Merry Christmas

By Shamus Posted Wednesday Dec 25, 2013

Filed under: Personal 46 comments

Ah, Christmas. A time of family, food, and rapacious consumerism – three of my favorite things. I don’t know what sorts of things you do on Christmas, but here is a bit of mine:


It’s Christmas morning. Shamus and Rachel are in the kitchen. Rachel is using the laptop and Shamus is holding an extra-sharp KITCHEN KNIFE, weighing it in one hand like he’s about to throw it. Rachel is almost 16. She’s tall, assertive, and headstrong, but also wary of her trickster father.


Wanna play a game?


What daddy? (Sees knife.) NO! Go away!


Come on. It’ll be fun.


(Adamantly.) I don’t want to play any game that involves knife throwing!


(Still bobbing the knife up and down.) I’m not gonna throw it.

(Rachel raises one eyebrow at him, extremely skeptical.)

I’ll TOSS it, and you can catch it.




Come on. It’ll be fun.


I don’t want to be stabbed with a knife!


That’s why you should make sure to catch it.


I’m busy. Go away. (She turns back to the laptop.)


(Shamus quickly sets the knife down and picks up a magic marker.)



(Seeing the object flying at her out of the corner of her eye.) Gah! No! Ah!

(The magic marker has bounced harmlessly off and landed in her lap. Rachel waves her arms frantically, thinking she’s just been hit with a knife. She’s squealing and freaking out like she’s got a bug on her. When the fit is over she finds the magic marker.)

That was mean!


(Laughing.) Sorry.


(Getting angry.) I can’t believe you did that! I thought you threw a knife at me.


Yeah. That part was awesome.


(Kind of half-kidding, half-pissed.) You’re a horrible father!


Aw. I didn’t mean to upset you.

(Rachel glowers at him.)

Let me make it up to you.


(Guardedly.) How?


I’ll do the same prank to someone else while you watch.




Merry Christmas from the Youngs.


From The Archives:

46 thoughts on “Merry Christmas

  1. BitFever says:

    I look forward to being a father for exactly these kinds of moments.

    1. Rick says:

      This, and when they annoy you, you can remind them that you slept with their mother.

      1. Namfoodle says:

        The fact that their Mom and Dad have “relations” causes my teenagers no end of angst.

  2. KremlinLaptop says:

    That’s horrible parenting, Shamus! …That’s why you’re a pretty great dad.

    Merry Christmas. Happy holidays. Have a nice New Year. Etc.

  3. anaphysik says:

    “You are psychotic!” *doubles over laughing*

  4. Cybron says:

    Schadenfreude, the best Christmas present.

    Merry Christmas!

  5. Winfield says:

    Bravo. Next step is to help her pull off the same prank while YOU watch.

    Merry Christmas, Youngs.

  6. Bubble181 says:

    Merry Christmas to you and yours, and to all other Twenty Sided readers out there :-)

  7. shpelley says:

    Best father world.

  8. BlackFox says:

    I will forevermore be tempted to do this to everyone I know.

    1. slipshod says:


      Merry Christmas, all! Someone send snow my way… doesn’t feel quite right if I can’t see any outside my window.

      1. Dave B. says:

        Here, you can have all of mine. Merry Christmas!

  9. neolith says:


    Merry Christmas to all of you!

  10. Cinebeast says:

    Man, if my dad pulled a stunt like that I’d freak too. Still, thanks for sharing, Shamus, Knife Master.

    For this Christmas I finished the first draft of my novel and shared it with the family. Not off to a good start: my little sister, who’s in the age range I intended for the book, has already told me she can barely understand half the words I’ve written — and she’s on the first page.

    So . . . Merry Christmas, I guess. :p

  11. ? says:

    And now I’m getting ads for fancy knives on your site. It’s a Christmas miracle!

  12. Ravens Cry says:

    Heh, that’s great. I doubt I’d appreciate it much, but, as a bystander, I can appreciate it. I hope if I ever reproduce, I am that awesome.
    Here’s all the best to you and yours, Shamus. Maybe this year we’ll get another Shogun II post!

  13. Chris says:

    Merry Christmas, this is what I managed to type after laughing. Enjoy the time with family. Happy holidays to everybody else as well.

  14. MOM says:

    You make me so proud.

  15. Mephane says:

    I’d be truly terrified in Rachel’s position, not because I’d assume you’d actually attempt something that might hurt, but because harmless fun can quickly becomes serious danger by mere accident. In fact I’d leave the very room if the person in question does not put the knife away while joking around.

    Actually, this is the one deep fear that I always carry around – death by physical object sticking into myself. I have little fear of dying from falling down a great height, being run down by a car, being poisoned or sick. But the very thought of a knife… gah, gotta stop even thinking about it.

    Oh I forgot, there was something more important. Ah yes, I remember: Merry Christmas! :D

    1. Decius says:

      I’ll second that- I’ve had PTSD triggered by someone simply moving a knife in a emphatic manner from across the room. Pulling this kind of prank on me might be fatal if I freak out on the prankster too much.

    2. Rutskarn says:

      Yes, to all pranksters out there: remember that it is ABSOLUTELY VITAL that you know your target well. In extreme cases you really can run up against PTSD, but on a broader scale some people just have different wiring.

      Fun’s fun, but if you do something and somebody doesn’t get ANY enjoyment out of it, it wasn’t their fault for not having a sense of humor. It was your fault, plain and simple, and you should have done better.

      (This should go without saying, but I’m presuming that after sixteen years Shamus knew his daughter well enough that this was harmless fun.)

      1. Shamus says:

        Yeah. No way I would play this kind of thing with a kid I didn’t know.

        And not to ruin the punchline, but we didn’t actually go prank anyone else. My wife Heather wouldn’t find it funny, Esther (13) would find it too alarming, and Issac (12) might be tempted to imitate.

        So Rutskarn sums it up pretty well: Know your audience.

        1. Benjamin Hilton says:

          I was actually picturing this ending badly, with your daughter running through the house yelling:


          That would have ended poorly for all parties.

          1. Mechaninja says:

            That … is actually standard operating procedure in our family, and typically ends in some kind of tomfoolery, or possibly shenanigans.

            And in Shamus’ place, I’d have done it to my wife. She would not have been fooled in the first place, and my daughter would have gotten to opportunity to laugh at me for failing.

        2. Tizzy says:

          … Which brings me to the line that seems to be missing from this dialogue:

          “I can’t believe you would think that your own father would throw a knife at you.”

          1. Daemian Lucifer says:

            Well of course that thing isnt there.Her father is a gamer,of course he would throw a knife at his daughter.

        3. Unbeliever says:

          Seriously, know your audience. Because if my parent had done that to me, they would NEVER have been forgiven…

      2. Ithilanor says:

        “Fun's fun, but if you do something and somebody doesn't get ANY enjoyment out of it, it wasn't their fault for not having a sense of humor. It was your fault, plain and simple, and you should have done better.”

        I wish some of the people in my life took this to heart; I do not like being on the receiving end of pranks or jokes. I’m kind of like Mephane; I have a lot of fear of danger cropping up in playful & casual situations.

    3. Lord Nyax says:

      I’m the same way. I don’t mind the thought of being hung, drowning, being poisoned, or freezing to death too much…but physical objects sticking into me…no no no no no. I hate it when people play with knives. I used to have nightmares as a child about pencils…

      Actually if I want to play armchair psychiatrist I could try to trace it back to the fact that my mother (who teaches first grade) wouldn’t let my sharpen my pencil on both ends (which seemed like a cool thing to do for a 7 year old) because someone might bump me from behind while I’m writing and I might stab myself in the…you know, I’m not going to finish that sentence. I’ve got the creeps just remembering it.

      Though really if it can be traced to anyting it’s far likely related to the time when I was about 6 or so and I accidently jammed a wooden skewer into the inside of my jaw pretty deep.

      I’m going to go lie down for a little bit.

      1. newdarkcloud says:

        Perhaps I’m just weird, but I always have a minor panic attack whenever I hold either something dangerous like a knife or something delicate like a baby.

        I always think, “What if my clumsy ass drops this item? It could cause some serious damage!”

        I know the odds of it are small, but I can’t help but think it. Every. single. time.

        1. syal says:

          I have the same problem. But I’m also clumsy enough to lose my balance while standing still, so I think it’s entirely justified.

  16. Benjamin Hilton says:

    HaHa, oh man that was a great story…… for some reason for me the funniest part wasn’t the ending, it was “That’s why you should make sure to catch it”

    Also Merry Christmas Young’s and readers!

  17. The Rocketeer says:

    I guess if we don’t see a post for a while, we know it’s because Mrs. Young has grounded Shamus.

  18. Epopisces says:

    I love family. I love being the oldest of three–the pranks are amazing. Did I say pranks? I meant perks.

    Merry Christmas to you Shamus, and my fellows within your readership!

  19. Lupus_Amens says:

    Thank you shamus,
    For the well wishings AND the lovely story.
    Merry Christmas to you and everybody of the wonderful people on this site.

  20. Cuthalion says:

    Merry Christmas, Young family!

  21. Dudefish says:

    Is it ironic that the shape of your post resembles a Christmas tree? The part where the discussion of the game is occurring, I mean. From “NO!” to “Sorry.”

    1. Cuthalion says:

      Probably not ironic, but definitely fitting, and I like it.

  22. Tychoxi says:

    Oh you lovable rogue, you.

  23. Mersadeon says:

    I hope that one day, I can be a father like that. Seriously, Shamus, from all I read here, you are such a good person in my book.

    And now stop making me want to be a father, I cannot afford that right now! :P

  24. Nin says:

    Thanks for the good laugh, Shamus. I like it when everyone at the coffee shop stares at me while I wipe tears from my eyes.

    Merry Christmas!

  25. MichaelG says:

    Ah, teasing girls…. One of the great pleasures in life for a guy (I have two sisters.)

  26. Ofermod says:

    This is pure genius. Merry Christmas, and Random Number God bless us, every one!

  27. Dreadjaws says:

    Absolute brilliance. I want to be a dad to do the exact same thing. Now, where do you get one of those “children” things, ebay?

    1. Unbeliever says:

      Now that Christmas is over, you can probably get one cheap…

      1. Paul Spooner says:

        Just after Christmas my sister-in-law asked if we would sell her one of our daughters. My wife set the price at $1G but I’m guessing she could be talked down a couple of orders of magnitude for the right customer.

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