Jimmy Kimmel Is Right, Bob Mueller is The Elf on the Shelf

Jimmy Kimmel Is Right, Bob Mueller is The Elf on the Shelf
By Doug Glanville
December 21, 2018
The rumors are true.
Bob Mueller is the Elf on the Shelf. 
Let that sink in for a moment.
My wife and I have four kids. Our son is the oldest, and then three daughters. The math tells us that we are (at the bare minimum) double-teamed in everything we do. Our son is now ten years old and we have concluded that after a decade of parenting, we need a new approach. 
Enter Bob Mueller, known for his relentless investigative prowess and his acute attention to detail. He sees all and he knows everything we don’t know. Through reputation and a long history of service, he is seen as an expert sleuth. 
Enter our Elf on the Shelf, known for his keen knowledge of all goings-on in our house. An investigator in his own right. Through holiday cheer and bottomless ginger cookie tins, he can be seen as a trusted parental ally, yet feared friend to the children. 
Together, through the exhausted lens of a parent drowning in laundry cycles, I see them as one. One in body and one in name. For as we must remember, all those who have an elf in residence must bestow a name upon their elven monitor.
Enter Bob, the Elf on the Shelf, ready to work as our friendly, investigative babysitter. 
In fact, Bob the Elf has orders as outlined by the “Elf on the Shelf” book, his owner’s manual of sorts.
“Each night while you’re sleeping 
to Santa I’ll fly 
to the North Pole 
right through the dark sky. 
Of course Christmas magic 
helps me to be quick. 
I laugh with my friends 
and report to Saint Nick.”
Saint Nick… The United States of America… or Mom and Dad… the similarities are striking.
Bob the Elf clearly has endless patience. I envision him ironing his red tights, waiting, calculating, and allowing you to accelerate your own demise. He uses you against you, watching from an upside-down position in your chandelier with a glass of eggnog nearby. 
His patience, the envy of any parent, is invaluable as he navigates his way through a minivan of half-eaten muffins and children not flushing the toilet. His blood pressure never waivers and his concentration never fails. He just waits as the evidence comes in.
As his code of ethics explains, 
“I tell him if you have been good or been bad.
The news of the day makes him happy or sad,
A push or a shove I’ll report to “the Boss,”
But small acts of kindness will not be a loss.”
It’s a parent’s dream come true. A babysitter to end all other babysitters.
For those who cannot deal with silence, he is deadly. With kids, the fear of them hurting themselves, destroying property, or grievously injuring the dog is often the reason we intervene before the lesson becomes experienced in hard and real-time. When we see our son gathering the remnants of a cardboard box in preparation for sliding down a flight of stairs, we cannot stay silent or refrain from acting because we understand the consequences of crashing into the front door at full speed. 
But Bob would be unmoved. In fact, he wants to see if you will flaunt overconfidence and crash into the front door from your poorly calibrated sense of danger. He would likely be recording instead of intervening as parents are required to do. Then after a crash into the door and a broken arm or two, he would inaudibly interview you and the attending medical staff just in case you try to change your story.
Bob would then build a case and methodically sip more eggnog while combing his hair under his red Santa hat. 
Don’t take the smirk on Bob the Elf’s face as a lack of focus. His diverted gaze is still adeptly surveying the activities at our house. Just this week, he’s been privy to a few affairs.
For example, there was the clear case of “Egg Collusion.”
Given children are always colluding, Bob the Elf would be right in his element in our household. Just recently, their grandparents were visiting and as a nice gesture, the kids wanted to make them breakfast before they left to catch their flight. Knowing they might get resistance, the kids merely indicated they wanted to make eggs in the very early hours of the morning, a bit of a stretch for a school day.  We have a 10-, 9-, 7-, and 2-year-old, so cooking eggs is a matter of national security as it is possible they could torch the entire state of Connecticut while making eggs benedict. 
As they thought might be the case, I said no. This set off a chain reaction. My son whispered in the ear of his grandmother to leverage seniority over me. His two oldest sisters caucused then re-framed the original request (to no avail) which led them to do an “end around” and ask their mother.
My wife did point out that they had already left behind a disaster from cooking eggs the night before. Once confronted with the evidence of that mess, our son then came clean to my wife, letting her know that I said “no.”. It is a good thing he has a conscience, but unfortunately for him, he was pure putty in the hands of Bob the Elf who dutifully reported in to the boss. The entire exchange between the kids was also captured on audio from the wire-tapping system located under his hat. 
That’s why parents need to pay Bob the Elf whatever hourly rate he requests. Since he usually just wants new tights, health insurance (for off-leash pet attacks), and in-house transportation expenses covered, he is worth every penny.
Then there was the “Dora the Explorer Conspiracy.”
The lesson of conspiracy for our children goes back a while in our household. It was first discovered by our kids in the year 2012. We were living in North Carolina and the kids were playing a dance video game that featured key cartoon characters. Dora the Explorer was dancing, and we had to time our moves to match hers. Then we got a score. 
Of course, since this game was built for 4-5 years old, my wife and I rocked out the highest score with three stars. The kids could not get past 2 stars, which led them to conclude. 
“This game only gives three stars to grown-ups!” 
Bob the Elf investigated Xbox (Microsoft) and the maker of that game. No conspiracy was found, but it provided a lesson to prep our kids for when they tried to conspire against us or any guardian we put in charge of them. 
Bob the Elf is watching…..always watching. 
And, let’s not forget the issue of “Pokemon Campaign Financing.”
Usually when money enters our son’s pocket, it burns a hole right through it. There have been a few toys he’s wanted so badly, that he would offer to drop his hard-earned cash on it before waiting for a special holiday or birthday. Remember Bob the Elf doesn’t do toys, he makes toys, or he makes you into a toy, so Bob unearthed a mountain of evidence showing that our son leveraged trust to use the same $30 four times while working hard to convince us to buy him more Pokemon cards. 
We had been so overwhelmed that we didn’t take the steps to ask for the money in advance. Not Bob the Elf. He would just record all the times our son paid for a toy with the same money and start the investigation into campaign financing violations. No reaction. Just stealth. I vividly remember Bob’s closing statement in the unsealed babysitter report.
“Ripping off Santa is a federal offense. Stick to making a list, if you are nice.”
We know that kids push the envelope. They want to see how far they can take things, but could you imagine the mic drop when your children get served notice to appear in court at junior high school graduation because they have misrepresented the truth about whether they brushed their teeth every day for the six years after Kindergarten? Elves have patience, especially ones with a law degree.
It is the ultimate power. Let Bob the Elf, through his ever-present watch, teach your children through the gravity of his relentless oversight. If they run afoul from the parenting rules, the investigation sits on their shoulders like a good cop-bad cop routine, directing them to do right, guiding them by an invisible hand of silent and complete retribution. Bob does not have to issue justice at each stop, he waits. He creates a cloud of moral expectation, allowing you to deal with the consequences of your actions, especially when he sees the cheesy grin disappear from your face after you thought you were able to take a mile from the inch you were given.
Then suddenly the seeming reality that you “got away with it,” comes to a halt as Bob the Elf pours eggnog on your head and slips the indictments into your stocking. Cold-blooded.
But let’s keep in mind, Bob does not work alone. He has a deep, kid-friendly bench. He would not bring in the clowns. He would tap members of his prosecutorial team who can sub in to watch the kids when he is busy in another house. Take Michael Dreeben (Mike the Elf) who made more than 100 oral arguments before the Supreme Court. Must be an amazing bedtime storyteller! Or Jeannie Rhee (Jeannie the Elf) who said she wanted to be a lawyer since fourth grade who during a school performance played a lawyer defending a piece of candy on trial for causing tooth decay. What!?!? Sanctioned cavities?!!! Kids would love her.
So it is clear. Special prosecutors make good babysitters and so do red elves with felt legs. And Bob the Elf fits the spirit of this holiday season when parents are reminding their kids that an elf is unpredictably moving around the house to spy on them and issue justice from the shadows. All while wrapping subpoenas, warrants, and cooperation agreements in shiny green and red bows. The children know, by statute, they cannot touch him or else all the good will go out with the bad. That is all we know about Bob Mueller, the prosecutorial Elf on Our United States Shelf (besides the one recurring clip of him speaking at a podium.) He is physically everywhere while also being nowhere, until he is in your head. And then poof, he is gone.
 “So blow me a kiss and bid me farewell.
I’ll fly away when I hear Santa’s bell.
Of course I will miss you,
But wait ‘till next year.
When the holidays come I’ll again reappear.”
And with that, babysitter Bob the Elf would vanish, leaving us without our friendly, investigative parental partner. Parents will have to adjust to life without 24 hour-a-day surveillance. It will be tough. Screen time and candy canes will fill the void until the school bells ring and a new year rings in once again. Then we will become hopeful, optimistic even, that one day Bob’s work will finally be done.
And we can stop feeling guilty about forgetting to move him the night before.
- Doug Glanville
Excerpts taken from The Elf on the Shelf:  A Christmas Tradition, written by Carol Aebersold and Chanda Bell, and illustrated by Coë Steinwart, 2005. 
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