Climbing Up: Shelf Elfing

Shelf elfing
Hold the pose or fail!

Admit it, there’s nothing cuter than those cheeky little felt elves that your Grandmother half-hides throughout her condo. Like most bizarre anthropomorphic reinterpretations of humanoids, reports indicate that the shelf elf got it’s start in Japan. Very little is actually known about the origin of these creepy-cute Christmas sprites. For the holiday hip, this is perfect. Also referred to as “Japan Knee Hugging Elves,” they are owning Etsy and Pintrest right now, a sure harbinger of hip. In fact, check the chart below. Shelf elf interest has doubled each Christmas. So what to do, throw a couple of them around your studio apartment? No way! The only way to fully exploit this trend is to become a shelf elf yourself!

Shelf elfing is an offshoot of planking and owling so this is familiar turf. You’ll love this because with second Hobbit movie coming out, elves are Sammath Naur hot right now. The first thing you need to do is get a pointy red and white Christmas hat (no brim). Then ask the util-a-kilt wearing geek from IT to loan you his fake Spock ears. If he hesitates for more than 37 seconds, tell him that as far as you’re concerned, “Vulcans are the elves of space” and flash him the “live long and prosper” gang sign. This genre-blending and hand waving will stun him. (BTW, if this is successful, you’ve leveled up to hipster-mage status). Now put on the hat and ears and find a perch. The higher and just a bit out of view the better. Now, it’s all about the tuck! Pull those knees up to your chin as best you can, here’s where your yogalaties will come in good use. Crunch that core and wait! Soon your co-workers will begin to filter past on their way to the midday social media scrum. If you’ve found a good spot some of them won’t even see you sitting there with an insane cheeky grin going. Don’t worry, that means the ones who do will be totally surprised. If someone spits up their soy chai tea, you’ve succeeded.

Remember to adhere to proper shelf elf lore! Move to a new place every day, be totally silent, blankly staring at a spot on the floor and keep that bizzaro-chipper smile going. If done correctly this is going to hurt, but it’s totally worth it because you’re a mutha-effing SHELF ELF now, and you talk directly to Santa. If any of your co-workers try to talk to you or worse yet touch you, HOLD OUT! Later, after elfing, find them in the break room and chew their normal ass out. Start swearing at them in Quenya, the language of Elrond and Legolas from Lord of the Rings. Angrily assert “Iston i nîf gîn!” (I know your face) and “Boe? BOE?!” (for what purpose?) After the ear thing you’re already in huge standing with IT kilt guy (who is munching on steamed soy beans with a nice ginger sauce in the corner table), but upon witnessing this Elvish bereavement his adoration of you will go through the roof! Finish your holiday tirade with “Úcarnet nin!” (you betrayed me), pull on your hat, climb up and sit on top of the vending machine and resume your eerie shelf elfing. You’re a shelf elf now, even if you don’t know why.

Trending Up: Turning Everything into a Frickin Game

pawn
We’re all just pawns

They call it “Gamiification“, and if you ask your MBA buddy Theo, that means “the application of game methods and elements to traditionally non-game activities.” You know it as the progress bar on your favorite professional connections website, or getting a digital badge for making digital badges.

Gamifiication is fire bolt hot right now. Go to any uber-borg CRM conference and mention Gamification and they’ll give you a fist full of drink tickets and let you party with Green Day. The root of it is that hipsters don’t mind working if they can pretend it’s actually playing. How else would you be interested in getting more “fit” unless you were also actually, and by actually we mean virtually, doing a cholesterol destroying trek on the great wall of China? This all dovetails with the hipster-illennial desire to have everything be super-epic-awesome. Nothing says “I’m a warrior hero” like total dominance of the terrifying “Quest to Print Only Double Sided Paper / Attack of the Ink Goblins” scenario that the printer admin in IT (the one who wears a utili-kilt) came up with to encourage workers to print less. You can beam with glory when he perches the Yoda plush toy on your cubicle wall and, handing you a can of unicorn meat, proclaims “Savior of the Trees you are!”

So to bring this to the next level, which you LIVE for, go find a copy of Milton Bradley’s The Game of Life. One from the 70’s will be at the next estate sale you hit up this Sunday (half price because it’s under $50) when you’re out with Cedric and Jasmine. Now it’s time to get all artsy-crafty. Change EVERYTHING to represent your co-workers and office situations. Re-write all the event cards to be about the most uncomfortable office politics you can imagine. Faithfully recreate the ups and downs of work day in your collab. Make it AS TRUE AS POSSIBLE, this is going to have to hurt or the irony of playing Life, about work, at work just wont be bittersweet enough. Now, at Monday morning’s needless scrum, reach into your re-purposed blue plastic Ikea tote – now messenger bag – and throw down your “The Game of Work.” Your friends will love this. At first they’ll see the little 3D playing pieces (made from re-purposed tiny cheese wax) and coo … “Cute” and “Hey you got my handlebar mustache just right!” (they wont even get the waxed mustache made of wax subtleties but that’s okay, some irony is best left to enjoy alone, in silence) … then start playing. Each person gets one turn every half an hour … this way it kind of folds into the day. Watch as things get really tense as Life-Work-Game all blend into a tepid tapioca of reality and illusion. Award “workpoints” for mundane stuff like answering emails and cleaning the tea pot. Everyone will go home engaged and confused, laying in their futons at night, strategizing on how to win at the game of their life, at work. You will love this.