Writing Switch: No laws when you’re writing Claus

Benjamin Welch and Sean Beckwith

BW: I always feel strange when people buy me birthday or Christmas presents, because now I’m obligated to reciprocate when I can barely remember your last name, let alone what time you were born. In the heyday of social media, staring at the Facebook notifications as the dozens of happy birthday notes poured in was the ego boost of the year. Now I seethe when people try to wring it out with those stupid donation requests or “thanks for the birthday wishes!” posts. Leave me alone.

Sean and I don’t exchange gifts because we’re grown-up men. If I want something, I just buy it. How hard is it to declare bankruptcy, anyway? Practically free money.

And if we did get shit for each other, it would look like the scene in “Donnie Brasco” where Al Pacino and Johnny Depp trade envelopes with equal amounts of cash, except we would do it with bottles of Michter’s.

I’ve noticed chicks get presents for their friends a lot. I think that would be really hard to do when your budget is however many cashback points you’ve accumulated on your Amazon card and items that can be sent with two-day shipping on Dec. 22. As you can probably surmise, my deadline for this was yesterday.

Anticipating that annual rare and high-dollar gift our rich parents, I mean Santa*, can bring us, this week we forgo wasting a forever stamp and make our pleas to jolly St. Nick in this space.

SB: Dear Santa,

Hi Mr. Kringle, let me remember if I know how to do this. I know I haven’t written in a long time. Is this the part of the evaluation where you ask me how I think I performed this year even though you know the answer? Between the options strongly agree, agree, neutral, disagree and strongly disagree, I’m taking agree to “Have I been nice?” and neutral to “Have I been naughty?” (Kids, the key is to avoid incriminating yourself.)

I’m not going to sit here and take your lie-detector test. All I want is something between coal and a new snowboard. (Bindings would be ideal, big guy.) However, in the off chance that your elves were doing whatever other creepy shit elves do when they’re not spying on children, here’s a more comprehensive list of potential presents:

1. I would like Ben to come up with better column ideas than “Roaring Fork Gift Swap” and, when pressed for an example, a better response than scrolling through Roaring Fork Swap naming items people are trying to get rid of.

2. A web shooter. Not the silly string ones that you give to kids. I want the one with the electric webs, web bombs, web bullets, impact web, etc. I can handle it; I’m an adult now, I use semicolons semi correctly. (I also would take one with silly string.)

3. How are you with credit card debt? I’m asking for my friend … Shane … Beckwitz. You don’t have to pay off the whole thing, just half.

4. If paying down Sea, err, Shane’s Discover tab isn’t doable, I would like the “Goldeneye” tech weapon. I’m not trying to create an electronic-less new world order or avenge a Cossack grudge. I merely want to erase a couple financial records and call it good. I’ll destroy it after my objective is complete like Batman did with the cellphone radar.

5. I would like some new socks and boxers. As I said earlier, I’m an adult now and I see the small luxury that is fresh boxers and warm socks after my old ones disintegrated. There will be no follow-up questions to that statement.

6. Lastly, how about a plane ticket to Chamonix? If you get me there, I can handle the rest. (Shout out Discover Card.)

I would’ve asked for peace on Earth but everybody asks for that. And I bet that’s especially true heading into an election year. I hope the reindeer are doing well and the elves are reviewing privacy law. I’ll leave out some mint-cream Oreos because I don’t bake and mint is Christmas-themed, right? I’m leaving the milk in the fridge, though, because only perverts and babies like warm milk. Best of luck on your big night.

Sean Beckwith

Aspen, Colorado

BW: Dear Santa,

I’m sorry we haven’t talked in 20 years. Soon after the last time I wrote, my mom lied and said you weren’t real. I was eating a plum. I cried that August day — for the first and last time in my life.

How’s the missus? Still a smokeshow? You’re a lucky man when you’re not, you know, peeping on sleeping kids. I had so many existential questions when I learned you were friends with Jesus, but also not Jesus, in Sunday school. You mind explaining that one to me? Where do you belong in the Father-Son-Holy Ghost thing? Theology is wild, man. No wonder we have two popes.

I feel weird and a little emasculated saying I’ve been a good boy this year, because it sounds like I’m either a dog or a dominatrix slave, and I’m really not into either. But hey, the only crimes I committed in 2019 would be classified as “petty” at best. Also I still haven’t puked in any Silver Queen Gondola buckets.

To begin, I would like a Baby Yoda. This is the cutest thing since the mall stampedes over Tickle Me Elmo, which mean advance copies sell for a fortune on eBay. An origins story on Yoda or Obi-Wan “Ben” Kenobi is the last hope I cling to for the “Star Wars” franchise, and it’s really a shame they blew it as a sidequest for Mando the Mandalorian. Can you imagine a kid so spoiled, screaming so loudly for a Muppet that its parents would do aNyThInG to find that toy? Um, sir, this is the Miner’s Building.

Do you ever feel complicit in the act of parental units manipulating their children to behave under the guise of withheld presents? I know it’s not your fault, but come on, how many kids actually get lumps of coal? The EPA has that so regulated not even Santa M.F. Claus can get it through customs.

Sorry my handwriting is so sloppy, I’m kind of durnk.

How about you just send me pants that actually fit? I can never buy clothes online that are the right size because I’ve been too terrified to step on a scale in three years. And we don’t have a Marshall’s with a fitting room in Aspen. I’d send you my waist size but my carpenter-grade tape measure doesn’t have that kind of flexibility.

I’ve been surfing through Roaring Fork Swap for some oddities you could load up on that sleigh since I don’t have a car. Please consider the “dopey dope stoner” palm tree ski coat, an 8×8 garage door with all the fixins, and a “gently used” mattress, whatever that means. Only vanilla positions? Afterward we can have a bonfire and alight my old bed in the street, maybe spitroast some Vixen or whatever you named that thing.

Anyhoo, hope you’re gucci. I’ve opened the flue so you shouldn’t have any trouble shimmying down my fireplace. I’ve hid one pot cookie in with the rest on the plate, good luck. I don’t have any milk but help yourself to a Svedka-diet or Modelo in my fridge. Please try to keep it down.

Love you,


*We’re pretty sure this column is not being read by children. Or by anyone, for that matter.