Things to Talk about at Thanksgiving Besides the Election

Trump is an asshole, and his supporters are (insert any expletive of your choice right here). That being said, there are literally families being torn apart over the election and its potentially life-altering, apocalyptic consequences. With Thanksgiving coming in just a matter of hours, I thought I’d bring you a fairly comprehensive list of topics to discuss with assholes you have to share a table (and the bathroom) with.

Whenever the topic shifts to the unpleasant, I advise you to pull a Mrs. Forbidger. She was the lovely elderly woman who supervised my internship, and she had this amazing habit. Whenever anyone entered the room with nasty workplace gossip, she would shut it down by looking down at her outfit and finding some article of clothing to comment on. Then she would smile brightly and say, “Do you think this blouse matches my skirt?”

The speaker would blink and stammer for a second, obviously thrown off by the sudden turn the conversation was taking. They would halfheartedly agree and then launch back into their angry tirade, only to have dear Mrs. Forbidger say, “I wasn’t sure I had anything to match it in my closet, but it was on sale for just eight dollars! I couldn’t pass that up!”

Typically, all parties in the room–including me–would look at the poor woman as if she was teetering on the edge of Alzheimer’s, until the day she caught my eye during an exchange of this kind and winked. That crafty woman. So here is your own prepared list of Mrs. Forbidger-style topics; seriously, if things get ugly, just literally blurt out one of these things and shift the conversation towards squid penises and your poop biome.

Below is a list of “safe topics” that can be blurted out right in the middle of someone’s rant. Proceed with caution, though, as the potential for it to only fan the flames is mentioned in parentheses. Those with an asterisk are especially useful for families that don’t serve alcohol at these functions.

  1. Did you know you can make frisbees out of cornstarch, water, oil, and a microwave? * (DANGER! The old “kids today are spoiled, they’d never play with a frisbee unless it was made out of an iPhone” rant.)
  2. Speaking of history, George Washington wore a size thirteen shoe. (WARNING! Could lead to a screaming match about Pence getting booed at Hamilton!)
  3. The rearview mirror was invented for Indy Car racing so they could shed the extra weight of carrying a guy to face backwards and tell them when to change lanes. * (BEWARE! This could trigger someone who’s lost his job to a Mexican (not really) to scream about downsizing!)
  4. The sun’s core temperature is 73 million degrees (CAUTION! This topic could lead to an argument on clean energy and climate change! Tread carefully and guard the sharp objects!)
  5. Paper towels were invented by mistake when some rolls of toilet paper came off the line too thick and wavy to be used. * (WATCH OUT! Your crazy aunt is going to complain about your uncle never changing the toilet paper roll!)
  6. McDonald’s actually sends its managers to Hamburger U in one of eleven different locations. (DANGER! Potential Trump U tie-in which could lead to a knocked over glass!)
  7. Having one blue eye and one brown eye actually isn’t all that uncommon. It happens in about one out of every 500 people. (DANGER! For some reason, this will make someone think of Muslims, even though I don’t know why!)
  8. Forget reading tea leaves…I’ve been seeing a scatomancy expert, and his ability to tell my future just by looking at my poop is uncanny. (WARNING! Potential precursor to a spewing diatribe on why we need to eliminate Eastern religions!)
  9. People who live in the Andes Mountains have two to three more quarts of blood in them than the rest of the people in the world. (DANGER! Be prepared for a response pertaining to “and this is why we need to hurry up and build that wall…to keep those extra-bloody Hispanics out” even though the idiot brother who said this doesn’t know that people in the Andes aren’t Mexicans!)
  10. A newborn baby’s brain grows at a rate of 1.5mg per minute (DANGER! Possible lead towards a plate-throwing tirade about women’s reproductive rights!)
  11. Neil Armstrong stepped on the moon with his left foot first. * (BEWARE! Could lead to loud proclamations on NASA wasting money looking for water on Mars!)
  12. The Natives Americans offered the Pilgrims lobster from the bay, but the Pilgrims wouldn’t eat them because they thought they were bugs. * (DANGER! Potential spark of gas-fueled fire towards a discussion on the Dakota pipeline!)
  13. Did you know Hitler was– (ACHTUNG! ACHTUNG! Do not mention the name Hitler around that bunch of Nazis! Holy crap, it’s like you’ve never even met these people! They’re CRAZY!)

What Would Lorca Do?

You know those sweet little WWJD? bracelets and coffee mugs and crap that they sold back in the nineties, all with the express purpose of making you stop and ask yourself how Jesus would respond to the guy who just cut you off in traffic so you could act like our Lord and Savior about it? Yeah. Those never did work out for me, mostly because I’m pretty sure that Jesus would never follow the guy to his destination, slink down between vehicles so as not to be noticed, and then remove the pins from all the air nozzles on the guy’s tires so they couldn’t be reinflated.

I’m here today, however, reprising my Oscar-worthy role as a cautionary tale and inviting all of you to wear your WWLD bracelets. Basically, you take any situation that presents itself, ask yourself, “What Would Lorca Do?” then you do the polar opposite, preferably from the relative safety of another zip code.

Scenario #1: You’re invited to dinner with your spouse’s boss.

Normal Reaction – shower, get dressed, pick up a bottle of wine on the way to dinner to give to your hosts.

WWLD – pick up bottle of wine first, drink it while showering, forget why you took a shower since it isn’t Thursday, and go to bed.

Scenario #2: Your child comes in the house bleeding from doing something stupid in the driveway.

Normal Reaction – apply pressure with a clean cloth to stop the bleeding, checking it periodically to see if it might need professional care.

WWLD – bring the video you took with your phone with you to show at the doctor’s office, since you were standing there letting the kid do it.

Scenario #3: The car starts making a strange noise and warning lights come on.

Normal Reaction – pull over and refer to the owner’s manual, which you smartly keep in the glove compartment.

WWLD – take the foil-wrapped meatloaf that you were trying to cook on the engine block as you drove out from under the hood so your husband doesn’t find out you tried to cook a meatloaf in there again.

Scenario #4: You got busy helping your child with his homework, and burned dinner.

Normal Reaction – have a good laugh with the kids and ask them what kind of toppings they want on their pizza tonight.

WWLD – there are about eight different ways that this scenario would never happen to me, because a) my kids don’t ask for my help with homework, b) I rarely cook dinner, and c) I don’t care what kind of toppings they want on my pizza.

Scenario #5: Friends are unexpectedly dropping by after dinner, and you have no wine to offer them.

Normal Reaction – send your spouse to the store for whatever they’ve got, and pour it in a beautiful decanter so no one knows it came from the gas station.

WWLD – Bwahahahahahaha! Like I’d EVER run out of alcohol! (not that I’d share it if people came over…refer to scenario #4)

Yes, as 2014 draws near, you have the option to live this next year of your life like a normal person, or like someone trapped in the Twilight Zone episode that is life in my household. Choose wisely…one of those scenarios involves running out of booze.

I’m 266 Years Old in Dog Years

I was afraid of ending up like this dog when I'm old, but then I remembered that I know how to say, "Kill me now."

I had the nerdiest 21st birthday party in the history of partying, and there was even alcohol involved. My dad and I went to a bar the evening before I actually turned 21, just so they would have to wash off the giant “NO” stamp on my hand at midnight. It’s not a birthday party without party games, so we played, “Shit You Still Can’t Do Even Though You Just Turned 21.” He came up with, “You can’t rent a car until you’re 25,” and I fired back with, “I can’t be President for fourteen more years.”

At midnight, I ordered my own drink for the first time. I had a bucket of strawberry daiquiri with a straw and we ate at Taco Bell the next day. I was livin’ the dream.

But now that I’m waaaaay older than 21 and I can both rent a car AND be President (even though I still can’t join AARP or receive Medicare), I’m kind of stuck in middle-aged limbo. I’m old enough to know better than to do something but not so old that I a) don’t go ahead and do it anyway without thinking it through or b) really not care if you find out I did it. It sucks here in the middle.

On a lighter note, I learned yesterday about a concept known as Donating Your Birthday. On the surface, it does sound a lot like agreeing to die. I was a little alarmed when I got the message asking me to do this, so my first thought was, “What the fuck, dude? What did I ever do to you?” Luckily, I finished reading the whole thing this time.

No, you pledge to donate your birthday (I promise they don’t come kill you, I even double checked the Terms & Agreements) so whenever your birthday rolls around, instead of gifts or spending money by going out drinking or buying yourself that chain saw you’ve always wanted but really don’t need, you give the money from your I-need-a-chainsaw fund to charity. I pledged my birthday to charity:water (I don’t know why it’s lower case, either, but they make drinking water happens in places where there isn’t any).

My next step is going to be to donate all my Dinnertimes to charity but I haven’t picked the lucky winner-charity yet. In this version, instead of cooking dinner, we eat Saltines with peanut butter out of the jar and I give the money I was going to spend on making Beef Wellington to someone deserving. Everyone wins!