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DAN'S PAPERS, December 19, 2008 Page 18


(continued from page 15)

he might, he just couldn’t squeeze his little butterball of a body into the chimney tops. “Ernie,” his teacher said, “don’t worry. If you can’t be a chimney sweep elf, then you can be a chimney sweep cheerleader. You can be down lining the sleigh runways when the elf sleighs take off, cheering and hollering and waving with the other fatties.” After hearing that, Ernie went out and got himself a chocolate malted, a baked Alaska, an apple brown betty, some sugar cookies and marshmallow s’mores, and ate and ate. And that made it all right. There wasn’t much else you could tell a kid who was just too fat in those days. You could tell him to stop eating chocolate cake and French fried potatoes and ice cream and cookies and linzer tarts and maple mousse and barbecue spare ribs and spaghetti and meat sauce and cheesecake, which is just a few of the things Ernie ate on one particular day in exactly that order. On another day, he ate spaghetti and meatballs and walnut brownies and egg nog and pork and beans and a hot

fudge sundae, which Ernie ate in exactly that order one year, just three weeks and a day before Christmas. “Ernie, we’ve got to leave three weeks from tomorrow to start cleaning chimneys,” the leader of the chimney sweep elves said that night. Ernie was now 16, the age that baby elves became grown up elves at the North Pole. “There’s still time to qualify to go. Just lose 80 pounds.” At the time, Ernie was eating a blueberry pie, some greasy lambchops, a big piece of pumpkin pie and a plate of four greasy pork chops covered in marinara sauce, in exactly that order. “Okay,” he said. He talked to his best friend, Nick, who was not only the smartest kid in the class, but someone who always stood up for Ernie, chasing other children elves away when they came over to make fun of him. “We can do this,” Nick said. “Just

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meet me at the gym.” And so Ernie and Nick went to the gym and they did push ups and leg lifts and arm curls and jumping jacks and after that they went out and ate corn beef sandwiches, shrimp bisque, cheeseburgers, cheesecake and onion rings, in exactly that order. After a week of doing that, Ernie weighed even more than before. So he gave up. Two weeks before Christmas, they had the final practice runs of the chimney cleaning brigades. Ernie was, of course, assigned to the chimney sweep cheerleader brigade and his task at practice was just to bring the whisk brooms to the elves as they began their final sessions. Ernie was sad he wasn’t going. But what could you do? He went out with Nick and had some New England clam chowder, a vanilla shake, three pieces of fried chicken, a Snickers bar and some deep fried broccoli sticks, in exactly that order. “I’m going to figure out a way to get you on the sleighs,” Nick said, between chomps. Nick went to see the chief of the chimney sweeps, Grand Elf Zebediah, who lived in a big sugarplum castle on the northern edge of the community. He was led into the throne room. And there was Zebediah, sitting in the big chair holding the giant golden whisk broom that was the symbol of his great office. “I was thinking,” Nick said. “Some of the chimneys are small and hard to get down into, while others are very big and spacious. What do you do when the chimney is too big for one elf? Do you just have one go in and let him plop down to the bottom?” “We would never do anything that might injure our elves,” Grand Zebediah said. “What we do, with the big chimneys, is tie two elves together back to back, and have them go down that way, with one pushing against one inside wall while the other pushes against the opposite inside wall. It works fine.” (continued on page 28)

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...

Dan's Papers 2008 Holiday Issue  

Dan's Papers, the 51-year-old bible of the Hamptons, is owned by Manhattan Media, a multi-media publishing company based in New York City,...