Surviving Holiday Relatives

   Having family in town is nice don’t get me wrong, but as the saying goes, houseguests and fish both stink after three days. After some time, Grandma’s couch hogging and Uncle Vern’s racist rants stop being charming and start to get old.

    I like being questioned on my love life by relatives as much as the next guy, but before long I start fantasizing about throwing fruitcake at my Aunt Betty, and I suspect that I’m not alone. Lucky for you, reader, I have survived many visits from family, and with the survival skills I’ve learned over the years, I intend to survive many more.

   Yes, stories about Grandpa Norm’s glory days in the sixties are just riveting, however, fifty retellings have caused his stories to lose their allure. Thankfully, God created airpods, and luckily Grandpa Norm can’t see very well either. Discreetly listen to your music while also “listening” to these boring stories. For bonus points, occasionally blurt out “that’s crazy” and “tell me more”, or my personal favorite, “If you ask me, that’s president Johnson’s fault”.

   But then what about when Cousin Tyler complains about your parents’ cooking? What then? The answer is really quite simple. One of your relatives is a picky eater? Fine. In the American Revolution, soldiers who complained ate stale bread. If someone thinks that mashed potatoes are too mushy, then maybe they should eat hard tack instead- it’ll be less mushy.

   And then there’s the age old question: “What are you gonna do with your life!?” Over the holidays, this question and other awkward inquiries are as common place as pumpkin pie, if not more so. Something about a holiday dinner turns your relatives into the Spanish Inquisition. All of your old relatives wanna know your career plans, if you’ve gained weight, or if you’re especially unlucky, they’ll wanna know who your dating. So here’s my advice: lie! I’m well aware that lying is generally frowned upon, but moral code goes out the door when relatives are in town; this is about survival.

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