Oh, y’all . . . my kingdom for a cruise.
More specifically, a cruise that sets sail Nov. 21 and doesn’t return until Jan. 5.
I’m not without a soul. I love the holidays as much as the next gal. Food, festiveness, parties, presents, decorations, drinks: what’s not to love?
Oh, that’s right. Family. Family is what’s not to love.
Stop giving me that look. Stop it right now!
You tell me TO MY FACE that your grandmother’s politics give you reason to be thankful. You tell me TO MY FACE that your mother-in-law makes the season merry. You tell me TO MY FACE that you catering to your brother’s new wife’s gluten-free diet is why the Pilgrims sailed across that ocean blue or why Little Baby Jesus came out of that Virgin vag.
Yeah, that’s what I thought.
Look, I love my family. I do. I’m obligated to. That’s what being family means: loving because you have to.
I know a few of y’all are being all aghast right now and feeling all superior and smug and self-righteous. You’re all, “My word! This ruffian is so uncouth! She maintains that one must love family rather than having the joy of loving family! Civilized people would never think such a ghastly thing!”
If I had the choice to assemble my family from people on the street, I guarantee that the group I would amass would not (intentionally) consist of a meth manufacturer on parole, a former prostitute, a hoarder who once tried to murder her husband with a pair of car keys, an Evangelical holy roller, a full-grown woman who refuses to drink anything (and I do mean ANYTHING) other than Pepsi or Sprite, and a septuagenarian who has a composting toilet on her deck so she can crap in plain sight of the golf course frequented by “hoity–toity sons of bitches.”
THAT is my family, y’all—if you also added a literal dozen of nieces and nephews, a few more siblings, a couple extra grandparents, a passel of cousins, some random in-laws, and my parents.
And guess who is the nincompoop who agreed—nay, volunteered!—to host this shit show for Thanksgiving?
I’m the nincompoop.
Because apparently, I have amnesia when it comes to a) family events and b) how I feel after family events.
The last time I hosted a holiday, no less than three people cried. Let me clarify: three adults cried. I’m not counting the kids. They all cried. All of them. I don’t know why. They just did. They’re kids. That’s what they do, I guess.
Anyway, last Thanksgiving, my grandmother hid the drinks and hollered, “Are you telling me I have to love my children?” Her daughter (my aunt) found the drinks, got wasted, and confided during a game of Scrabble that she didn’t think she’d cry when her mother (my GramGram) died.
So, you know, this is what I have to look forward to, except that this year I have to supply those drinks . . . and the turkey . . . and the potatoes . . . and the veggies, dips, pies, cakes, casseroles and centerpieces . . .
Anyway, I decided I’d be hospitable, no matter how great the cost, because—as I said before—that’s what you do when it comes to family. You love them. You extend your smiles, forced or otherwise.
My first step was to create a private Facebook group for my family, so we could have a online information center. I crafted a signup sheet of dishes. I posted directions to the lodge we rented to accommodate our collective girth. I created an activity committee, a decorating committee, a crafting committee, and a cleaning committee. And then, I posted a fun little poll that was intended to light-heartedly encourage people to get pumped for the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration.
The poll posed this question:
“What are you most excited about for the Great Thanksgiving Hoopla of 2016?”
The answer selections I provided were as follows:
- Games, because I am a winner.
- Pie. Duh. Always pie.
- Thanksgiving photo booth with props.
- Making a family dance video.
- Nothing. This group is stupid, and if I choose it, I will be waterboarded at Thanksgiving.
Are you ready for what happened, y’all?
My cousin (hence referred to as Cousin) got on and posted something snarky. Then my grandmother (hence referred to as GramGram) got involved.
Behold the (actual, word-for-freaking-word) Facebook conversation that took place:
Cousin: Does the waterboarding option have to be water or can I substitute with another beverage?
Me: I will urine-board you if you keep this up.
GramGram: Did you just say you would piss your pants?
Me: Not exactly . . .
Cousin: HEY EVERYBODY, BEKAH PEE’D HER PANTS!
Me: No. That’s not how this works!!! It’s just waterboarding . . . with urine.
GramGram: Bekah. I do not know what that means
GramGram: I do not know what waterboarding is
Me: It’s a type of torture where somebody puts a rag over your mouth and nose and then pours water over your face. It simulates drowning. Bush okayed its use in Iraq and Afghanistan as an “enhanced interrogation technique.” So, basically, I’m telling James that I would fake drown him in piss.
GramGram: I want to do things appropriate for my age. A rocking chair. Tea, pie, turkey, fire in the fireplace.
GramGram: A debate.
Me: Okay. A debate. Cousin, you and GramGram must now debate the ethics of waterboarding at Thanksgiving.
My Husband: In this economy?
GramGram: Do all yer wild stuff when I am not around.
GramGram: I don’t want my picture taken. I look like hell. I look old. My teeth don’t fit. My boobs are not pointy. My hair is thin.
My Husband: Ok.
GramGram: I don’t want to dance because, well, it’s none of your business why I don’t want to dance.
Me: Well, now I don’t want your picture taken now, either . . .
My Husband: We can dance if we want to
We can leave your friends behind
‘Cause your friends don’t dance and if they don’t dance . . .
GramGram: You can tell dirty jokes if you want to that is acceptable.
My Husband: Dirty joke of the day—a little boy fell in the mud.
GramGram: A good start.
Cousin: And now You Can Dance If You Want To is looping in my head. Might as well pop on a 10-hour version of it on YouTube.
My Husband: You’re welcome.
Cousin: EZ top 10 songs ever.
GramGram: Can we talk about mycorrhiza fungus an what it does?
. . . 1 whole minute passes . . .
GramGram: No? Ok.
Cousin: What’s Mycorrhiza Fungus and what does it do?
GramGram: Yay. I will bring all my books!
GramGram: I just found out fungus decomposes stuff
GramGram: I did not know that
GramGram: You know, I am happy knowing somebody is interested.
Cousin: Yeah, dude! How did you think all the dead stuff got recycled back into the soil?
GramGram: Never thought about it before. I just cleaned house, washed clothes
GramGram: If it wasn’t for fungus, all the poop in the world would just stay where it was. Fungus is magnificent.
GramGram: I graduated in 1959.
GramGram:I want somebody to tell me if drinking milk really is good for a person. Somebody debate that and let me listen.
GramGram: Ok, I am serious. I knew nothing absolutely about microbes. I want to know what you guys knew about microbes that I didn’t
Cousin: Well, I been drinkin’ milk since I was a born and I ain’t dead yet!
GramGram: I watched Cowspiracy, now I am not so sure. But I drink it everyday in tea. I am addicted.
And that’s where it ended—with “Cowspiracy” and a tea addiction.
So, that’s what I’m going to be doing this Thanksgiving: debating the benefits of a crap-decomposing fungus and the microbes in milk. All while cooking for this thing. And paying for it. And dreaming of that cruise.
I really want to go on that cruise.
Bekah Rigby, Managing Editor-
Bekah Rigby is a former journalist who now spends her days buying her cats designer bowties and writing for her ill-conceived humor blog, www.theomgspot.com, which isn’t for the faint of heart or pure of soul. She loves Indian curry just as much as she loves Tim Curry, and if she could be anything when she grows up, she’d be a white man, because she’s heard they have it pretty good.