Wednesday, November 28, 2018

A Letter from Your Loving Father

Our family lives very close to the epicenter of the California Gold Rush. We happen to have moved here for the schools (and the abundant Chipotle locations), but a long time ago a bunch of people moved here for the gold. Ground zero for the gold frenzy was a little town called Coloma. All three of our boys got to go on fourth grade field trips to Coloma, to stay three days and two nights and learn all about the life of a gold miner.

One of the things the teachers ask the parents for, besides a ton of money for the trip, is a letter written to your fourth-grader as though they were an actual forty-niner in the gold fields.

For reasons unknown to me, my wife decided I should be the one to write those letters. Apparently, she doesn’t read this column.

Son Number Three just found the one I wrote for him last year, and I thought I’d share, as an example of how my wife is not paying attention.

August 16, 1849

Dearest Son Number Three,

Your ma and I hope this letter finds you alive and well in California. We sure hope you made it all the way out to the diggins in Coloma, and you’re not dead on the Missouri Trail somewhere.

I know the trip to the Mother Lode couldn’t have been easy for you, what with your wooden leg and all. Hopefully you still have it attached, and you didn’t run into any weirdo leg robbers, or God forbid, a pack of angry beavers. I know I taught you well with the shotgun, so hopefully you gave any highwaymen or uppity rodents a backside full of buckshot.

We miss you here on the farm in Indiana, especially now that your older brothers have up and left us as well. Son Number One ran off with a traveling circus act that came through Fort Wayne earlier this summer. He claims to be making decent money, but his official job title is Head Pooper-Scooper for the elephant show.

Son Number Two has gone off to run a barge company on one of the Great Lakes. The good Lord only knows what possessed him to become a sailor, but he seems to enjoy it. He brings iron ore from Michigan to Wisconsin and returns with tons of cheese. Go figure.

We had high hopes for all three of you, but so far we have one son who picks up giant piles of elephant dung and another who is a cheese boat captain. Hopefully you will make something of yourself out in Coloma and save the family name.

One piece of advice for you when it comes to gold diggin: Don’t handle any quicksilver. Stay away from it altogether. A lot of the uneducated prospectors out there will tell you it’s the best way to attract the gold dust and collect it, and it does work great for that, but they will all end up with mercury poisoning. As they get sicker they will make gurgling noises when they talk, they will shiver and shake, their pee will be a funny color, and eventually they will all go bat-guano crazy. Then they’ll die.

Ma says hello.

Best of luck. Try not to get shot by a claim jumper.



I have no idea why my wife puts me in charge of these things.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Thankfulness 2018

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, a day traditionally filled with family, love, overeating, and passing out on the couch in front of the football game.

Along with those things, as with many families, we have a tradition around the dinner table of naming the things for which we are thankful. Invariably, people (including myself) go with the big low-hanging fruit – family, friends, church, employment, good health, food, clothing, shelter, etc.

Nothing against all those very important things, but I think it’s a shame that we don’t have time to name everything we’re really thankful for before the mashed potatoes go ice cold and the gravy develops an impenetrable skin.

So, here’s my small list of some of the smaller things:

Aerosol cheese
The inventor of aerosol cheese
Ziploc bags
Opposable thumbs
Rolling luggage
Shopping carts that drive straight
Paying for things with my phone
Labrador retrievers
Car backup cameras
Han Solo & Chewbacca
The “What is this song?” feature on Google
Dave Barry
Tabasco Green Pepper JalapeƱo sauce
Pork products
La Croix
Turkey stuffing
Getting to be a coach
Getting to be on a couch
Magnum, P.I.
Garbage disposals
Duct tape
C.J. Box
Forever stamps
Toilet paper
Simon & Simon
The plastic things on the ends of shoelaces
Compound interest
Indoor plumbing
Solar panels
See’s Candy Nuts and Chews
Discount printer ink that actually works
Fortune cookies
Microwave popcorn
Every day without a school project
The five-second rule
Dog treats
The National League
Bill Murray
Caller ID
Any time the house doesn’t smell like boys’ shoes
Amazon Prime
Dr. Seuss
Every day it’s not windy

It’s the big things in life, but it’s also the little things in life.

Have a great Thanksgiving,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

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Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Alaina's Voice

** Note – This week’s standard humor column has been preempted by a senseless tragedy that hit far too close to home **  

Our friends, Hannah and Arik Housley, lost their beautiful, wonderful, kind, talented, loving, amazing eighteen-year-old daughter in the November 7th shooting in Thousand Oaks, California.

They will bury her tomorrow. Sandy and I are absolutely heartbroken for them.

Hannah and Arik are amazing people, and with the help of their wonderful family they are starting a foundation in Alaina’s honor, to keep her beautiful voice alive.  


Alaina Maria Housley was born July 27, 2000

She lived, laughed, loved, read, smiled, and sang. She had a kind heart, a gentle soul, and was so giving. She coached children, volunteered to serve veterans, and helped everywhere.

Alaina Maria Housley died on November 7, 2018 when someone entered the Borderline Bar in Thousand Oaks, California while she was line dancing and shot her, and eleven other people, taking their lives.

Alaina may be gone in body, but she will be our voice of song, voice of strength, voice of spirit, and our voice of CHANGE.  It's time for change. It’s time to advocate for goodness, love, and life. It’s time to advocate to our country’s leaders to unite us, not divide us.

We will raise Alaina's Voice.

Sandy and I ask that you please pray for the Housleys, and consider including Alaina’s Voice in your holiday giving this year.

With nothing but love for you all,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Post-humorously Elected

The 2018 midterm elections are behind us and once again, during this tumultuous and confusing process, the nation looked to the great state of Nevada for guidance and direction.

Nevada has always been our national beacon of light in times of darkness. Our North Star, keeping the country focused on what matters. What counts. What is truly important to us all.

Roulette, cocaine, and hookers.

Wait, that can’t be right…

In any event, yesterday, Nevada showed us the way forward yet again. They went ahead and elected a dead guy.

We have a long and rich tradition in our larger metropolitan (read: corrupt) areas of allowing dead people to vote, but very rarely do we vote for a dead guy. But that’s the fun of Nevada!

Dennis Hof defeated educator Lesia Romanov yesterday in the race for Nevada's 36th Assembly District by a vote of 63% to 37%.

As per Nevada assembly district election law, at least one person in each race has to be an actual pimp, and that was Dennis in this case. Apparently Lesia is just a teacher or a school principal or something lame like that.

Dennis Hof owned and operated a half-dozen brothels around the state and was running on the platform of “Make Nevada Nevada again,” (it had been previously changed to Nebraska, and people were getting confused), “I Will Protect Our Water,” (meaning, I will protect our rights to have your water delivered to you by a licensed sex worker), and “I Can’t be Bought,” (meaning, I already have all the hookers and cocaine).

Unfortunately for Mr. Hof, he died on October 16th after an extended weekend of celebrating his 72nd birthday at one of his brothels. (Remember to ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for birthday activities, and seek immediate medical attention if you experience a birthday celebration lasting longer than four days.)

But the fact that their pimp was inconveniently dead was not going to deter the proud Nevadan District 36’ers from voting him into office in an overwhelming fashion. Well done, 36’ers, well done!

This is certainly a strange situation, and one that raises many questions, the most obvious one being, how bad was Lesia Romanov’s campaign platform that she could actually lose big to a dead pimp?

If she did nothing other than change her late-October campaign speeches to, “Look, I can breathe and wiggle my fingers,” it seems like she should have been able to get closer to at least half the votes.

Who knows how these things work!

Anyway, Nevada, the rest of us just want to thank you for, yet again, showing us the path. You may have just pioneered a new voting strategy of having dead people vote for dead people, completely eliminating the need for a live electorate or candidates. That could dramatically reduce campaign ads being mailed to our houses! That is some next-level visionary stuff.

Whether that dream comes to fruition or not, above all else, I just personally want to thank you for electing a dead guy.

I truly wish all politicians could be as ineffective as he’ll be.

See you soon,


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen

Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!