John Bender, “You Know What I Don’t Want For Christmas? Another Carton Of Smokes.”
Monday, December 22, 2008 at 10:32AM

(Shermer, IL) For millions of people around the world, Christmas means spending time with their family and getting some presents from Santa Claus. But for 40 year-old John Bender, Christmas means another year of his father shoving a carton of cigarettes in his hand and saying, “Smoke up Johnny!”

“It’s been the same thing for 25 years,” said Bender, who quit smoking 15 years ago. “I’ve told my dad, that all I want is a new jean jacket, but he doesn’t listen. He just gets drunk and tries to put his cigar out on my arm.”

Bender says that if it weren’t for his career, he would’ve taken a baseball bat to his father’s head years ago. Bender is a motivational speaker specializing in anger management issues. “I think of myself as the Tony Robbins of the Rust Belt.”

He’s been averaging over 250 speaking engagements over the past few years, and he’s even authored a memoir, EAT MY SHORTS. Despite his success, Bender has never married. In fact he seldom dates. “There’s only one gal for me, and that ship sailed years ago…But if I had my way, this Christmas I wouldn’t get smokes, or a jean jacket. I would get to see Claire.”

Bender is referring to Claire Standish, a girl he met during a Saturday detention session in March of 1984. “We had a crazy connection that day, and I regret that I let it go.”

Bender also regrets not keeping in better touch with his other detention mates, Brian Johnson, Andy Clark and Allison Reynolds. “Though, I did hear from Brian and Andy. Funny enough, Brian married a girl from the Niagara Falls area and has a business making lamps. Andy, unfortunately, is still taping butts together with duct tape.” Bender added that he has no clue what happened to Allison. “She just disappeared after that Saturday. The rumors are that she’s been wandering the country going from detention to detention.”

But it’s Claire that still makes his heart skip a beat. “I heard she got married, squeezed out a few puppies then got divorced…and I don’t know if she’s pushing maximum density or not. I don’t care. I miss her, and I miss the way she would use her rack to put on lipstick. So Claire, if you read this, Merry Christmas and call me.”

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