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.
- 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.)
- Speaking of history, George Washington wore a size thirteen shoe. (WARNING! Could lead to a screaming match about Pence getting booed at Hamilton!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)
- 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!)