionally Boxing Day in many parts of the world. Personally, I have no idea what Boxing Day is since we don’t have it in the United States. And, as an American, I am proudly ignorant of all things international. Unless it’s the International House of Pancakes. I am well versed in that. Anyway… let’s reserve Sleepday for December 28. We’ve moved beyond Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, the solstice, Festivus, Christmas, and Boxing Day. We’re looking forward to celebrating a New Year within days. But we’re all so very tired. The holidays can take a lot out of us. Even under the best of circumstances… but when do the best of circumstances ever really take place? So we’ll set aside this day in the middle of the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day to genuinely rest. Whatever rest looks like for you, that’s what you do on Sleepday. Sleep may be the most obvious option. But it’s certainly not the only option. Everyone can celebrate Sleepday. In fact, Sleepday should insist that all businesses are closed, allowing everyone the opportunity to rest at the same time. No open restaurants. No open stores. No open movie theaters. No live television productions. Everyone stays home for 24 hours and just gets the rest they so richly deserve. If you choose not to observe Sleepday, that’s up to you. However, you may not force or require anyone else to ignore this holiday. They may do so if they choose, just as you may. But if you are the owner of a McDonald’s franchise who does not observe Sleepday and want your restaurant to remain open, it means that you must be comfortable with the possibility of running things all by yourself. As mentioned before, you may not force or require anyone to work for you that day. But you must also not coerce employees to work by luring them in with additional pay. If they voluntarily give up their Sleepday, that’s fine. But there must be no coercion. Sleep well, my friends.
Those are my answers for The Captain’s Quiz 6: Our First Quizmas Together. You should seriously follow that link at the top of this post and play along. It’s super fun. I don’t even care if I win or lose. Actually… I care a little bit.