SAN DIEGO, CA–Five-year-old Niko Markkanen was all jazzed up for Christmas 2021. He earned good grades in kindergarten, didn’t complain when his weird cousin Ronnie slept in his room for three weeks in August, stopped bringing up the presidential election altogether, and overall misbehaved 57% less than he did in 2020. Niko had screwed up along the way, but he was sure his infrequent misconduct could be written off as forgivable adolescent tomfoolery. He’d taken a big step forward with his maturity this year, and Niko was certain his efforts would not go unnoticed.
Earlier this year, Niko made a pact with his mom and dad. If he could improve upon his tumultuous 2020, featuring several pre-school brawls and countless politically-charged tantrums, his parents agreed to get him whatever he wants for Christmas — within reason. With this in mind, Niko fully intended to cash in his chips for a brand new Nintendo Switch this holiday season. Now just days away from Christmas, he has been thrown a curveball.
Unfortunately, Niko’s dad recently required an emergency open-heart surgery. It was a successful procedure, but its cost put the Markkanen’s more than $100K in debt. Rather than selling their home or making mom pick up a second job to get out of debt, they informed Niko that the whole family would be asked to make sacrifices. In short, Niko will not be receiving any extravagant presents this Christmas.
Feeling blindsided, Niko raged upon hearing the news, effectively regressing on all the good he’d done during the last twelve months. “How is this my problem? Why am I suffering? I made the grades! I let smelly Ronnie sleep in my room! I didn’t mouth off about the election! I earned some great goddamn presents!” After declaring this the worst Christmas of all-time and kicking a hole in the kitchen wall, Niko began cooling off. His parents were left speechless, wanting to chastise their son but too stunned to get on with it. So, Niko continued. “Listen, it’s rad that dad didn’t die. He’s a real one. But, I don’t want to be your son anymore if you can’t afford a Nintendo Switch.”
Niko was promptly grounded and has since sought legal advice on proceeding with the legal emancipation process. “My lawyer says we have a good case if I keep quiet about where I was on January 6th.”