santa's rota or the downfall of the zero-hour contract by Cory Haas

Despite the nightstand clock reading 04:15 and the loud snoring coming from the warm body next to him, Santa can’t help but enjoy the glowing sun streaming in through the little wooden hut’s window. It’s the middle of June and the sun is no longer setting in the North Pole. Midnight sun they call it. Whoever thought of that was brilliant, chuckled the old man with the white beard, to himself. Soon enough the night would slowly come back and thus would start the long and tedious preparations towards the Christmas holidays. He’s not going to worry about that today though. The last five months have been filled with such gratifying moments that the thought of looking ahead is terrifying. Instead, he’s tried focusing on the little things he can do with his time off. And whatever the case may be, he’ll sign the same Zero Hour contract he’s gotten every year for the past 100. It’s a matter of routine now, he’ll know what to do when the times comes. 

No need to think about December. Today is going to be a good day, one of productivity and positivity. First off, a short jaunt to the bathroom to pee. The bladder is a young man’s game he thinks to himself while struggling to get rid of that burning sensation from below. As he waits for the last drops to make their way out, he awkwardly grabs the toothbrush and paste from the holder next to the sink. The toothpaste tube is empty. Literally. It has been squeezed flat. Despite the little shudder of irritation, Santa knows not to let this sensation overtake him. Productivity and positivity. Morphing into another awkward shape, he opens the drawer searching blindly for a new tube. Candy Cane flavour. No. Eggnog flavour. No. Turkey dinner flavour. No. No. No. He shouldn’t have thought about Christmas this morning. Once he’s definite about the hose being empty, he leaps towards the kitchen to make coffee. 

Inside the cupboard is rows upon rows of ground up coffee beans bags. They are all lined up in an army parade configuration, the symmetry is striking, the organization impeccable. This impressive display of structure is clouded over by the fact that these coffee beans are all of the ‘Christmas Blend’ variety, putting a further damper on today’s beginnings. A few moments later, careful as not to disturb the coffee soldiers, Santa locates a rogue bag at the back. It is a simple, organic, some might say boring, Italian Roast, but this morning it will more than do the trick.

After splashing an ounce of oat’s milk in the morning elixir, the first sip feels divine, restoring balance on this sunny day. Santa chooses to settle in at the desk. The sound of the new MacBook turning on, a Christmas gift, from himself, remains a highlight every day. His work email is relatively empty. A few early requests from kids who think they can get ahead of the curve. Some junk. But one email immediately pops out at him. It’s a unbelievable deal from Jack’s Flight Club. The contents of which seems impossible. He clicks on the link. The airlines have fucked up, the deal is that good.

Santa and the missus have not had a lot of chance to travel for leisure. Obviously, they travel for business two days a year, but the layovers are so quick, sometimes under a minute, that there is no real opportunity to enjoy the locale or the people. Something happened at that moment, which if you’d ask him, he wouldn’t be able to recall. Excitement, joy, thrill, happiness, danger, revenge perhaps? Not but a minute later, a new email. Ping. 


It was booked. At the bottom of the email, a link to ‘add to calendar’. MacBooks really have it all. After this elation, it’s time to take a shower. His body tingling at the prospect of having some real time off. I deserve this holiday he thinks to himself as he washes out his hair with the new all salt and pepper Head & Shoulders. The guilt tries to creep in. For someone who works once a year to take a holiday is a slap to the face to all those other people who work round the calendar. He lets the image slip away. He seldom sees the rest of the world, careful not to spend the surprisingly little money he makes on frivolous things. But this was really a deal he could not pass upon, no person in their right mind would.

The rest of the day is similar to the other 363 a year he has off. Cleaning, tidying, conversations with the neighbours, a walk with Mrs. Claus, and some reading. Except today’s read is not the latest thriller to indulge in but a travel guide to start thinking about his next great destination. A full week of holidays. How exciting.


The next day, after his morning routine, slightly out of order since he started with a run, then a shower, coffee and finally, only now, the email check, the ping is striking. A new email.


Timing has never been a strong suit for Santa and this new email, which he should have seen coming, has put him in a difficult position.

‘Hi Santa,

Hope you’re well. Obviously nothing new here, we’ve put you on the rota, 24th and 25th, just need you to confirm so we can sign off on it. Details are the same. 3% increase this year and a new sled being put into commission too, you’ll be the first to use it. It’s a treat!

Talk soon,


Suddenly he’s caught between his personality and his celebrity. He doesn’t want to let people down, obviously, but it’s June, they’ll surely be able to find someone else, or even better yet, just shift the Christmas dates by a few weeks. This deal includes checked luggage and seat selection, come on!


‘Hi Mark,

Hope you’re well too. Unfortunately, I’m not available this year. I’ve attached the rota with an X next to the dates, I can’t work. All the dates really, since there are only two. 



Santa thought that would be the last of it. After all, he’s really the big man on campus, the one everyone waits for, so they should be able to work around this with him. It’s also worth mentioning that legally this type of contract doesn’t engage him to do anything, it also doesn’t require human resources to hire Santa. Win-win. It’s not the new sled that’s gonna to make him double guess this all-inclusive holiday. Ping.


Hi Santa,

Thanks for your email. 

Okay. This is delicate. Do you have a doctor’s appointment? Is there a reason why you’re not available? I know you’re not obligated to work, but as you know, the marketing department shapes its campaign around you, and you know how it is, all of this starts months in advance now. They’ve already printed the Coke bottles.

Hope you can reconsider or re-schedule, the office can put in some calls to help you out.



The guilt Santa felt after booking his holiday returns in waves. His conscience takes him down various roads of excuses and scenarios. Two lists, CHRISTMAS +/- – CABO +/-, materialize in front of him. After hours of quiet deliberation, where he ended up eating all but one of the cookies left over from last year’s work, his resolve is still murky.


Hi Mark,

Hope you’re still well. Thank you for your support and for your determination in having the office put in a few calls. I know this is not ideal but I am just not going to be available. I will be around January 3rd onwards, any chance we can push back?

Let me know,


Santa tried to recall how the last staff Christmas party went, which ironically was held in March. Did he say something mean to anyone from management? Could they hold it against him? Is there any real action they could take against him? Ping.


‘Hi Santa,

Thanks again for the email.

Look, think of the children.



PS: No, we can’t push back.’

Wow. That was a rather short email. The HR team must be pissed off. They really aren’t putting the effort Santa wished for in finding a solution or pushing back Christmas this year.


‘Hi Mark,

Hope you’re well. I know this is awkward, but there’s no reason to become short with me. I am sorry you can’t work around these dates. If it helps, I can suggest a friend of mine who may be able to help us out. He does children’s parties…superheroes that kind of thing. His name is Richey. His email is  

Hope this helps.



When Santa told Mrs. Claus about the idea, she was discouraged by the fact that he had to do management’s job. Despite this unfortunate email exchange, Mr & Mrs. Claus went for lunch. Ping.

“Re: re: re: re: re: re: re: AVAILABILITY REQUEST – SANTA CLAUS – CHRISTMAS 2019”

Hi Santa,




By September, the email chain had hardly been sustained. A few meagre attempts to get Santa to reconsider but they all ended with a hint of sadness knowing that they would fail no matter what they offered him.

By October, Santa had run into to some of his colleagues who work in the workshop. They all seemed happy for him. They were going to miss him while the new replacement learned the ropes of delivering gifts across the world in under 48 hours (allowing for time difference).

By November, Santa still ran into his face wherever Christmas was advertised. He heard through the grapevine that management made the decision that changing something that’s worked so well for the past century wasn’t worth the hassle. Deep down, he wished they hoped that he would return next year. He hoped that they would look pass this inconsistency and send him availability for 2020.

In December, three weeks away from the big dates, he got a new email. Ping.

“Re: Advice”

cc: HR

‘Hi Santa,

Hope you’re well. My name is Pete, I’ll be taking over this year. I have experience in covering important holidays. I have worked on the Tooth Fairy shift (she says hi by the way) and sometimes help out during Easter. It is my understanding that I should be especially furtive this year while delivering the presents (something about keeping you the face of the holiday), any advice would be appreciated. I’ve CC’d HR, in case you wanted to go through them.

Talk soon,



Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house

Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care,

In hopes that St Nicholas soon would be there.


He would not. He’s off to Cabo. Pete will be though and it will be fine.

the real vagina monologues or the odyssey of directing 'horny potter and the milf-rider of ass-kaban' by Cory Haas

I have weird goals in life. I want to become David Copperfield, master illusionist. I want to see if I can drop dead on precisely my 100th birthday. I want to be a bad guy in a James Bond movie. I want to create a city where the sidewalks are trampolines and finally, I want to direct a porno. That’s right folks, I want to direct the shit out of a pornographic movie; the same way that I direct theatre. 

It would all start off easily enough. I am not looking for a producer, there’s a lot of those. There’s thousands of men..and women (let’s not discriminate) who need to release energy in front of the old spank tube, so there’s lots of money being thrown around for it. I have no doubt that I can make it happen, so that’s not where the journey would start for me. No, the core of any good project stems from the material. So what famous movie series could I lampoon with penis, vagina and bumholes? Hmm? Harry Potter, of course. Except, immediately, the title becomes ‘Horny Potter’. 

Now, I won’t lie to you by saying that my ambition isn’t strong enough to take on the whole series, but you never sign on for seven films before you even make the first one. Unless, you’re ANY Marvel comic and you can see where that took us… So for this reason alone, it’s about taking one of the stories and making it the best that it can be. A cinematic delight for the whole family… as long as they are over 18. 

Which story would I take on? One with layers, relationships, great conflict and many locations for where the sexy time could be partaken in. It also needed to have a great title. So, I had to think about this for a little while. I’ve spent hours in front of my TV, looking at the programming on the X-rated channels and laughing at the hilarious and truly ingenuitive titles that were being created. You had your take on the classic stories: ‘Midsummer Night’s Cream’ or ‘Tits a Wonderful Life’. The take on the movies that I watched in my childhood: ‘Anus the Menace’, ‘Honey, I Blew Everyone’ or even ‘Little Oral Annie’, yes the curtains did match the drapes. The Academy Award winners: ‘Shaving Ryan’s Privates’ and “Lord of the Rims’. Finally, your more commercial titles, less clever but just as touching: ‘Blondes Blow Best 2’ and ‘Paste My Face 33’ (See? Some series warrant the repeated success). The latter two movies shown at 10AM on the Playboy and Hustler channels respectively, if you’ve got nothing to do tomorrow morning. 

With Horny Potter, there were plenty to choose from. ‘Horny Potter and the Daily Swallows’ or ‘Horny Potter and the Half-Black dick’ (an important interracial love story, in a time of constant unrest in the US), but I settled on ‘Horny Potter and the Milf Rider of Ass-Kaban’. The title had it all: intrigue, action and many possibilities. 

What would be the next step? Well, for me, in theatre, it’s the prep work: what’s it about? Who are the characters? You start to think about casting. What is the budget? and how can you make it entertaining? 

I won’t bore you with all of those details. Mostly because it’s a very personal process that directors don’t often share. This is no exception. You might laugh and say to yourself ‘Gees, it’s just a porno, why’s he being such an asshole about the process?’. I say to you ‘There are no small projects'…just small penises. Which brings us to casting and boy, was I shocked. I didn’t use a couch because I really wanted to concentrate on the actor’s ability to bring the story out as opposed to their cocks. In addition to casting the show, I was the reader at the audition. You try throwing in sentences like ‘Deaf Eater’s the name, Muff Eater’s the game?’ (It’s all about the script) while the actors are demonstrating why they should play Professor Gape, and how he should teach his class ‘Doggystyle in all the dark areas’. 

Then it’s time for rehearsals and boy are those always exciting. You get to meet the people who’s lives you will share for several weeks and who’s bodily juices may accidentally diverge in your direction. It’s important to create a strong trust so that the intimate scenes, when you get to them, are not as awkward and challenging for the actors. A director has many responsibilities but to create an atmosphere where everyone should feel comfortable walking around naked, with a semi hard-on, is perhaps the most vital. 

After several days of ‘table work’, spent analyzing plot points, intentions, sexual positions and the amount of lube needed for the scenes so that we can account for it in the budget, we discuss some of the more intricate scenes where the WHORECRUXES (didn’t even have to try) must be destroyed, using Horny’s wand made of 25% hawthorn wood, 25% dragon heartstring and 50% dick. I tend to be more organic when it comes to staging and (cock) blocking for camera but for this project, the level of detail needed to be complex, we were talking a multi billion dollar franchise. I may be exaggerating. 

We start shooting the film from the beginning of the story. It starts with the actors having to be put into their ‘houses’. It would very much be similar to the original series, except the hat isn’t what decides, instead it is the ‘Sorting Dick’. You see, to create a pornographic parody of quality, you need to infuse as much crude and sexual humour as you can, while having a similar story line. I guess you’re thinking Duh? But maybe some people who are going to be reading this have never experienced watching porn….(I am snickering behind my laptop, tried really hard to get through that one with a straight face).

So Horny, Dong (THAT’S RON) and Her-tongue’s on me (That was was difficult to create and to type out) are put into ‘Slide’r’in’. I know, I know, I am taking artistic freedom and moving them into another house. Anyways, these kids are constantly fucking and sinning, so they clearly are the bad people here..  

Quickly, they realize that they want to take part of the Quidditch league and join their house team. A fascinating sport, where two teams with brooms must fuck the Golden Snatch, to win the game. This scene was particularly hard to film, special effects are not a big priority in the pornography industry. We had to be creative to make it look real, while being conscious about difficult actor’s needs. The Golden Snatch was played by April Fills (that’s a real pornstar) but she did not want her vagina painted gold, go figure! The men in the film were upset that their tools of work were being replaced by real brooms, but I’ve yet to see anything bigger than 25cm. 

After several weeks of boy/girl, boy/boy, girl/girl and big black dick/dementors(don’t ask), it was time, the final battle. Orgy. Sorry still getting used to transposing the work into a world of fluffers and dildos. We set it up as a battle between Horny and his friends against Voldermort and his ‘Spunkeaters'. It was difficult to find a name worthy enough of the evil force in the series that was also appropriate for a porno.  The (hard) wand battles start quickly (after 10 to 12 minutes of oral sex). Killing Voldermort comes at the end of giant orgy where we see several impressive positions, and the inflicting of the final Anal Kadabra, which is just an ejaculation that we turn purple in post.

After calling the final cut, one of my life long dreams is achieved. I’ve directed a porno….Well that’s the plan anyways. For now, I’ll just keep watching them while stuffing my face with a bag of Doritos. 

I look down at traces of cheesy red crumbs around my wand while ‘The DaVinci Load #2: Angels and Semen’ is playing in the background. 

PS. At the time of publication of this essay, ‘Whorrey Potter and the Sorcerer’s Balls exists. Will have to check it out to see if it holds up with my vision. 

taming defeat or the nature of this business by Cory Haas

Maybe it’s because of today’s Brexit results, or maybe the insane heat wave that has swept over this part of France, where I am currently working to cushion the blow of the loan I’ve had to take to earn my Master’s degree, but today, I feel particularly defeated after, yet another, letter saying that I will not be getting a scholarship for my studies. I say yet another, but it isn't about always scholarships. It can be about not getting a role, not getting a job, not getting an opportunity, not getting a grant, not getting many things. That is the nature of this business.

I’ve always had a very can do drive when it comes to my directing/acting career. Some may call it a no bullshit approach or a ‘go big or go home’ attitude. I tend to get cautious of the people who tell other artists what the ‘specific’ approach to getting a job is and not simply a version of what they believe to work. I learned that lesson fairly early in my undergrad. I realized that there weren’t ultimate ways of succeeding but merely a myriad of ways of succeeding and a necessity for adaptability. At the end of the day, I am the one who is trying to get the god damn thing and I will strive for it in whatever way it pleases me, intelligently and bravely. 

I say this with confidence, not arrogance. I know what I am capable of. I’ve been lucky. I’ve worked hard and have gotten some great opportunities, many more than some probably get. I will stand by the way I approach projects, because it fulfills me. 

This being said. 

I’ve also been rejected. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many. Many.


The ratio in somewhere in the range of 1:253. That’s one good piece of news to 253 letters telling me I am qualified but ultimately, not qualified enough. So how do I deal with it? 

Parents, friends, girlfriends, teachers, role models. They get a flurry of emails, texts, calls. Talking to them helps. They are your support system. They WORK.                For the first 253 emails.

The next 253, those are on you. On me. I have thick skin. I am ambitious, determined, the can do attitude I told you about earlier. It’s what I am proudest of. It gives me a full tank of gas. It gets me 500km on the highway. 

But here I am, the next 253, and the one after, and the one after. I am lost. I don’t know how to get out of this one. I have the conversation. The ‘should I go be a banker?’ conversation. No, I shouldn't because the flame is still lit in there, somewhere, but it’s there. I have other passions but this one is winning the race. This one excites me, invigorates me, makes me HARD for CHRIST SAKES. Sometimes these feelings are trapped under five very large, very heavy history text books, wrapped in a cute barbwire bow, guarded by a Trumpian? (Trumptastic?) wall, but they are there. I HAVE to remember that they are there. They will keep me going. Put my head down, work hard and believe in myself. Because when you have a goal, a real goal, one that gets you up in the morning, you stop at nothing to reach it. 

what i've learned by Cory Haas

Based on Esquire's Cal Fussman interviews. 

Put your ego away. A director once told me: the best ideas are what’s gonna end up on stage. That’s important. 

My dad and I have a lot in common. He was a professional hockey coach. The more I work as a director, the more I see the similarities between the two fields and the two positions.

The best kind laughter is the one that should be crying. 

Comparing yourself to other artists is something you should not do. I’m still learning. But it’s hard. Really hard

Flaws are useful. You should know at all times what they are. You don’t need to transform them into qualities but you need to be aware of them so that you can say ‘Hey, this doesn’t quite work’ and the next time you come around to a particular problem, you make the conscious effort to tweak it. To make a small strength out of it. It comes back to the ego thing.

Make new discoveries. Make new mistakes. Rehearsals should have that goal. I learned that from Tommy Kail. 

Bacon and eggs.

Garry Oldman said ‘What other people think of me is none of my business’. People misinterpret this as not giving a shit about other people, I don’t think that it is true. It’s more about believing in something, giving it your full attention and knowing that you are doing what’s best for you. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea but don’t let that discourage you or stop you in your tracks.

Compromising artistic integrity because of political reasons pisses me off. I am not a very political person and I don’t get involved. Maybe I should. 

Entertainment is perhaps my favourite word in this business. It’s seen as such a negative word. But entertainment can be intelligent, dark, humorous, musical, thought provoking, literary, important, etc… Entertainment is what I love to do. 

Admit when you are wrong. Everyone will respect you more because of it. 

do you want to buy my African baby? by Cory Haas

December 1st, 2012 is a date I will forever remember. It’s not because that night was the night I met someone that I will forever call a best friend. You’d think a life altering meeting would be the cause for such remembrance, but no, oddly enough the reason I come back to 1/12/2012 has nothing to do with that encounter. 

There are few moments that happen in one’s life where you suddenly register that those specific memories will stay etched in your brain, and will become the coveted subject matter of many dinner party conversations. For years to come. Not annoying dinner party conversations mind you. Not the ones that revolve around the weather, or Grandpa Bo’s mild racism against Syrian refugees (‘They are just looking to steal our jobs’, you’re drunk Grandpa, go home), or wether auntie Kim’s new ShamWow order is doing the trick. On a side note though, have you tried those things? Wow. You shouldn’t beat up prostitutes, of course not, but good thing he had his own product to clean up the blood. 

No, it’s the type of dinner party conversation that you just can’t wait to whip out in order to be the centre of attention. Be careful though, too many of those and you become known as the anecdote master guy and will soon be requested to MC your cousin’s Game of Thrones themed wedding. Another story for another time. 

So anyways, the date is important to me because on that chilly fall (who are we kidding? December is winter) scratch that, winter night, a blue-vested associate of an organisation called Plan Canada, jogged with me for 12 blocks (I was late seeing a show), attempting to, let me put it as plainly as it sounded to me, sell me an African baby. I say African but at that point it could have been South American, Asian or a number of different ethnicities. He wasn’t discriminating and I wasn’t really listening. I was mostly trying to keep my sweat levels to a minimum and make it for curtain. 

I did make it to the theatre on time. The performance was good; not great, not horrible. Here’s how I can judge that the quality of a show is mediocre: I remember the title but I’m not involved enough to remember the story a day later.  It was the case with this show. Instead, I kept replaying the scene that had happened 24 hours before. I kept wondering if I had made the right choice not to stop. Sure, I had seen those people in the street before but this one invited and invested himself in my life. Sure, you engage with the same barista every day but that doesn’t mean you have to invite him or her over to Sloppy Saturday Sleepover night. There are boundaries in this world. The Plan Canada guy even participated in physical activity. Like, how could I be sure that I had not just shifted the rotation of the earth and the alignments of the planets by not stopping and talking to that person? How could I be sure that the karma gods wouldn't be out soon to get me? I am not a big believer in karma but I also didn’t think it was possible to acquire a baby, in less time than it takes you to renew a driver’s license at the department of motor vehicles. 

The employee of Plan Canada, I am going to call him ‘Lowell’, did not looked particularly peeved that I blew him off. I say employee but I don’t really know if Lowell is paid to do it or if he does it as some sort of Mormon missionary duty. I can’t say that any Plan Canada person has ever come to my door with outfits that, on Halloween, would be Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones, in Men In Black. They most certainly did not have pamphlets about Joseph Smith. No, the nonchalance of the situation seemed fairly average, as if that was the normal reaction Lowell got from people he stalked on the street. I guess stalked isn’t the right word because I did let him join me on my semi-marathon, an opportunity I reserve for no one, only because I start grunting like Serena Williams on the WTP tour. 

You’d think if you got rejected so frequently and sometimes have to burn calories in the process, you would change your marketing philosophy or plan of attack - maybe a 2 for 1 deal on Wednesdays, or 50% off the second baby during happy hour. Look at Fresh Slice, Tuesday’s are like Christmas day for some people. College students and stoners to be precise. But the fact of the matter is, they will scarf that pizza down instead of hitting up their dealer. Maybe I am all wrong, maybe discounts aren’t the way to go, I never really did understand statistics in high school. I don’t remember ever seeing a class called: “ Stats and analysis in offspring acquisition”

All of these different thoughts and questions kept popping up in my mind long after the show was over. My ignorance kept placing me in the lineup of a Subway sandwich shop. Sure, you choose the bun and that’s fairly easy. You got Italian, Herbs and Cheese, and Monterey cheddar, but Honey Oats is what the heart wants (and that is fine because you have hot yoga at 6). The hard part is deciding on which toppings to choose from. Height, eye color, skin color; those, I assume, are sort of the basics. You can’t stop there though, some people are really peculiar at Subway. I can’t imagine it being any different when picking out a child. I think I would want him to have a developed sense of humour and an affinity for repartee. You know, green peppers and light onions. He would also have to be an athlete. OR SHE! That’s like pretty important too right? Look back on the last time your sandwich artist asked: ‘Mayo or Mustard?’ Now think about, objectively, how long it took you to make that decision. Major career decisions of mine have taken less time than that. 

A few other thoughts: Could you get them older? I don’t know how well I would fair at explaining things like masturbation or periods, other than by using the terms ‘fun pee-pee playing time’ and ‘vagina blood’. Which organisation do you go for? I don’t want to pick favorites but I like my coffee at Starbucks and my bagels at Tim Hortons. It becomes a little difficult when you have to pick a human being. You start feeling guilty after awhile and then faster than you can say ‘Brandgelina’, you end up with a Brady Bunch of your own. Do you receive a special code that links you back to the history of the child you take on? I have a sweater that’s given me all of the important info on the sheep who’s wool was used to create the piece of clothing. “Leonard, sheep #Z-A431453, Australian”. See? All of the info. My sheep is clearly a convict. If I could skip all of that, that would be great.

Look at me, being very precise already, I haven’t even stopped and talked to Lowell yet, maybe they’re out of stock? 

It’s been over three years and I keep replaying this scenario over and over and over again. I don’t really know what to do about it. I don’t think I am ready to take it on. 

Ironically enough, three years is also the length of time between now and my last Subway sandwich. 

a week on the slopes or an exercise in festive nihilism by cory haas

It should come as no surprise to anyone that skiing is about the whitest and most expensive hobby that any one person could participate in. In fact, when deciding to take that winter holiday in the mountains, the one you've been saving up for for about three years and spent countless overtime hours in the office, photocopying project covers and imputing numbing expense reports, convincing yourself ‘Hey! A week in _______ (insert ski resort name here)this oughta be great’, it would have been much easier for you to listen to that nagging voice in your head saying ‘GET THE FUCK OUT’. But no, you signed away the life you lead with little enjoyment and you made a shit deal, my friend. The type of deal that amounts to the devil stealing all you money and simultaneously fucking your wife while fingering you in the ass. (Ironically, doesn’t feel as good when the red man himself does it) 

Maybe human need for success took over a little and convinced you that you needed to make room for yourself at the top of the food chain, among the MBA’s and PHD’s and SIRF’s (Snotty Inheritance Rich Fucks). Freezing your ass off seemed appropriate. Are you doing it to impress your boss, so that he could see what type of man you really are and promote you out of the windowless cubicle to the corner windowless cubicle, with ‘You should have seen the tits on this broad’ Peter and ‘Why can’t I get anyone to love me?’ Marcy next to you? Or is it to show your surprisingly more attractive and successful neighbour Mort that, yes in fact your dick actually is bigger than his? The latter feat easily replicated drunk at the cheaper and more familial summer BBQ, only to find yourself winning by a couple millimetres of skin. Should we mention Mort’s last name is Horowitz?

Small dick Mort is taking HIS family home to upstate New York this Christmas. When you told him about your vacation plans, he was kind enough to spew out his philosophy of skiing. He eloquently described it as going down a snowy mudslide for 37 seconds on two pieces of neatly trimmed wood, only to have to go back up the mountain using a lift that forces you to stick a metal rod between your legs (college days anybody?). 

No, no, it’s true, it’s not only about that, it’s about the enjoyment of the time off spent with your family. It’s about letting the sun and the good humour spread through your bones, making you forget how you could have spent 3 weeks in Mexico with more booze and visible boobage for a quarter of the price. 

‘Honey, this ski jacket makes me look dumb!’ - Truer words had never been spoken.

You wait in line for the cash desk, among the crying babies and horny college students, in what can only be called fluorescent adult onesies, only to find yourself unsure of what to buy in terms of lift tickets. You hadn’t really realized (Google is hard to reach in the wilderness) that six consecutive days of skiing could have gotten you and Jeanine, your lesbian roommate, three meals a day during college AND have money left over for condoms. (This is the reason you’re here right? You got over excited at the thought of getting post-exam pussy for once and didn’t think that a thin later of forgotten plastic would be primordial in the fast track towards the family life).

‘Do you need insurance?’ - The question comes from a moody seasonal worker who, with a dirty and vicious gaze, is telling you, you have no business here. 

She is so right.

‘Why the fuck would I need insurance? I am a grown man’ - The voice inside your head does not escape you lips because you are in the ‘here to have a good time, nothing will stop me’ mentality. The grin on your face is instantly side-swapped by the freighter train that carries the price tag of sending you, the missus and the two wonderful off-springs to the top of the mountain, with no refunds in the eventuality of shit weather.

You get a rare raging hard on every time you see an image representing anything close to an orange sphere on the daily weather forecast. It’s a small victory in a week which often feels like a constant emasculation. The pride in a victory of this size is such that you might even make love to your wife. You’ve come a long way since you and her, drunkenly invited your private parts to slosh together under a mixture of Malibu and cigarettes, all those years ago. 

The morning routine is always the same; you come to life once you put on your ski attire: a wet, damp, sweat ridden armour, which makes your balls tingle while you shed a single tear thinking about that photocopy machine back at the office. You head for Everest, making sure everyone is in tow. You’ve yet to make it to the top of the lift, that you would kill for one of those asian massage parlour foot rubs. 

It’s not even 11 and you take a break for lunch. Break is a term used loosely here since you’ve only been skiing for 45 minutes. Soggy fries, exorbitantly expensive coke (the drink, though for the same price, you could have really partied with Jeanine back in the day) and the ugly kind of sunburn stir up longing images of sandy beaches and flip flops (Didn’t you walk by a ‘TOKYO RUBS’ in the village?). You fantasize about the Mexican children selling you pashmina’s, who you’d excitedly throw you money at.

‘Hola, umm quatro scarf things for me familia’ - Your high school Spanish coming back to you with such fluidity and precision. French, at that moment, is an insane language for lovers, intellectuals and assholes. 

The rest of the day progresses with the same amount of merriment. Seriously, it’s not that bad…you could get used to this you think. Maybe even do it again next year? Sure, the money you would have used to send your kids to college has gone into the cold and stuffy cabin you rented for the week. On the bright side, your neighbours are a young Austrian couple who, you’re fairly certain, host nightly orgies, in lieu of an après, après-ski.

You reminisce about the ménage à trois’ Jeanine used to organize in your living room. You never participated, a lack of vagina probably the cause of it, but she was kind enough to let you watch. You never did get the name of that girl on girl on girl sex position, so beautifully executed by your roommate and her friends. It felt a little bit like watching the underage and illegal Chinese Gymnastics team during the Beijing Olympics. The judges all show a 9 and yet you can’t help but wonder if something’s not a little off….mhmm.

Tonight is Monopoly night instead. 

‘It’s okay baby girl, sometimes life ISN’T fair and that’s okay too.’ - A guilty yet extremely satisfying feeling takes hold of you as you assume ownership of the hotel on Park Place. The game sets a great foundation for many of the talks you will need to have as a father down the line. 

It quickly degenerates but the crying subsides into a snore as the evening winds down. The few precious seconds to yourself are reluctantly used the check in with the office. The red bubble indicating new messages lights up, the number 52 swooshing in a few seconds later.  The first one that pops us has an ominous subject header. 

‘New message: Thinking of you’

The night had had its fair share of eventful passages already but this one could act as a welcoming night cap, since you had no liquor in this haunted wooden box. The excitement is such that you almost immediately open the message. You whole life flashes in front of your eyes, except, instead of your life, it was the cute Swedish women you’ve met in the past 24 hours. Was it Johanna, pronounced with a Y sound? The attendant who had taken your email down at the ski rental place. Or was it Malin, the waitress who didn’t deserve a tip but got one at the restaurant last night because of her cultural heritage?

‘Pictures from Mexico. See you back at the Office. - Peter

Only 5 more days to go. 

You wish you still talked to Jeanine, she had the best weed in college.