The Mailbag (12/27/08): It’s The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year
December 27, 2008, 1:13 am
Filed under: Christmas, Family, Parties Where People Pass Out Drunk, The Mailbag


Sometimes, the most difficult part of writing is coming up with a topic. That’s why, in an effort to make this blog more of an interactive experience, I’m having you, the reader, do all the hard work. Here’s what I want you to do. Email me some questions–could be personal, generic, or even completely random–and each week, I’ll pick one of them and dissect the shit out of it. No topic is outta bounds, so you know, don’t be afraid to ask about my third nipple or anything.

Send all questions to

This week’s question:

Q: Help. I’ll be spending Christmas Day with family. Since I’ll be the out of town guest, I have no excuse to leave early. That means at least 7 hours in a house with in-laws and relatives asking what I do for a living and why I’m still single. If I stay the entire time, I’ll likely commit a nefarious act or seven. How do I survive this?

A: Two words: You’re. Fucked.

(Ed. note: I purposely waited till after Christmas to post this, because, well, nobody should have the luxury of avoiding family. If I have to suffer, then so do you, buddy. But now that Christmas has passed, I’d love to answer the question, so that next year, this poor soul may be better prepared to handle this unfortunate situation.)

This is the holiday season, and unless you’re a 13-year old boy who paints his fingernails black and cuts himself with rusty scissors, grandma is gonna wanna talk to you all fucking night. And guess what? You’re gonna have to answer. And smile. And pretend that you actually care about her Wednesday night mahjong marathons. But there are a few things you can do to limit the migraine, so let’s make a list.

1. Go to the bathroom. A lot. Even if you don’t have to take a crap, occupy the bathroom at least once every hour and a half. Your trips to the little boy’s room should last no less than 15 minutes, and no more than 45, lest that lead to questions about your health, completely negating the reason you’re in the bathroom in the first place–to avoid conversation.

If you actually have to go, more power to you. But for those like myself, who can’t shit on command, use this time to meditate. Sit there for a while and think about your fantasy football team. Or what’s for dessert. Or the twisted things you’d do to the hot girl sitting across from you at dinner, if she weren’t your cousin. You know, if you’re into that sorta thing. Whatever you think about, just make sure to use those precious moments away from the family to regroup and mentally prepare yourself for another 90 minutes of torture.

2. Alcohol. You have two routes to go here; you can either be the one drinking the alcohol, or you can be the one serving the alcohol.

Drinking it greatly enhances your tolerance to meaningless conversation, and also improves your chances of passing out on a couch. The latter being the preferred solution to your original problem. Unfortunately, drinking also means that you have to stay long enough to sober up. Even worse, if you begin to sober up while relatives are still over. There’s nothing quite as painful as regaining consciousness in the middle of one of Uncle Stu’s proctologist visit stories.

Personally, I would opt for serving the booze. As the unofficial bartender, the only question you’ll be asked is, “Can you make me another?” You control the amount of alcohol that goes into each glass, so if you want the night to end a little earlier than expected, fill everyone’s glass with a little more vodka, and a little less orange juice. For some reason, being tipsy makes people think they’ve worn out their welcome, and Aunt Sally, the lush, will be begging your uncle to leave before she becomes the talk of next year’s Thanksgiving dinner.

3. Fake a sickness. Everybody already knows that family dinners are a drag, but nobody wants to be at the dinner table with the guy who’s constantly sniffling and blowing his nose. Sure, you’ll spend the first 30 minutes answering 348 different versions of the question, “What’s wrong?” But after that, you’re in the clear, as your parents will more than likely send you home with some homemade soup. Score! Just remember to seem genuinely upset that you won’t be able to stay. If you’re bold, insist that you stay until your annoying sister-in-law arrives with her snotty kids. You’ll come off as the perfect son. Just know that that could seriously backfire  if she’s running late, or trying to pull the same shit you’re already pulling.

4. Drastic measures. Come up with a list of the most horrifying answers to all of your family’s potential questions, and respond appropriately when asked. A few examples:

Q: So, what are you doing with yourself these days?
A: I work in the porn business.

Q: And how have you been?
A: Great. Doctor says the sores on my ass should clear up in about a week.

Q. Why didn’t you bring your lovely girlfriend?
A: Um, grandma, she died in a car crash a week ago…

So, there ya go. Next year, when you’re forced to spend an inordinate amount of time around people you can’t stand, you’ll have a handy guide to escaping the madness. But this year, I hope you wanted to slit your wrists and dip them in a tub of alcohol like the rest of us. Hey, fair is fair.


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