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A Table That Looks Like America

By Bob Woodiwiss · November 22nd, 2000 · Pseudoquasiesque

Hey-hey, look who's here. Welcome, welcome. Get on in here out of the cold. Good to see you. Let me take your coat. I'm so glad you could join us for Thanksgiving dinner.

No, you're absolutely fine, you're right on time. We're just sitting down at the table. Come on in the dining room and meet the family. Here, I saved this place next to me for you. Why don't you load up your plate and, while you do that, I'll just go around the table and introduce everyone.

OK, first, this sullen-looking mope to my right here is Donny, my cousin. Some of the family'll tell you Donny's an oddball, but most of us, we're pretty darn sure he's a full-blown sociopath. Anyway, all you need to know for today is that if he mumbles something in your direction always agree with him and, for God's sake, don't make eye contact.

Now, that empty chair is my mother's. Mom's in the kitchen getting -- oh, here she is with the rolls. Mom, I'd like you to mee -- Mom? Uh, well, that was her. Mom'll be the non-sitting, non-eating blur zipping between the dining room and the kitchen for the entire meal. What? No, don't be silly. Of course she doesn't need any help. A successful Thanksgiving for Mom is for us all to sit here on our lazy asses and let her show us how much of a burden the whole thing is for her.

That's Samantha, Donny's sister, there next to Mom's spot. But nobody calls her Samantha.

We call her Lucy. After Lucille Ball. Yeah, yeah, I know, she doesn't have red hair or look anything like her. Huh? No, she's not particularly funny, either. But she does have two no-talent kids by an ex-husband with an accent.

OK. Moving clockwise, we come to my sister, Julia. Fun fact about Julia: She's an adulteress. Which is to say, her boyfriend's married, not her. And you're not gonna believe this, but the guy is Amish. Swear to God. Amish! Frankly, I think he'd break it off tomorrow if she didn't let him drive her car.

Then comes my other sister, Jody. Now, I don't think I'm telling tales out of school to say this holiday is a challenge for Jody. She's always been a mighty big girl with a mighty big appetite. For years she tried pills, diets, support groups to lose weight. Unfortunately, none of it did any good, see, because, it turns out, her real problem is she has this nasty eating disorder, called amnesic bulimia, which is basically that she's always bingeing like a starving hyena but then, afterwards, she totally forgets to throw it up.

Passing her the gravy there is her husband, my brother-in-law, Fisher. Fisher just might be the most long-winded, tedious, wearing man on the planet. In fact, you bored the turkey to death for us this year, didn't you, Fisher?

Across from you is my Dad. Dad, stand up, we can't see you, the TV's in the way. Dad? Dad? Oh, well, we'll try him again at halftime.

To Dad's left is his brother, Casper. Very political, Casper is. Of the wacko far left variety. If you'd have come 10 minutes earlier, you could have seen his annual attempt to organize the children's table into a collective. He keeps pushing them to wrest control of the means of production and distribution of their refrigerator finger-paintings.

And that's Aunt Millie, Casper's wife. Donny and Lucy -- er, Samantha -- are theirs. But Aunt Millie is also like a second mother to me: cold, controlling, thinks salt is a food group, menopausal moustache. I even have a separate psychotherapist for issues surrounding her.

The young man on your right is my nephew, Blake. Blake turned 21 a few months ago and this is his first year at the adult table. Of course, to make a place for him we had to ship Grandma off to the nursing home, but, honestly, we're all looking forward to a meal that doesn't include a rambling brand comparison of adult diapers.

Finally, there's me. Whom you already know. A snotty smart-ass anxious to draw attention to himself while projecting his self-loathing onto others. Oh, and I'm half-drunk. The top half.

And that's it. That's the family. Excuse me? Yeah, sure, I guess. Hey, Mom! When you come back in here, could you bring a to-go plate? ©



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