All I really wanted was a White Castle Christmas with Popo the Elf, but I ended up in the ER

By John Kass

With Betty isolated in “Covid protocol”—which is passive/aggressive Orwellian scientism bull crap for “staying in her room”—I decided to have a White Castle Christmas with Popo the Elf.

My big fat idea was to take my Popo into the cozy, fluorescently lit White Castle dining room and enjoy scrumptious double jalapeno cheeseburgers. The delicious “ghost pepper” burgers were unavailable, dammit.

And, as you can see, he has a mouth.

His name has a back story. He’s not named after law enforcement, but rather because of the Elfin Buttocks I carved into his Styrofoam bottom with a Bic pen when I made Popo as a Christmas ornament for my mom in the 4th Grade. That earned me a maternal smack on the back of the head and a mother’s Moutza. But she gave it his place on our tree, and Betty now keeps him up there high in his perch of honor. Good taste prevents me from showing the photo of the Elfin Buttocks.

At White Castle, I thought we’d ruminate on various Christmas dinner topics, from the hapless Chicago Bears who should be renamed “The Hapless McCaskeys” before they drive WGN radio’s “Hamp and O’B” insane.

And the hapless Mayor Wokefoot, who is quite sane, I think.

Wasn’t it Mayor Wokefoot who publicly demonized her police force and proposed cutting $80 million out of the police budget while playing to Chicago’s cop-hating Marxists among her supporters, before she joined other Illinois Democrats in endorsing Kim Foxx for re-election as Cook County State’s Attorney?


And now Wokefoot tries on a law-and-order costume, as the anarchy she’s fed for years brings more violent crime to overwhelm her weakened city.

Popo the Elf and I also hoped to ruminate on the great, exhilarating news of the week. What is this great news, you may ask?


You are this great news. Yes, you.

So many of you are joining me on the great adventure with your new subscriptions to, that I think we’re truly building a community here. And this “writing” thing just might work out, too.

Thank you all!

But what is a White Castle Christmas dinner without cigars for dessert? I figured Popo and I would head on over to a cigar lounge, sit in leather chairs like men of olde, while puffing on a couple of fine Maduro cigars to discuss various  jesters:

The cunning Stanczyk of Poland, the crafty but greedy Roland the Farter and today’s well-known jesters, Cacklin’ Kamala and White House Joe.

C’mon man.

Unfortunately, it was not to be. Betty put her foot down. I like White Castle. She hates White Castle. Popo was sad.

“Please don’t go to White Castle. It’s depressing,” she told me. “Alone at White Castles on Christmas? You made people happy with the Christmas column, and now you’ll ruin it with a depressing scene of ‘John and that stupid elf alone at White Castles?’ No, honey, please, no.”

Honey, I’m a journalist. A White Castle Christmas could be a heartwarming human interest story.

“Life isn’t a column,” she said. “Life isn’t a ‘bit’ for the podcast. Life is life. No White Castle Christmas, please!”

But then, she added this:

“Would you please make me a roast chicken?”

A sign! The Lovely Sicilian is hungry? This was news indeed.

Obviously, she was feeling better with her appetite returning. She’s an elementary school teacher and she’s been vaccinated. I’ve been vaccinated, too. Vaccinations are a good idea, I just don’t like government forcing people to put anything in their bodies. Americans once understood this concept. We called it “liberty.”

But Betty got a breakout case of Covid anyway, despite her vaccinations, despite repeated assurances from St. Fauci and Rachel Maddow–high priestess of the Church of Leftist Scientism–that the vaccine would stop transmissions of the virus. It did not.

Because I love my wife, I fired up the Weber, chopped some rosemary, zested lemons, pressed the garlic, salt, pepper, lemon juice, all the usual stuff, and put the chicken on a rack a roasting pan nestling atop of the potatoes, with one dry chunk of apple wood on the coals.

“The chicken’s on!” I yelled up to the one in “the protocol.”

I kept skipping up and down the brick steps from the kitchen to kettle, checking the heat, making sure the apple smoke was right, the way you do when you first put a roast on.

It was then that I tripped like a fool and used my left arm to break the fall.

It wasn’t Betty’s fault. It wasn’t Zeus the Wonder Dog’s fault. Yes, Zeus was excited, hoping for a chance at stray chicken scraps, following me. But he didn’t trip me. I did that on my own.

Who else wears plastic cammo Crocs with thick Orvis socks in late December to cook chicken outside? The chumbolone writing this column. My fault alone.

As I rolled on the ground, yelling, poor Zeus whined his concern. I’m OK boy, I said. I was touched. Then again, he could have been whining “Will I still get a taste of the chicken?” the way our boys called out after I had a similar fall in the garden years ago, holding that same arm, the boys saying: “Dad, are we still going on vacation?”

Zeus and I finished the cook like heroes, and Betty enjoyed her holiday meal.

The next day after Christmas, I was still in quite a bit of pain, wishing I had opioids. So I visited a local clinic, hoping for drugs, since I thought hospital ERs were full of people getting vaccines or Covid tests. But the ER at the clinic was full, too.

“Take a number,” said the clerk with a horde of waiting petitioners rolling their eyes with masks on. She gave me a card with the number 30.

How many in front of me?

“Only 24,” she said.

I waited passively for an hour. All of us stared idiotically at videos of cooking infomercials on screens with the sound off. I wondered loudly if we might watch football as Americans did, once.

“Don’t,” hissed an older guy through his mask. “Don’t!!! She’ll get mad.”

Ignoring him, I asked the clerk/nurse if she’d turn the channel to football.

“It is what it is, sir!” she said in her voice of ultimate bureaucratic authority over the helpless. “If you don’t want to wait, you can leave.”

The old guy with the mask on just shook his head at me. I’d swear he said “tolja” from behind his mask. Nurse Ratched shouted “Number 7!! Number 7!!”

But I’m number 30, I said in a tiny voice.

“Number 7? Number 7”

Number 7 was a no-show. But she told Number 8 and Number 9 that it would take four hours to see a doctor, and told the rest of us, too

 With so many people waiting in line forever, some locked in with the soundless TVs, others snaking on outside just to get their precious card proving they’ve been tested and/or vaccinated; I wondered:

How can Democrats tell us that Americans getting a voter ID is just too much trouble?

But coward that I am, I didn’t dare try that idea out on Nurse Ratched. I slinked off like a wimp, drove to Walgreens’ and purchased a splint. I fixed it to my wrist cold sober with strips of Velcro and cinched it all snug like a real mountain man.

I’m good.

Popo and I eventually had our double jalapeno burgers. And Betty is feeling better all the time. We thank you for your kind Christmas wishes for her health.

And every day brings more of you to

Hope you all had a very Merry Christmas.

Just stay out of the ER if you can. And if you can’t, don’t even think about messing with what’s on the TV.


(Copyright 2021 John Kass)


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