Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Speaking of Hell...


So, Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’m excited. Holidays with my family are extra fun because half of my family is very religious, and the other half is not. And I don’t mean in an, “I believe, but I don’t make it to church more than twice a year,” kind of way, I’m talking actual atheists. The only halfway reasonable people are the token agnostics and the three year old. He’s very non judgmental. And once the alcohol has been flowing for a while we get excitement of (come on, I have to), biblical proportions. Because sooner or later someone will let slip a blasphemous comment, usually unintentionally blasphemous (usually), and suddenly one half of us will announce that the other half of us is going straight to hell. If this happens after we’ve eaten then perhaps the evening just breaks up a bit early, but sometimes it happens before dinner, and that’s when things get really nice and awkward. And this year there will be moonshine.
So the day is going to go something like this. We will arrive at my grandparents’ (aka Nana and Grandpa), sometime in the early afternoon. (By “we” I mostly mean the younger two generations. There are four total.) We will begin drinking immediately. I’ve already mentioned this, but it deserves repeating mostly because I am excited about it; this year we are going to have moonshine. We’ve been sticking to beer and wine the last few years because my grandfather isn’t supposed to drink, so my grandmother hasn’t been keeping liquor in the house, which is such a bummer man, even though they never let us use the good whiskey for whiskey sours anyway. Something about expense and desecration.
So once we’re armed with libations it’s out to the patio, so that the smokers, who are dwindling in number, can indulge. In fact, I believe we’re down to one this year, don’t worry, mostly due to quitting, unless I have a relapse, which is possible (see moonshine), or unless Fun Jon makes an appearance, which is probable (see moonshine), and awesome, because Fun Jon out drinks, out smokes and out blasphemes us all. I’d like to say more about him, but by day he has a business to run, and my nephew to support, and my sister to adore, so his identity must be kept completely secret. Shit, I may have said too…Nah, it’s probably fine.
 Anyway, usually we play board games, loud board games, it’s amazing how much shouting and swearing is required for a game of Cranium. They don’t put that in the instructions. While we are outside shaming Nana with our rowdiness, Grandpa is inside trying to get a drink (only if he’s awake), if not, he’ll try for wine with dinner, but Nana won’t let him, because he’s on prescription medications for being old. Some people are uptight about booze and pills and Nana is one of them. I am not uptight about that at all, but unfortunately I have no reliable way to get prescription medications because I have yet to come across one of those great doctors that prescribe whatever you want. I hope that’s not an urban legend.
Then we’ll have dinner. At dinner there will be conversation. Sometimes it’s normal catching up family stuff. Sometimes, we debate things like what kind of poop would be the least unpalatable to eat. Really and truly. Of course in the scenario you are somehow forced to eat the poop, it’s not recreational poop eating. If you don’t already know, bunny poop is the best, because you can just swallow the little pellets without chewing. Theoretically. As far as I know this has not been tested in the field. Also, full disclosure, we did not reach a consensus on the bunny poop.
 At some point, no matter how those of us who are at all sensitive to conflict try to avoid it, religion will come up. This is when the real fun begins.  There will be some yelling, somebody will cry, and at least one person will be told that they are going to hell. Interestingly, the person who cries is never the person who has just found out about their impending damnation; the crier is usually the person who informed the damned of said damnation, which doesn’t make a lot of sense. Of course I could be underestimating how draining it is to break that kind of news to a loved one.
After that, if everyone hasn’t fled, we adjourn back outside. There will be more alcohol, because by then we really need it. We may play more games, and we may take the opportunity to poke gentle and oh-so-discreet fun at the evening’s combatants. Eventually there will be dessert, lovely dessert, some of it from the store, the best of it made. And that’s it. The sick part is I’m really looking forward to it. And not just for the moonshine.