Wednesday, December 30, 2020

2020 - A Craptastic Year in Review

Let’s take a look back at this dumpster fire of a year, shall we?


Even before the whole coronavirus mess started, the year was already in a complete shambles. Murder hornets had arrived in the U.S. from Asia and the entire continent of Australia was on fire. Iran declared war on two of our military bases and then shot down a commercial airliner, and the U.S. House of Representatives attempted to impeach the president. When that failed, they impeached the murder hornets instead. All of that was overshadowed, of course, by the tragic news that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle were quitting the royal family. Iran then declared war on the royal family and released murder hornets in a London scone factory to show they were serious.


We all started hearing more about something called COVID-19 that either gave you the sniffles or killed you instantly. Then things really got bad when a man named Bad Bunny in a bedazzled silver trench coat and a white napkin on his head actually performed alongside real singers at the Super Bowl halftime show. NASA astronaut Christina Koch returned to Earth after a record 328 days in space, saw the Super Bowl halftime show, and immediately returned to the international space station. Shortly afterward, a movie called "Parasite" swept the Oscars, further validating Christina’s decision.


In a monetary signal of what was to come, the Dow Jones Industrial Average suffered its worst single-day point drop ever of over 2000 points. Americans responded by investing heavily in toilet paper. The WHO (both the band, and the World Health Organization) declared the coronavirus outbreak a pandemic after hearing the news that Tom Hanks and his wife Rita Wilson tested positive in Australia. They also tested positive for third-degree burns since the entire continent was still on fire. The NBA suspended its season, announcing in a statement, “We’ll be damned if we’re going to play basketball while one of our nation’s most cherished actors is sick AND on fire.”

The Dow fell another 2,300 point after the U.S. released the Netflix documentary, Tiger King. All remaining sports canceled their seasons, including Broadway shows, but the most telling sign of how bad things had become was the closure of Mount Everest, leading many people to say, “Huh?”

The Dow set another single-day point drop record at 2997 after the news that bars in New York were closing. Apparently, all the stock traders just ran out of the building to check if that was really true.

School stopped happening at school and began happening, rather poorly, in our living rooms.


The U.S. government, in an attempt to make everyone feel better about living room school, sent us all a bunch of money. Every single penny was spent purchasing toilet paper. Grocery store bag boys were revered as being brave, “essential workers,” leading most police, fire, and medical professionals to say, “Huh?”

The entire world began to learn how to use Zoom video conferencing. No one has figured out the mute button as of yet.


George Floyd died while being restrained by Minneapolis police officers, sparking worldwide protests against anti-black racism, police, and/or police procedures. Sadly, massive rioting, looting, and arson followed, leading the legitimate protesters to probably ironically wish there were more police around.


Toilet paper sales skyrocketed as reports came in that North Korea had cut off communication with South Korea after destroying the Inter-Korean Liaison Office. South Korea responded by saying, “Oh, wow. No kidding? We didn’t even know we still had that office. OK, best of luck, guys.”

Living room school mercifully ended for the summer.


In the clearest sign of the rapidly approaching apocalypse, rapper Kanye West announced his candidacy in the 2020 presidential election. Americans responded by continuing to hoard toilet paper.

Appalled by Kanye’s announcement, or by the price of his tennis shoes, God began earthquake, hurricane, and fire season. Rightfully so, Los Angeles was the first area targeted.

America finally got some good news as we learned that beloved Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg reached a net worth exceeding $100 billion, becoming only the third centibillionaire, alongside Jeff Bezos and Bill Gates. We also learned that between them, those three men own 100% of the toilet paper manufacturing businesses worldwide, so it all started to make sense.

A rare thunderstorm from remnants of Tropical Storm Fausto ignited hundreds of wildfires in California in a record number of lightning strikes. This was, thankfully, coupled with a record-breaking heat wave. As most of California burned and the rest of the state choked on the smoke, we got some more good news; Apple Inc. became the first U.S. company to be valued at over $2 trillion. And they did it without owning any toilet paper manufacturing!

Not to be upstaged, shortly after the Apple announcement, Jeff Bezos became the first person in history to have a net worth exceeding $200 billion, spurred, no doubt, by toilet paper sales. Ever the comedian, Mr. Bezos was quoted as saying, “With toilet paper, I make money on both ends.”

With a second heat wave, California set a new record for the area of land destroyed by wildfires. Oregon, not wanting California to have all the fun, had over 10% of the state’s population evacuate their homes due to their own wildfires. Meanwhile, hurricane Sally brought catastrophic flooding to the southern US after making landfall, prompting Californians and Oregonians to unanimously wish they had hurricanes for the first time ever. Rioting continued in Portland, Oregon, presumably because it was the one part of the state not on fire.


President Trump tested positive for COVID-19 and entered quarantine, where he tweeted, “This disease is great. It’s huge. Everyone is talking about it. It’s going to be big. We’re excited about it. Everyone is talking about it. It’s going to be huge.”

Rumors flew that Halloween would be canceled due to the pandemic, and/or a massive shortage of toilet paper for mummy costumes. Children across the United States logged into their parents’ Amazon accounts and bought their own candy. As a result, Jeff Bezos became the first quazadrillionaire.

With hair salons still shut down, and the resulting lack of tax revenue from their historically honest and accurate tip reporting, the national debt surpassed $27 trillion for the first time. Apple was quoted in an official statement as saying, “Sorry, we really can’t help. We only have $2 trillion. That’s not going to cover it. Did we mention we were worth $2 trillion? Yeah, it’s no big deal.” Jeff Bezos was heard clearing his throat in the background.

Meanwhile, Pizza Hut filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection after closing 163 restaurants; a move that baffled economists since marijuana is legal in so many states now. On the marijuana front, protesters in Portland, Oregon, knocked over a huge statue of Abraham Lincoln, apparently forgetting why they had been protesting since May.

In yet another clear sign of the looming apocalypse, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the 2020 World Series, their first in 32 years. While Dodger fans blindly celebrated, the rest of us fully understood that this “season” was a total joke and the “World Series” didn’t actually count, but whatever.

To round out the month of October, as Americans celebrated a sterile and boring Halloween with Amazon candy, Typhoon Goni made landfall in the Philippines, becoming the strongest landfalling tropical cyclone in history, prompting the world to ask, “What the hell is the difference between a hurricane, a typhoon, and a cyclone?”


In response to five months of continuous Portland rioting, Oregon naturally became the first state to decriminalize possession of small amounts of narcotics, including heroin, cocaine, and LSD. In an effort to revitalize Pizza Huts around the nation, voters in Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, Mississippi, and South Dakota voted to legalize marijuana.

The world waited on the edge of their seats as Edith Montgomery, the eighty-six-year-old Nevada state election clerk, counted the entire state’s presidential ballots by hand at her dimly-lit card table. The process was further slowed by her breaks for Ensure and regular naps. Many, many naps later, by both Edith and the two presidential candidates, the election was decided for Joe Biden. President Trump immediately tweeted, “This disease is great. It’s huge. Everyone is talking about it. It’s going to be big. We’re excited about it. Everyone is talking about it. It’s going to be huge.”

With the election chaos behind us, we were free to focus on the really important story that Elon Musk overtook Bill Gates to become the second richest person in the world, with a net worth of $127.9 billion, behind only Jeff Bezos. Bezos immediately put out a statement saying, “Why are we even focusing on these guys? I’m worth more than both of them combined, pretty much. The only person I’m not richer than is Apple!”

Spurred by the good news on the Musk/Gates/Bezos front, the Dow increased by 500 points to surpass 30,000 for the first time, so I guess all the record-breaking losses weren’t really that big a deal after all???


Since the COVID vaccine was taking too long, the House of Representatives instead passed a bill, known as the Marijuana Opportunity Reinvestment and Expungement Act, to decriminalize recreational cannabis at the federal level. On an unrelated note, every statue of anyone has finally been knocked down.

Days later, Russia began mass vaccination against COVID-19 with the Sputnik V candidate. We are not making that name up. The vaccinations went ahead despite having only been tested on one monkey, which later died. The world is not hopeful for Russia, since the CDC confirmed that Sputnik V is literally just a syringe full of vodka.

It took all year, but 2020 didn’t end without COVID cases finally being reported in Antarctica, the last continent to report infections. They are currently awaiting Sputnik V, but plan to drink it.

And against all odds, the year of 2020 – a four-digit number that has become synonymous with anything that is going poorly – is ending on a good note. Perhaps in a move to shore up worldwide morale, Nepal and China have finally officially agreed on Mount Everest's actual height, which is 8,848.86 meters. (58,944 feet, 3 inches). Jeff Bezos immediately purchased it. It remains unclear if it has reopened to hikers yet.


Good riddance to 2020. Let’s all raise a cold glass of Sputnik V, and welcome in 2021. Cheers!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


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Wednesday, December 23, 2020

The 2020 Do-It-Yourself Christmas Letter

Much like your sense of self-worth and your will to put on real pants, you’ve also completely lost your desire to write a Christmas letter this year. Hey, don’t beat yourself up. This is 2020! Who could blame you?

But now it’s two days ‘til Christmas and you’re kicking yourself about it while you sit motionless in your couch divot in the same pair of pajama pants you’ve been wearing since Halloween. There’s no way you can get a coherent letter put together in time now.

Well, once again, ol’ Smidgey Claus has got you covered. I have created the 2020 DIY Christmas Letter Grid. Just pick one item from each column in order to string together a sentence that best fits your 2020 experience. Repeat as needed to fully recap your dumpster fire of a year.

Now, get to it. There’s no time to lose.








We lost

our jobs


the election.

We hoarded



the hurricanes.

We sheltered with

toilet paper


the wildfires.

We cried about

Tiger King

in the middle of

the couch.

We prayed for

at least 20 pounds


the lockdown.

We binged

junk food

prior to

the DOW crash.

We gained

the vaccine


the rioting.

We bought

personal hygiene



We worried about



social distancing.

We abandoned

essential workers


distance learning.

We lived without

Amazon Prime


a Zoom meeting.

There you go. Now add a “Merry Christmas,” sign, and send. You’re all set.

Don’t say I never did anything for you! Now hunker down in your couch divot and let’s pray for 2021 to get here ASAP.

Merry Christmas, y’all!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


Your new favorite T-shirt is at SmidgeTees

Your new favorite book is from SmidgeBooks

Your new favorite humor columnist is on Facebook Just a Smidge

Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Party Like it's 2020

‘Tis the season to be jolly, but that is proving a little harder this year, because 2020 ‘tis not the year of the Christmas party, or any other party, for that matter, except perhaps the communist party, because commies are the worst, and so is 2020.

Chances are, your annual Christmas get-togethers have been torpedoed by COVID, just like your job, your children’s education, your favorite sports, your waistline, and your sanity. Well, that doesn’t mean the fun has to stop! It just means it’s going to be a little different this year.

Here’s how to handle the cancellation of each type of Christmas party.

1) The Annual Extended Family Christmas Party

Look, we’re not going to lie to each other, here. You’re sad about this one, and also a little happy about this one. Yes, you will miss the good food and the five to ten people you were looking forward to seeing, but you will not miss Uncle Eddie cornering you for half an hour to talk about his enlarged prostate. Schedule some cocktail hour Zoom calls with the select few and drink a toast to Aunt Edna’s new hip.


2) The Neighborhood Christmas Party

Depending on your neighbors, you may or may not have been looking forward to this one. Never fear, there is good news here for both sides. Schedule a night (weather permitting) for everyone to put some lawn chairs out on their own driveways and huddle around the portable fire pit or barbecue. If you actually like your neighbors, you can then wander down the sidewalks and visit with them from an appropriate social distance. If you weren’t too thrilled about the party in the first place, you can stay on your own driveway near your own fire, pound the eggnog, and politely request that all passersby stay safely on the sidewalk. If they don’t comply, repel them with flaming marshmallows. Ho ho ho.


3) The Casual Social Acquaintance Christmas Party

You got put on the guest list for this one years ago when a friend of a friend suggested adding you, and you’ve been stuck reluctantly going to this party full of randoms ever since. Reply to the cancelation notice with “regret” while casually mentioning that you converted to Islam during your recent time in prison, and happily kiss this one goodbye.


4) Your Company Holiday Party

This is a blessing for everyone involved. Your spouse won’t have to endure the small talk hell that comes with this dreaded event, and it’s very hard for you to get fired because you had one too many spiced rums and peed in the potted plant at home. As long as the holiday bonus check still finds its way to you, this is a win all the way around. Just remember, when you get drunk at your own house, you won’t have access to the full-size office copier, so you’ll have to take pictures of your butt with your phone and get them to your coworkers via text. Cheers!


5) Your Spouse’s Company Holiday Party

Again, this cancellation is a huge blessing. Your spouse won’t have to fret all night about your inevitable embarrassing behavior, and you won’t have to get drunk with all the other uncomfortable spouses who don’t want to be there. Just keep your fingers crossed for that holiday bonus, fire up Netflix, and sip some eggnog on the couch with your honey. And for this one, once the whiskey you put in that nog kicks in, you can take pictures of your butt with your phone and text them to your spouse.


6) Your Small Christmas Party with Your Group of Good Friends

This one is not canceled. These are the people you’ve been hanging out with this whole time. Light the yule log and get your jolly on. Merry Christmas, y’all!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


Your new favorite T-shirt is at SmidgeTees

Your new favorite book is from SmidgeBooks

Your new favorite humor columnist is on Facebook Just a Smidge

Wednesday, December 9, 2020

A Slightly Modified Christmas

We all know that 2020 has been a little funky, both in terms of COVID completely turning our lives upside down and also in terms of how your house smells since your kids have been going to school from your living room for nine months.

Well, Christmas 2020 isn’t going to be any less funky, so buckle up, buckaroos. We’re about to have Christmas COVID style. Here’s a short rundown on how it’s going to work this year.

For starters, many of you have been putting off your family Christmas pictures due to the obvious outbreak of COVID hair. You and your spouse are almost unrecognizable to each other at this point, and your children look like the end result of a drunken hookup between Cousin It and a yeti.

You’re going to need to bite the bullet and just do it. That cutesy holiday snapshot of your family isn’t going to get any prettier, and chances are, one of your kids is pretty good with Photoshop, so there’s some hope.

Christmas cookies are going to need to be contactless this year. You can still attempt to bake tasty treats for your friends and neighbors, but it will be challenging to say the least. Since we apparently know nothing about how COVID works, we must assume that it can survive 350 degrees for 20 minutes. That means you cannot come within six feet of any of the ingredients without being in a full hazmat suit.

Extra-long mixing spoons aside, your shopping cart was probably within six feet of you, another shopper, or a clerk during the ingredient purchasing process, so you’re really finished before you even started.

Best to just bake all the treats you would have normally made as gifts, then eat them all yourself with an eggnog chaser in front of a Hallmark Christmas movie marathon.

Santa will still be at the mall, but he will be inside a large plastic bubble, so your kids won’t get to sit on his lap. Also, the mall will be closed, so the best we can do is have you drive by with the kids and wave to him through the glass doors while he’s in his plastic bubble. Also, the glass doors will be covered with plywood to prevent looting.

Santa’s North Pole workshop is still open, being deemed an essential service, however the elves now have to work in cohorts of ten, on a rotating hybrid schedule to be able to maintain a six-elf-length spacing around the work benches. If one elf tests positive for COVID, the entire cohort, and any cohorts working in an adjacent workshop area, will need to quarantine until 2021. This has the potential to affect toy production, but the good news is Amazon seems to have ramped up to fill the gaps. We should be OK.

Speaking of elves, the Elves on the Shelves are no longer allowed to return to the North Pole each night, or at all, actually, due to the cohort quarantine shelter-in-place lockdown distance learning travel restriction slow the spread flatten the curve rules. This means they will now stay in your house 24/7, which presents a problem. Homesick elves will drink heavily to mask the pain, and a drunk elf is an unpredictable elf. Hide the peppermint schnapps and the spiced rum or you will be in for some very odd and distasteful elf pranks. Let’s just say you won’t be able to trust any of the chocolates in that See’s Candy sampler, if you know what I mean.

Since the reindeer naturally quarantine in a cohort of nine, they will be ready to go on Christmas Eve. Nothing drastic has changed about Santa’s delivery method this year since he is the original social distancer. He will enter and exit your home as usual, but your Santa treats will obviously need to be modified. In lieu of a plate of cookies and a glass of milk this year, you need to leave him an unopened school lunch milk and a sealed snack-size bag of Famous Amos chocolate chip cookies, both floating in a bucket of hand sanitizer.

Speaking of hand sanitizer, that brings up the one change in Santa’s gift-giving procedures. Naturally, Santa will social distance, but even with the fur-lined winter gloves, Santa is unable to deliver your gifts in a truly contactless manner. As such, all your presents will be completely covered in hand sanitizer this year. Also, all your presents ARE hand sanitizer.

Of course, all Christmas Eve caroling will need to be done via Zoom this year. This could present a never-before-seen issue for you and your Charles Dickens-clad choir group. People on Zoom will now be able to virtually do what they always wanted to physically do in the past, but were too polite – shut the door on you. Expect a lot of black screens and audio connection “problems.” Sorry, and best of luck to you crazy kids!

And lastly, popcorn strings will not be strung on the Christmas tree this year. All homemade popcorn strings have been deemed essential emergency supplies by the federal government and therefore cannot be wasted on the tree. They will instead need to be stored in the bathroom to be used as a last alternative in the event of a catastrophic nationwide holiday toilet paper shortage.

Good luck with that, and happy holidays!

See you soon,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


Your new favorite T-shirt is at SmidgeTees

Your new favorite book is from SmidgeBooks

Your new favorite humor columnist is on Facebook Just a Smidge

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

A Fourth Open Letter to the School District

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

I am writing to make you aware of several issues.

For starters, I want to remind you that we are on day 194 of school at my house. I gotta tell you, I am starting to get a little annoyed at the blatant ignoring of my repeated requests to get the custodians in here to clean up this mess. My classroom has not been serviced even once in this entire 194-day semester.

You claim to be holding school at my house in the interest of public health, but let me tell you, there is nothing healthy about this pigsty of a living room after three teenage boys have been camped in here on Zoom calls for six and a half months. We’re wading through a sea of empty Cheetos bags and goldfish cracker dust and the whole place smells like someone farted on an old tennis shoe. I’m begging you, please get the custodians in here ASAP.

Besides being badly in need of a tidal wave and an industrial-size Febreze grenade, I also need some IT support. But I’m a little skeptical about your ability to actually help. I say that because on the magical two days a week that school is not at my house now, the boys return home from campus (where I assume you are hoarding the custodial staff) with stories of just playing games on their phones in class because the WiFi was down.

I must say, if you are going to require the use of computers that need WiFi when the kids are in an actual classroom with their actual teacher, maybe priority one from the IT department should be WiFi that works all the time. Just a thought, from a dad that also can’t understand why the teacher defaults to phone games instead of books…

Anyway, I need the IT department to look at Son Number Two’s Chromebook. He tried to log in this morning and had a little trouble typing anything the computer would accept. It seems that overnight his keyboard took a little vacation from convenient functionality.

Now, when you type the ‘e’ key, it writes ‘qrwetiuOP’, and the ‘r’ key gives you ‘<.rii.>’, both of which are entirely unhelpful when trying to spell words in English. The ‘y’ key just shuts the computer off.

Not optimal.

As the IT manager at this homeschool, I find myself slightly out of my depth with this problem, and could really use some more professional help. Maybe one of your IT guys could log onto a remote desktop help session with me? I assume he’ll need to drive over to a Starbucks to use their WiFi since yours never works…

Let me know what you can do for us, and please keep us informed about when you think real school might start back up so our kids can begin to learn things again.

They’re 194 days dumber and counting, and the phone games and qrwetiuOP<.rii.> aren’t helping a bit.

Yours in educational excellence through continued partnership,



Copyright © 2020 Marc Schmatjen


Your new favorite T-shirt is at SmidgeTees

Your new favorite book is from SmidgeBooks

Your new favorite humor columnist is on Facebook Just a Smidge