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The holidays can be a nightmare because oftentimes you’re stuck with family who — no offense — you don’t really love being around. In addition, these folks will inevitably bombard you with awkward questions you aren’t prepared to answer. My best advice? Go on the offensive. Here are some safe topics you should definitely be discussing around the table on Thanksgiving.
1. Your Failing Grades
This train is off the rails and now is the time to get out in front of things. As it stands, there are only a few weeks left in the semester and you’ve done all of the calculations. You’ve determined that unless your professor is susceptible to begging or bribery, it is going to take a 127% on the final for you to pass.
Overload your family with this information. Explain in detail all of the ways that someone could possibly flunk something as simple as art history. It’s not your fault. Blame that professor that insists on actually sticking to deadlines, or the fact that the girl who sits next to you doesn’t ever wear a bra, making it impossible to concentrate (very unfair, and also something your grandma will love to hear about). Or how about the fact that you shouldn’t be forced to take an art class in the first place? If anyone’s to blame, it’s these liberal arts colleges and their diverse curriculums of gen eds that are causing the trouble. All of these reasons will surely calm your family down and get them on your side in no time.
You saw your cousin protesting the invasion of her safe space on campus recently, and now is definitely the time to bring that up. Ask her if the problem has since been resolved. Are words still poking their way into her perfect world, or was she able to plug the holes with enough marching? Has she successfully been able to ban all conflicting opinions from campus? I hope all of that time spent making those witty signs wasn’t for nothing! I mean, “cisgender needs to ender;” how clever is that? No way she won’t appreciate this dialogue.
3. The Football Team Your Uncle Is Way Too Invested In
Uncle Roy may not technically be employed, but armchair quarterbacking his favorite NFL team is a full-time job. It would be impolite to not at least ask how they are doing. So what if you already know that the team he lives and dies by is 3-7? Inquire about whether or not comprising a whole fantasy squad of players from the same team has panned out. Is Chicago’s fifth-string receiver making an impact in PPR formats? Furthermore, ask if the team sweatshirt he is wearing is new even though you know for a fact that he has worn it to the last seven Thanksgivings — the whole family will love hearing for the millionth time the story of how he found it for a buck at Goodwill. Your uncle’s chatter about his team will make it impossible for anyone else to get a word in edgewise, which is ideal.
4. The Absence Of Your Eccentric Sibling
Mom left an extra plate out just in case, but it appears that big bro isn’t going to make it this year. No one else has the balls to speak of the elephant in the room; good thing you’re here to clear the air. Maybe start by saying grace and asking God to, “Keep him safe, wherever he may be.” That won’t warrant any stares. Or make a subtle quip like, “At least he’s not in jail.” If you really want to make some jokes, invite a homeless person in off the street to take his place, then keep reiterating how even they are better dressed than your brother would’ve been. Everyone has to laugh at that.
5. How Much You Raged The Night Before
They don’t call it Blackout Wednesday for nothing. You had one hell of a night, and the fam deserves to hear the deets. Grandma has been around for a long time and undoubtedly has seen some shit of her own, so don’t be afraid to let it rip; she can handle it. Tell everyone about how the girl who faded you in high school went full send and cross-country skied you and your best friend to the finish line in the corner booth of an IHOP. Or how about your physics teacher from high school giving you a full-fledged strip tease? These half-memories are something to be cherished. Give Uncle Roy somebody through whom he may live vicariously.
If nothing else, at least the rest of the family will have someone to look down on this Thanksgiving, and for that they should be thankful..
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