Family Get Togethers
I find the best way to enjoy a family get together is to not be there. Barring the ability to not be able show up, the next best solution is alcohol and plenty of it.
No-one enjoys spending time with their family. Anyone who says they do enjoy spending time with their family has obviously not spent enough money on therapy and is certainly in denial about how messed up their childhood really was.
It is never good to be the first to show up. The position of favourite child was filled long ago and not by you! Just because mom didn’t sleep for 4 months because YOU were a colicky baby is a horrible excuse but, you are not the favourite and should reserve this special position for the sibling who had the ability to lie the best to your mother as a child. Your father will not get involved in this ‘favourite child’ debate as his life was over the moment the first child was born and the fact that he would still rather drown you in a gunny sack than acknowledge you are alive tells us clearly that dear old dad’s only real friend is Jim Beam.
This being said, you should arrive late and block in the vehicle of the sibling who has parked in a manner that would allow him /or her to leave quickly and easily right after dessert. If blocking their car in won’t work, simply slash a tire or tear the starter out their car.
This is a fiendish test by your mother to find out who is kissing backside to get elevated in the will. There are several ways to respond to this test.
If you are the favourite son or daughter it is of the utmost importance to pretend as though the hors d'oeuvres being served are the culmination of the world’s greatest chefs finest attempt at placing heaven on your taste buds. This is a bold faced lie – and your mother knows it – but she will not call you on it as she does not want to reveal the effort she put into this trap. And since her favourite has brown nosed their way thru her first obstacle course- she will be content in knowing that the old age home she is put in will not likely have leather restraints and huggy jackets in it.
If you are the odd person out in your family – the one mom would throw out of the nest- the black sheep – it is up to you to maintain some sense of dissension in the family. Gagging and pretending to almost vomit will do quite well. Comments such as, ‘ it’s supposed to be goose liver, not goose shit pate!’ or ‘I would rather eat skunk butt than take another bite of this!’ Not only will this confuse people but it will also show that you are honest. You may be able to leave before dinner also –which can be seen as a bonus for your honesty.
Idle Chit Chat
Sitting around the living room with your family will allow you to discover what a bunch of liars you are related to.
Listening to your brother share his knowledge of the stock market and all of his windfalls from his shrewd business dealings will make you want to beat him with a tack hammer. The pure satisfaction of knowing you can go to his place of employment and kick the mop he uses out from under him should give you the mental satisfaction you crave. Also hold dear the fact that he is 8 months behind in his child support and has told you he is worried about the rash that developed after he spent the night with Giselle, the Haitian ‘exotic dancer’.
We should all bear in mind that when our parents talk it is perfectly acceptable to fall back on the skills we learned in high school, such as sleeping with your eyes open. Parents want to share their wealth of worldly experiences and who doesn’t like being told that whatever they do is not nearly as difficult or rewarding as the time their parents did the same thing. It is useful to have your young niece or nephew around to sit near you or on you so they can block the view of your parents as you sleep while they reminisce about cow tipping and driving drunk.
Gathering around the dining room table, at the spot marked with your name on the god awful looking glass swans your mother paid too much for is the perfect time to let everyone know what you think of the seating arrangements. Rearrange the name tags in random order- this should elicit the desired effect of finding out who really cannot tolerate certain people and sometimes why. It is best to place your sister in law or wife adjacent to the loudest or stinkiest member of your family. If you enjoy your sex life at home I suggest you prey upon the sister in law. Once everyone is seated it will fall upon the grandchildren to say grace in some god awful language that takes ten minutes and ends with them thanking God for unicorns and puppy dogs. After you wake up from your ‘grace’ induced coma, feel free to criticize your father on his carving techniques. It is generally better to sit at the far end of the table if you are inclined to do this as the old boy may still have one mad dash left in him. Temper this situation knowing that you will be sitting closer to your mother which never bodes well for you since you married a brown eyed European Catholic girl.
Peace can be found during dinner as your family stuffs their faces and ignores the rest of the family-the way things should be. The meal will be really good since mom does not want you tell anyone that she is not a good cook. This should make up for the poison hors d’ oeuvres if you have any functioning taste buds left.
When the meal is finished feel free to suggest that your sister in laws should be obligated to clear the table. They will thank you for allowing them a five minute reprieve from your lunatic family and they will also enjoy the opportunity to chip or break your mother’s fine China. You will be thanked for your kindness by having hot coffee and some manner of blueberry torte spilled on your lap. You are welcome to remove your pants and lick the delicious dessert off your chinos. Your family will expect this behaviour from you so feel free to wear an interesting pair of underwear or show your bohemian side by not wearing any underwear at all. The look of disappointment from your father will help him reinforce his regret of ever having children.
Promptly after the last gulp of coffee has been downed your brother will kick his youngest child in the shin under cover of the tablecloth causing the lawn ape to sob uncontrollably. This is his cue to get up and leave. Luckily you have blocked his car in the driveway – so, begrudgingly you must leave also. Act disappointed that you have to leave. A well placed motor vehicle can save you from a slide show or vacation videos of your mother and fathers trip to a Des Moines knitting supply store.
While you, your wife, your brothers and sisters, there spouses and their children fight each other to put their shoes and coats on in a wild melee of flailing arms and knees to the groin, your mother will suggest that you all take some leftovers home with you. This is the last of the evenings trickery from your mother. If you hurriedly accept the offer you infer that your spouse is a horrible cook (which they probably are), if you don’t accept you may break your mother’s cold jaded heart (and therefore definitely be out of the will). Patience is the key here. Look up slowly, rotate your face towards your spouse. The puzzled and bewildered look in your eyes will let them know that you care about their feelings. If, upon gazing at your spouse you do not turn to stone, burst into flames or know and accept that you will hitching a ride to the basement couch hotel, you may at this point slowly turn to your mother and say, ‘I guess I could take a little bit of leftovers.’ Your father’s gaze will let you know what is acceptable for taking and what is to be left for him. He may reinforce his position by waving around his will and the pencil he has used to temporarily place you back in his will.
Chaos in the Driveway
Seeing as this family dinner has vacuumed away ten years of your life you should feel no regret in pushing, screaming and trampling all who get in your way as you run to the sanctity of your car. Your wife may be a little upset that you threw her down in an attempt to slow down the stampeding mass of siblings but she will understand your plan when her car door is open and you are already travelling at 25 mph in reverse trying to get out of the driveway. With any luck the velocity of the car and the open door should knock your wife into the car. If this doesn’t work you will have to slam on the brakes so the open door will help them slow down enough to be ricochet inside of the car. Leave no bush or tree unscathed in your escape. Mowing down flora and fauna will give your father an excuse to not be in the house with your mother. You may feel bad for trampling your 6 year old niece or nephew but you have done them a favour by teaching them that life is cruel.
Slow Your Heart Rate Down
Once at home, copious amounts of alcohol may be required to slow your heart down. Indulge yourself. Your next family meal is 2 months away. Training won’t begin for three weeks.