There’s few things I like more than Thanksgiving. Who wouldn’t love a chance to start drinking at noon, eat dinner at 2 pm, and nap in front of a football game until it’s time to start drinking and eating again?
But as the great philosopher Spiderman observed: “With great power comes great responsibility.” Ideally, turkey day is all about love, togetherness, and homecoming, but all those benefits come with a dark side.
And that dark side’s name is Great Uncle Paul.
“I don’t know why President Dork-bama wants me to take in terrorists,” sputters Great Uncle Paul, in between forkfuls of jello salad. It’s tempting to throw down your buttered roll, grab your phone and start quoting statistics in order to show the rest of the family how intellectually superior you are.
In fact, you are probably in the right. The Great Uncle Pauls of the world invariably get their news from sources that feature overweight shouting white guys who want you to liquidate your savings to invest in gold.
But being in the right doesn’t really count for much in the Thunderdome that is the family Thanksgiving table. It’s far more important to be politic than to be the undisputed winner of the argument about refugees or global warming.
Here’s five alternatives to resorting to a screaming match with someone whose mantra is “Jet fuel can’t melt steel beams:”
- Rise above it all. Whether you meditate, practice yoga, or just drink heavily, maybe your best option is a metaphorical escape. Every time Great Uncle Paul mentions “welfare queens,” or talks about his tax dollars, go to your happy place. If that happy place is at the bottom of your wine glass, who am I to judge?
- Wage a whisper campaign. Find opportunities to sneak off with your political compatriots to snark on the goings-on at the dinner table. Volunteer to go get more ice or mashed potatoes and bring along your most sympathetic cousin. After all, misery loves company.
- Confuse the enemy. Engage with Great Uncle Paul, but do so erratically. Appear to agree with his ignorant viewpoints and then add your own twist. A suggestion: “I agree completely that we should end Medicaid for teen moms. In fact, I think we should force them to perform all medical care on each other.”
- Take to social media. It can be cathartic to complain to strangers about your insane family. Even better, maybe liveblogging Great Uncle Paul will lead you to a book deal, or at least a new group of Twitter friends. Feel free to embellish for the sake of drama.
- Take political action. Make note of the causes Great Uncle Paul impugned, then make donations to charities in his name. Is he belching about teachers getting paid too much? Donate to your local school or PTA. Was he particularly racist? How about giving to #BlackLivesMatter? For extra points make sure they send Great Uncle Paul a thank you card.
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever heard at the Thanksgiving dinner table? How do you deal with ignorance and hate from family members? Let us know in comments or on Twitter.