With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, you're going to have to do a few things you might not want to do to be able to do a few things you love. For example, you might have to interact with family members you can't stand just to get a couple of servings of grandma's homemade dressing, which is fantastic.
Or you might have to sit next to Uncle Paul in the den while you watch football. Normally, it would be okay, but Uncle Paul is a farter, and turkey sets him off. Your reward? The best piece of apple pie, with a scoop of ice cream, made by Uncle Paul's wife, Aunt Sandy. Really, Aunt Sandy's pie is the only reason Uncle Paul didn't get the shit kicked out of him three Thanksgivings ago after he farted at the dinner table and caused grandma to choke on the green bean casserole. The paramedics had to come, Grandma almost had to go to the hospital, but at least you got the number of the good looking EMT with the hazel eyes and killer smile.
Of course, you didn't get her number until she was patching you up after the big annual family fight caused the gravy ladle to go flying and hit you upside the head, causing a cut in your forehead that needed a few stitches.
So, how do you make it through Thanksgiving? Follow these simple rules, and you should walk out at the end of the day with a critical holiday victory.
Wear loose fitting pants: This is probably the most critically under looked aspect of a winning Thanksgiving gameplan. This is a day when you eat until you're uncomfortably full, and if you have waist constricting clothes, you've lost before the eating has even begun. Look, it's Thanksgiving, so you can't show up at Mom and Dad's wearing sweatpants. Remember when your sister's boyfriend did that four years ago? Jesus, what a tool. Whatever happened to him anyways? THE MOB, HE WAS IN THE MOB? Well, that explains it. Okay, if you're in the Mob you can wear sweatpants, but your Mom will box your ears for 'dressing like an uncivilized pig and you were raised better than that'. So, I recommend nice jeans at least one waist size too big, and wear a belt.
Be first in line for the food: If you're a kid, or a woman in a family that raised their men to have manners, you're golden. If you're a guy, this can be tricky. If you have to wait for 10 or 15 people to roll through the line, you're getting the shitty turkey scraps, and the burned edges of the side dish bowls. So you gotta be kinda stealthy about it. You can't barge in front of the kids, but oh hey there Aunt Janice, that pilgrim sweater with the LED lights you're wearing looks great and oh hey here's the food do you mind if I just grab a plate since I'm here already?
You, my friend, just got the choice pickings for everything, and Aunt Janice is going to love you for making her feel pretty awesome about wearing the most ridiculous sweater ever seen in the history of mankind. A winner is you.
Strategic seating for watching football is essential: There is an inherent problem when trying to watch football on Thanksgiving with a house full of people. If you sit too close to the bevy of activity, your ass will be getting 'hey you'd' all afternoon. Hey you, will you get up and get grandma another cup of coffee? Hey you, will you come help me get something done in the kitchen that really sucks to do, and at the end of it I'll yell at you for not doing it right? Hey you, there's so many people in the house the dog got scared and shit a yule log on the stairs, will you go clean it up?
So that seat is out. And unless it's your house and your chair, DO NOT SIT IN THE BARCO LOUNGER RECLINER, or as we call it in my family, the Throne of Royalty. It's 100% OFF LIMITS, and you will be unceremoniously thrown out of that chair, and you will have no one else to blame. And if it IS your house, that seat of honor goes to the eldest man in the house, anyway. So that's out, too. Unless, you know, you're the oldest guy.
And you can't be the doofus that rolls into the TV room last, because that means the only seat left is the chair that two cats have died in, is harder than a barrel full of woodpecker lips, and doesn't even face the TV. You just might as well stand at that point, because your back and neck is going to be screwed up for two weeks if you try and sit like a contortionist watching the game. But that makes you an even more vulnerable target to be 'hey you''d'. Hey you, can you come help me out here? What about Ted? Ted's already sitting down, I don't wanna bother him. FINE THIS IS BULLSHIT you think to yourself as Ted points and laughs and takes a big drink of beer.
No, find a comfortable part of the couch, or if you can get a decent chair, do it, but make sure it's about halfway to two thirds into the room away from the door to where everyone else is, making it exceedingly difficult for you to get up to do anything but go to the bathroom or get beers for everyone. Perfect.
Graze after the first two helpings: If your house is like most, the food just kind of sits out on the counter after dinner, open to all. TAKE ADVANTAGE OF THIS. The goal here is a delicate balance between uncomfortably full while not ripping the lining of your stomach that requires emergency surgery. Remember when your brother in law Frank did that in 2003? Holy crap we all rushed to the hospital, spent four or five hours there, and then we realized we forgot to kennel the dogs. When we got home, all the food was gone, there was a turkey carcass strewn across the floor like a body in a highway crash, and the living room looked like a dogshit minefield, man. Then you had to spend $7500 to rip out the carpeting and put in hardwood floors, because your wife was flipping out, but man, those hardwood floors look nice.
Still, every time you walk on that gorgeous hardwood floor all you can think of is that your idiot brother in law cost you $7500 because he was a dumbass. But he got his though, because he's on a liquid diet for the rest of his life. Bastard.
So graze. Don't take a full plate, grab a dessert plate, and put a piece of turkey on it, and maybe some yams. Maybe even make a mini turkey sandwich with a left over dinner roll. Take it easy, and don't cost your brother in law $7500. Times are tough, man.
Alcohol intake: Some people don't drink, which is fine. And some people SHOULDN'T drink, but they do. Too much. And that's bad, because it's that jackass that usually says something wildly inappropriate, pisses off your Dad who's never had an opinion he wouldn't share, regardless of the truckloads of butthurt that follow, and voila, the next thing you know you have your annual family shit show, Starring Dad and the stupid uncle who is either now passed out on the couch or throwing up in your bathroom. Your Dad runs upstairs to look for his shotgun so he can do 'SOMETHING THAT SHOULD'VE BEEN DONE 25 YEARS AGO FRANCINE', your Mom is weeping silently in the corner, and your sister is trying to comfort your Mom while you and your brother run upstairs before Dad really does find his shotgun and shoot that sumbitch. Meanwhile, Aunt what's her name is in the bathroom, standing over Uncle Piece of Work, wagging her finger, telling him she wants a divorce, and lamenting that she should've married 'Bernie Anderson, he's got a good job at the car dealership now as an assistant manager and look at you, you bum. THROWING UP ON YOUR BROTHER'S FLOOR AGAIN'.
I'm not saying don't drink. Just pace yourself, and enjoy the company of your family. Don't be Uncle THAT Guy. because if it wasn't for him, Thanksgiving would be pretty awesome. Make Thanksgiving awesome and drink water, if you have to, and don't be a toolbag.
Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, kids. I hope you're able to spend the day with close friends and/or family, and for those of you serving overseas in the Armed Forces and can't make it home, be safe. Thanks for walking the fence and keeping the bad guys at bay. I know days like this are tough; I went through more than my fair share of them. But thank you, each and every one of you, for doing what you do so I can enjoy my family and my grandsons tomorrow in safety and security.
Free beer on me when if you ever make it St. Louis way..