So, Thanksgiving is almost upon us and it’s a time for gorging yourself on food, fighting with extended family and basically just wishing the whole thing would end already. Who’s with me? More of you than will readily admit, I’m sure. Hah?
I’m not against Thanksgiving, I mean, to be quite honest, I’d feast like that at least twice a week if I could afford to. I’d also likely weigh about 500lbs and be near death thanks to all the fats and starches that I’d be pounding down on the regular. I wouldn’t necessarily be against going out that way, but then you fine people would be deprived of my witty writing and stories about my children. And being a giver, I can’t do that to you. You’re welcome.
The reason I don’t like Thanksgiving, or really any holiday that forces my family to get together, is because I can’t coexist in a kitchen with too many people. I get along fine enough with my Dad and my Inlaws, but my Father In Law likes to be the kitchen bitch. That’s my job. My wife roasts a turkey in the oven, I smoke one on the grill and we make all the trimmings. Green bean casserole, sweet potatoes in brandy, broccoli, crescent rolls, mashed potatoes, gravy, etc. And our kitchen isn’t the largest. When you start getting all that food on the limited counter space we have available, things get even tighter.
If you haven’t guessed it from my picture up at the top of the web site, I’m a fairly large guy, and I need room to maneuver. My Father In Law, while not rotund, stands about 6′ 3″ or maybe 7 foot tall, I can’t be sure, but he’s a big guy too. And he’s nervous when he takes on a task. Not the nervous “Oh my god, I hope I don’t mess it up” kind, but the nervous energy kind where he has one speed and that’s full throttle. It’s his mission in life to not only complete the task, but to do so at the fastest possible rate of speed a human being can be forced to move.
Oh, and he’s legally deaf. So you have to holler to get his attention. And he’s one-track minded, so when he’s moving from point A to point B, if you happen to be somewhere in between, you’re likely getting run into. It’s like bumper cooking, to be quite honest. And I have a very very low tolerance for violations of my personal space. Have I mentioned that? I hate not being able to move. And I move at a much slower pace, because I’m careful and I’m lazy.
This is like mixing nitro and glycerin. At which point I typically storm out of the kitchen, throw my hands in the air and pound down a week’s worth of Miller Lite to try to calm my nerves.
My own father isn’t the least bit culinarily inclined, so he stays way the hell out of the kitchen while we’re cooking, comes in to eat, and then leaves while someone else cleans up after him. So it’s like having a huge dog that tells the same stories to you over and over and over and over and over again. Even when you politely mention to him, “Hey Dad, you just told us that story in the living room about 20 minutes ago,” he’ll nod and keep right on telling you anyways. And then, he’ll interrupt your conversation to tell you once again.
I don’t know, maybe he thinks we aren’t grasping the subtleties of his tale. Maybe if he tells us one more time about how he had to take his dog to the groomer because she stank, we’ll finally understand the enigma that is my Father, his trials and his tribulations. Oh, and he tells us in graphic detail while we’re eating. ”Yeah, I had to go see the doctor to get a catheter tube.” And I’m trying to cut him off and change the subject, “Really Dad? Did you see the new truck that Ford has coming out this year?” Without fail, he’ll acknowledge what I said, mention that he likes it or hates it, and then without missing a beat proceed to tell the entire family, AT THE DINNER TABLE, that a catheter tube, is in fact, “something that they shove in my penis”. Good times.
You might be wondering where the women and children come into all of this mess. Well, unfortunately my own Mother is no longer with us, but I still have a Mother In Law and a Wife, so I get plenty of grief from that side of things too. For instance, while we’re cooking and doing the “forbidden dance” around each other in our tiny kitchen, the Mother In Law will pop into the kitchen from time to time with little tidbits like “Smells good!” or “I had to taste it to make sure it was good”. Because, apparently, she can’t just come out and say “I’m hungry, feed me now, plus you’re ignoring me and I’m tired of watching Spongebob.”
My wife, bless her heart, tries to keep the peace and get dinner on the table. But she’s got this habit. The habit I’m speaking of is starting a sentence or a question, then stopping midway through as if enough information were shared by now and I should be able to put the rest of it together on my own. Do I look like Scooby and the Gang? Encyclopedia Brown, perhaps? I’m not that guy. I don’t read minds, and I try not to do an awful lot of thinking unless I absolutely have to. So now, not only am I waiting for her to finish her thought, I’m prodding her to do so because I can’t function without knowing the rest of what’s on her mind. It’s like a sickness to me.
The kids? Eh, they play video games and watch TV all day. And complain that dinner’s taking too long and they’re soooooooooooooooo hungry they’re going to die. So when we finally get it ready, and slap it on the table for them, they eat for about 3 minutes, claim they’re full and take back off to do more of nothing. Only to reappear an hour later, starving again, and the cycle repeats itself.
So yeah, if I could, I would simply have Thanksgiving alone, in my underwear, on the couch, surrounded by only my remote, a cooler full of beer, and all the fixin’s from the table. Oh, and a catheter tube so I don’t have to get up during the game. You know, a catheter tube, that they shove up my penis.