Wednesday, September 30, 2020

National Son's Day

Apparently, Monday was National Son’s Day. I didn’t know this, because I had never heard of National Son’s Day until yesterday. National Daughter’s Day was on the 25th, and I only heard about that one for the first time this year, too.

(Side note: The fact that National “Son Day” is not on a Sunday proves that our leaders are barely functional morons.)

Why have I never heard of these national days? I have a theory. They sound very much made up, like Lifetouch’s recent “National School Picture Day.” Give me a break! What are these daughter and son days for? Mother’s Day and Father’s Day make sense. What am I supposed to be thanking my kids for? Thanks for being here? Wasn’t your choice. Thanks for taking all my money? Nope.

Now, please don’t get me wrong. I love our three sons to pieces, but that doesn’t mean I think we should have a special day to celebrate their existence. We already have three of those. They’re called birthdays.

Since I don’t have daughters, I really have no way of knowing, but I assume they might take these things with a little more weight than the sons out there. I didn’t know about National Son’s Day, and as such, I didn’t post anything about how much I loved my sons that day. You know what the great thing about sons is? They don’t care!

If National Daughter’s Day needs to remain a thing because of all the emotions and whatnot, I understand. But I’m here today to let everyone know we don’t need this National Son’s Day thing. If we insist on keeping it, I would like to suggest that we at least practice a little truth in advertising and rename it.

Here are some possible alternative names, just off the top of my head:

National Please Stop Eating Everything Day

National Please Stop Clogging the Toilet Day

National For Goodness Sake Put Some Deodorant On Day

National Can You Please Quit Wrecking the Car Day

National Stop Beating Up Your Brother Day

National This is the Fifth Time I’ve Asked You to Take Out the Trash Day

National What Are You Planning to Do With That Lighter Fluid Day

National Please Take a Shower This Week Day

National Put Down the Phone and Read a Damn Book Day

National How Have You Lived This Long Making Decisions Like That Day

National This is Why I Have Gray Hairs Day

National Please Stop Wearing the Same Underwear Four Days in a Row Day

National How Did You Already Grow Out of Those Shoes Day

National Can You Please Dial the Sound Down Six Notches Day

National Please Slow Down in the House Day

National Take it Easy, This Room is Not Bulletproof Day

National Your Brother is Not a Punching Bag Day

National Seriously, How Are You Not Full Yet Day

National What’s That Smell Day

National Just Go into Your Room and Clean Anything Day


National Where Did All My Money Go Day

Those all seem a little closer to the truth.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

A Hybrid Education

The sun is up and the house is quiet. The only thing I can hear is the dog breathing. This can only mean one thing… That’s right, I moved away from my family and took the dog!

Just kidding. It means THE KIDS ARE BACK IN SCHOOL!!!

Sorta. We are back to school part-time, two to three days a week. It’s not the normal full-time schedule I was hoping for, but I’ll take anything I can get. I haven’t had peace and quiet during school hours since March, which was fifty-six months ago.

On the days they are home, the boys are doing “asynchronous learning,” which is a fancy word for ten minutes of homework, one five-minute Zoom attendance check in, and seven hours of Minecraft.

It’s what the school is calling a “hybrid” schedule, and it should be interesting. In order to be able to teach the same amount of material on campus in half the time, classes are being combined to form a “hybrid education.”

For example, PE has been combined with Math. Students are asked to run at a full sprint around the track for forty-five minutes. At the end of the session, they formulate ratios between how many students threw up and how many students actually passed out. Later in the semester they correlate the data between the classes that take place before lunch and after lunch and look for trends.

Language Arts (English, for those of you over the age of thirty) has been combined with all the elective languages (Spanish, French, Profane, etc.) to form one universal language class. That’s right! We’re bringing back the one true world language, Esperanto! The people that were promoting it to me in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s will be thrilled. Assuming they are still alive. If not, they probably won’t be that thrilled at all.

Woodshop has been combined with Home Ec, which should be exciting. Students will learn how to build a kitchen table, at which they can sit and enjoy their culinary creations. Halfway through the table building unit, however, all the lumber will be destroyed in a massive grease fire during the hybrid turkey deep frying unit.

Theater has been combined with Chemistry and is actually being taught by the campus landscape crews to free up some teaching staff. This should really produce some explosive live performances this year, especially if they explore all the different reactions of fertilizer and lawnmower gasoline.

The extra teachers will be helping with a three-way hybridization of Computer Science, Sex Ed., and Aquatics. I can’t for the life of me see that going well, but I am just trusting that they have a plan.

And lastly, History has been combined with Creative Writing. But that’s nothing new.

Happy return to school, everybody!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Why, Mexico, Why?

I’ve got a problem with you, Mexico. On the one hand, you are an excellent neighbor. A quick scan of Wikipedia shows me that we purchase over eighty percent of your exports, which include “manufactured goods, electronics, vehicles and auto parts, oil and oil products, silver, plastics, fruits, vegetables, coffee, cotton, and silver.”

That’s all good stuff! And I notice silver is listed twice on there. Thanks for that!

I’d also like to personally thank you for salsa, tortilla chips, burritos, enchiladas, quesadillas, some outstanding college spring break trips, tacos, chimichangas, carne asada, Cinco de Mayo, tostadas, tamales, Modelo beer, Carlos Santana, fajitas, guacamole, those little street tacos, and those masked luchadores wrestler guys that inspired the movie Nacho Libre. Oh, and also nachos!

There is one export that has me scratching my head, though. This leads us to my problem with you. I am, of course, talking about the Chihuahua.

This little dog is ridiculous, and it’s all your fault. You can’t deny it. Not only is the breed’s country of origin officially listed as Mexico, but you named it after one of your states!

Why?? Why would you want to take credit for this thing? What was the motivation behind breeding a bizarre little dog the size of a guinea pig with the personality of a weaponized pit bull?

It conveys nothing good about the state of Chihuahua, or the country of Mexico as a whole.

How did those initial conversations go, back in Old Mexico?

“Hey, Juan, check out these little perros we ended up with. Our smaller-than-average normal dog got out a few months ago and went looking for amor. She apparently hooked up with a large rodent of some kind?”

“Wow, those things are weird looking!”

“Yes, they are! Do you think we should try to make more of them?”

“Definitely! Only smaller and with bigger, weirder looking eyes.”

“Yes! Big bulgy eyes that are way too big for its cabeza. How about feet?”

“Tiny, with oversize, clicky toenails.”

“Bueno. Ears?”

“Also far too large for its cabeza, obviously. And pointy, of course.”

“Claro. Ooh, speaking of the head, do you think we should go for ever-so-slightly the wrong size for the body? I was thinking of having it random. You know, either too big or too small, but never the right size.”

“That is a great idea!”

“Gracias. How small should we try to make these perros?”

“I’m thinking we try to get them down to the size of a large rat.”

“Excellent idea. Should they have any redeeming features, dog-wise?”

“No nada! They definitely should NOT get along with other dogs. Or strangers. Or our friends. Or our neighbors. Really, I’m thinking they just shouldn’t get along with anyone or anything.”

“Bueno. Should they be useful at all?”

“Only as noise makers. And on that note, let’s make sure they are really loud. Like, louder than they should physically be able to be, size-wise. But, like, squeaky loud, you know? Not that good deep dog bark. That’s annoying.”

“So, essentially, we’re trying to breed the exact opposite of a Great Dane?”

“Perfecto! Our great state of Chihuahua, Mexico will be known for producing the loudest, meanest, weirdest-looking, most useless dog per pound de todos los perros del mundo!”


“Who do you think will want one?”

“Taco Bell, for sure. Probably a lot of other people, too, for some strange reason.”


Thanks for that, Mexico. What a treat. You’re still on the plus side of the equation, based on all the good stuff you offer, but those damn little dogs are really hurting your numbers. Those and the drug cartel guys.

But mostly the Chihuahuas.

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

National Crappy School Picture Day

It’s almost here!! Tomorrow, September 10th, is the fake national “day” that Lifetouch School Portraits is trying to start! It’s National School Picture Day tomorrow!!

As you can see by the excessive exclamation points, I can hardly contain my excitement.

If you have ever had a child in school, or been given a child’s school picture, you obviously already know that Lifetouch is not good at taking pictures. They built a business around going to schools and then selling parents pictures of their kids, but forgot the all-important step of finding photographers willing and able to take actually good pictures.

Now they are asking us to post our favorite old school pictures to the internet tomorrow with the tags #Lifetouch and #NationalSchoolPictureDay, in a desperate attempt to stay relevant since they can’t be on campus taking pictures of your child with food stuck to their face.

I know, I know. All you parents and grandparents out there are still sad about the fact that you won’t get school pictures this year. You always hope for the rare good ones, but there isn’t even the possibility of getting the inevitable crappy Lifetouch pictures of your little darlings this year. Never fear. We now have a solution that will get you both!

Step One: Dress your child in picture day clothes and put them in front of a finger-painted swirly gray or blue background. Get your cell phone ready and say “poopy butt.” Elementary schoolers will laugh immediately. You may need to say it two or three times for high schoolers, but they all laugh eventually. Snap a few photos while they are laughing and boom, you have an actually good school picture for the year.

Step Two: Post your old crappy Lifetouch school pictures on Facebook.

The best of both worlds!

Now remember, when you post those bad pictures, I don’t want you to use Lifetouch’s suggested tags. The people at Lifetouch do not possess the ability to tell a good picture from a bad one. The humor will be lost on them and they will only be encouraged.

I do, however, really want you to post your bad Lifetouch school pictures to MY Facebook page (Marc Schmatjen), so we can all get a kick out of just how much they suck at taking school pictures. If you want to give them tags, you can use #CrappyLifetouch and #NationalCrappySchoolPictureDay.

You can find me at

We can start today. We don’t need to wait until September 10th.

Let the crappiness begin!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 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!

Wednesday, September 2, 2020

A Third Open Letter to the School District

Dear folks in charge of the decision making down at the School District,

I am writing to urge you to reopen our schools as soon as possible. I mean like tomorrow. We need to avert a monumental tragedy, and opening schools across the nation is the only way to be sure we can avoid it.

Schools need to reopen now in order to save Lifetouch School Portraits from certain doom. I fear they will go out of business otherwise.

We need Lifetouch in our lives! Obviously not for good quality school pictures. They are incapable of that. We need them for the joy they spread through the sheer absurdity of the images of our children that they attempt to pass off as good quality school pictures.

Without the fall and spring comic relief that Lifetouch offers us as parents, raising our children would simply be overwhelming.

This matter is extremely urgent, as Lifetouch is already showing signs of desperation. They are clawing at the walls of their school-less prison, and they need our help. They have already gone as far as attempting to create a new “national day.”

Emails have been blasted to anyone who has ever had even the remotest contact with their little photography hobby shop, announcing the creation of “National School Picture Day” on September 10th.

In addition to some “nominate a great teacher” thing, they are asking us to upload our previous school pictures that they took, so we can all create a national yearbook.

National School Picture Day, established by Lifetouch, is an opportunity to relive our school pictures. It’s a chance to bond over the fads and faces that make school pictures such wonderful artifacts. And, this year, we’re creating the ultimate yearbook.

As an example of how ludicrous they are as a company, and why this type of comedy is so valuable to the mental health and stability of us parents, one must look no further than this email, keeping in mind they sent it to us on purpose.

The email contains three examples of the amazing school portraits they have captured over the years. One shows a boy in giant reading glasses, with awful lighting resulting in his glasses casting shadows on his face, and his head casting a shadow on the time-honored swirly gray school picture background behind him. We can see that he is, at least, smiling, even though his chin is being partially obscured by his enormous shirt collar, which is also casting a shadow.

Another is a photo of a little girl not even looking at the camera. Instead, she is closing her eyes and turning her head. This unfortunate situation is offset, however, by more bad lighting, as per standard.

Think about this. These are the pictures that Lifetouch is purposely showing us in an attempt to keep their business relevant!

“Hey America, check out these crappy pictures we took and charged these families money for! Please engage with us online so we can stay alive and continue to be your go-to crappy school photography company for years to come.”

I mean, that is just gold, people. That is the kind of comic relief that you can’t put a price on. Humor like that can pull you out of even the darkest parenting funk. We need Lifetouch to stay in business, even if the business they are in is entirely undefinable.

We need schools back open so there will be long lines of kids with food stuck to their faces to shuffle into the seats in front of the inadequate and poorly placed lights.

Open up our schools and help keep this national treasure alive and well. It’s not a question of whether we want school pictures. We need our school pictures!!

We need the good ones we take ourselves and send to relatives, and we need the ridiculous ones from Lifetouch to keep us all going as a people, united in humor.

Open schools tomorrow, save Lifetouch, and save our nation.

Yours in educational excellence through continued partnership,



Copyright © 2020 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!