Column: Holiday heartburn
And now a public service announcement for all you prodigal sons and daughters making the pilgrimage back home for the annual Turkey Day reunion. Prepare for some ultra ugliness out there, people. Expect extra enmity. You are entering enemy territory and should anticipate the landing area will be mined.
We’re not talking about the normal stomach spasms associated with tryptophan poisoning by over sampling the turducken or Aunt Hoogalah’s dupamouche. Beware the bubbling casserole dish nowhere near any apparent heat source.
This is more about the turmoil that could result from intermingling with family members who went down a different presidential preference path. It is said that people felt sort of passionate about this past election. It is also rumored that the Pacific Ocean is moist.
So, chances that supporters of either winning or losing candidate are prepared to let this one slide are about the same as a case of 16 pound sledge hammers thrown through a greenhouse in the dead of winter in Duluth, Minnesota is good for the broccoli rabe.
First things first - lock up all the liquor. Intoxicants and politics go together like lug nuts and garbage disposals. Same with the sharp objects. Remember, a stabbed aunt is no longer a cookie-making aunt. Collect smart phones at the door. Keep a tire jack handy in a prominent position for the particularly recalcitrant.
Declare the television off-limits, specifically the news. No CNN, MSNBC, Fox News, PBS, HBO, QVC or even HGTV allowed. Commandeer the remotes. If withdrawal symptoms persist, three NFL games are scheduled. This time around, football is your friend, even the Dallas Cowboys. But only this time.
Instead of turkey or ham, choose a menu that requires a mite more than the standard concentration. Alaskan King Crab legs, artichokes, jumbo prawns with the heads on, whole coconuts, poisonous puffer fish, pistachios, pomegranates. Engage the whole clan in a game of “Mushroom. Mushroom. Who’s Got the Bad Mushroom?”
If these precautions prove inadequate and your philosophical bent is called into question, consider these helpful responses to keeping altercations to a minimum.
How to skirt messy election questions at Thanksgiving dinner:
Feign ignorance. “Election? What election? There was an election?”
“How many times do I have to tell you, we residents of the planet Melmac are not allowed to interfere in Earthly affairs.”
“I voted for Ferris Buehler.”
Try something to offend everyone: “I don’t care who the president is, as long as Justin Bieber is still Dreamboat-in-Chief.”
Pander egregiously: “To me, there is now and always has been, only one president. Richard Milhous Nixon. (Or Ronald Wilson Reagan. Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Pick the apropos president for your particular situation. Alfred E. Newman.)
As soon as a direct question is asked, stare off into middle distance and begin to drool heavily.
Diversion: “Hey, did the mango chutney oyster dressing spontaneously combust,” then run into the bathroom and lock the door until the threat level dissipates.
Divert. “How bout them Niners?” (or Colts, or Packers, Cardinals or Roll Tide, whatever works geographically)
Giggle as if you thought they said erection. Continue to giggle and point, snickering “erection.”
“It’s the pets of the children of the Christian Vets I worry about.”
And finally, if all else fails, put your hands over your ears and sing the “la, la, la, la, la, la, la” song. Be prepared to repeat the refrain for 4 years.