Look, let’s not beat around the bush, you ruined Thanksgiving last year. Your big mouth absolutely butchered it, and everyone hates you for it. So if you want to stay a part of this passive aggressive, emotionally repressed Irish family, you’d do well to avoid the following topics:
-Aunt Judie’s gambling problem, how it bankrupted her playing card manufacturing company, how ironic you think that is, or how we all bet that would happen, especially because she won the betting pool.
-How our half-sister Lauren lost all her money in that pyramid scheme (what she calls a long and dedicated attempt to bring back the bring back The $25,000 Pyramid game show).
-The way Aunt Beth’s boyfriend pronounces “Carmel” like “Carmelanoma”.
-Our nephew’s terrible “I speak fluent sarcasm” shirt, despite the fact he is and has always been a mute.
-Grandpa Gabe’s hatred of any minority who repeatedly punches him in the face, though he for some reason gives white people a pass, no matter the ferocity of their pale, angry fists.
-Cousin Eddie’s Beanie Baby collection, his Baseball Card collection, his Stamp collection, or his collection fetish.
-Grandma Ester’s drinking problem where she refuses to drink anything besides half a RC Cola, a splash of fresh Apple Juice, two drops of molasses followed by fourteen more drops of molasses, a quarter of a lukewarm Red Bull, and then pour it all into the kitchen sink as she chugs a fifth of Vodka.
-Step-mom Angie’s glass eye, glass hand, glass ears, glass body, or Dad’s inability to accept that Mom left.
-That Dad’s friend Pete doesn’t have a family of his own but feels close enough to ours that he comes to our Thanksgiving to fill the emotional hole in his heart, or his new Mohawk.
-Uncle Frank. Just pretend he doesn’t exist. Everyone in the family agreed that if we do it for just two more years he’ll start wondering if he’s insane, and we’re all pretty excited for that.
-Our sister’s pill addiction.
-That our brother Kyle was adopted, then stolen by our parents, raised as our brother, found all this out, tracked down the people who adopted him, who turns out had stolen him from another family, that that family had stolen him as well, that this baby stealing business happened 4 more times, and that Kyle was actually our brother that had been stolen 2 months before the grief of his thief drove our parents to accidently resteal him. What a small world.
-That our half-brother Mike is still in the closet. Instead, just put your coat in the downstairs bedroom.
-That someone put the sticker “Honk if you’re a Knicks fan” on the back of Great Grandma Gertrude’s wheelchair six years ago. She has yet to find out about it, or figure out why Uncle Will keeps yelling “HONK” every time he sees her.
-How much you’ve disappointed the family. That’s more of a private conversation.
“Luke Strickler is a writer in New York, and a person everywhere else.