Zack's Ramblings: REPOST: TNG’s Thanksgiving Survival Tips
Welcome to Zack’s brain, circa 3 years ago. Hope you enjoy it as much now as he enjoyed writing it then.
So apparently Michael thinks Thanksgiving is the best holiday of the year. I personally think Michael should get his head checked. Sure it’s a great time to eat and drink, but for anyone going back home it can also mean a whole year’s worth of family bonding, brawling and back-stabbing packed into one four-day weekend. Factor in flight delays, crying babies and newly-introduced significant others and its a miracle that people put the turkey into the oven and not their own heads. So without any delay I present TNG Zack’s guide to surviving Thanksgiving.
1:You Can Get Anything You Want at Alice’s Restaurant (Excepting a Fucking Minute to Yourself.)
If your family’s anything like mine (and if it is, I’m sorry) than your holiday weekend might be ridiculously overbooked. Skip out on that post-dinner movie, get in a nap before you go to see your grandparents or even just take a walk around the block. You’d be surprised at the difference it makes. I have one really hallowed Thanksgiving tradition: sneaking away from dinner to listen to Arlo Guthrie sing “Alice’s Restaurant.” Its the story of a funny thanksgiving mishap that turns into a pretty relevant commentary on war.Chicago’s WXRT plays it about ten times every Thanksgiving Day and it provides a really nice 18 minute respite from the chaos. I couldn’t embed it here, which sucks, but be sure to check it out. Even if you don’t need the break its something you should be familiar with.
2. Expect Maturity, Prepare for Regression.
The last time my entire nuclear family lived in the same house, I was 8 and my oldest sister was 18. I am now a college graduate and she is a successful publicist in New York City, but you wouldn’t know it by watching us. At dinner tonight, she referred to bathing her 18 month old daughter as “the vagina show” and casually remarked that our house smelled like anus. Earlier today, my dad politely asked me to set the table and I snapped “Jesus, you said that already” as if I was 13 and angsty. My point? No matter what you do, it is inevitable that some of your old family dynamics will come back in play. Am I happy that, come tomorrow night, I’ll have spilled peas, hit my head on a door frame and picked up my old stutter? No, but I’m ready for it and that’s what counts.
3. If You’re Out to Your Family, Get Ready to Answer Inappropriate Questions. If You’re Not Out to Your Family, Keep It That Way.
Coming out to your family is like handing them a little card that says “Hey, feel free to ask me whatever pops into your head.” Combine that with the aforementioned regression and really anything goes. Be prepared to describe your safer sex habits to your niece, explain to your brother-in-law that cross-dressing and homosexuality are entirely different things and give your grandmother an impromptu lesson on the top/bottoms dynamics of the modern gay relationship. Whether these queries are born from rancor, ignorance or just genuine misguided curiosity is moot. Just be ready to answer them.
If you haven’t spilled the beans yet, this is definitely not the weekend to do so. There will probably be so much else going on that the moment will not get the quiet reflection it deserves. Even if you come down to dinner sporting nail polish, eyeliner and a tampon string hanging out of your ass, its to everyone’s benefit that you still make small talk about your Canadian girlfriend.
4. Figure Out Which of Your Relatives Will Irresponsibly Get Drunk or High With You.
Almost everyone has a family member that also wants to alleviate the holiday stress through ill-timed substance abuse. It could be your pierced and tattooed cousin, your black sheep uncle or your grandpa who is furtively pouring wine into his colostomy bag. The drinking can happen throughout the course of the day, but it is best you not smoke until after dinner. You’ll need your conversational skills, plus munchies and a 30-pound turkey are a bad combination. The latter activity is to be strictly avoided if you have to drive anyone home or help carry your wheelchair bound great-uncle up a very steep flight of stairs (though that’s a story for another day.)
5: For The Love of God, Don’t All Use The Same Bathroom.
I can’t stress this one enough. My parent’s house has three bathrooms. Two are located upstairs, the other is directly between the kitchen and the dining room. Guess which one requires a hazmat suit come 5 o’clock? You can’t combine the delicate Jewish digestive system with four pounds of mashed rutabaga and not expect there to be some problems. One year my sister started screaming “Is there no common decency?” because every single one of us had visited the commode before the meal was even cooked. You can’t give those family recipes the time and attention they deserve when the fires of Mordor are emanating from your throne room.
6. If You Have to Masturbate, Do It Somewhere Discrete.
Many of us are stranded at home with neither significant others nor bedroom doors that lock. While a moment of onanism can be a wonderful stress reliever, it will also be seered permanently into the memory of whichever family member happens to walk in on it. Unless you want the task of explaining your sister-in-law’s newfound hysterical blindness, keep your hairy palms to yourself until you’re sure its safe. My bed is 100% out of the question, as my room shares a wall with both of my sisters’, so I usually end up taking care of business in the aforementioned (and thoroughly aired-out) downstairs bathroom. Its cold down there, and extremely un-erotic,
but that’s a small price to pay for piece of mind and a moment of relief.
So there you have it. Six foolproof (and I hope not overly puerile) ways to make it through the weekend. Feel free to share some hints of your own and let me know if any of mine were helpful.
First time here? See what we're all about... Get involved... Send us a tip!...