The big family Thanksgiving almost went this well.
You’re back at the big family Thanksgiving for another year of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, yams, a giant heaping of accusation and guilt, and copious amounts of liquor to numb the senses.
They’re all there: grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles, cousins, second cousins, Cousin It, fat hobbits, in-laws, out-laws, felons, those still awaiting trial, significant others, insignificant others, and the cast of that creepy movie The Others.
Your family is a bit like the Manson Family, but your leader isn’t in prison.
You’re in for a treat this year because your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) is going to cook the turkey in a deep fryer.
You question the wisdom of allowing your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) to operate a deep fryer as his presence seems to frequently precede catastrophe.
You decide to check on your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) to see how he is doing. Not out of concern, but out of the sheer the enjoyment you derive when bad things happen to him (your uncle–the volunteer firefighter).
Note: you may think I’m bringing up the point that your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) is a volunteer firefighter a little too often. But it’s not as often as he brings it up.
“How are things going with the turkey,” you ask.
“Things are going great–I’m volunteer firefighter you know,” he boasts.
“I’ve heard that once or twice,” you tell him. “It’s just that…when you leave a place, things tend to be on fire that weren’t on fire before you got there. You’re really more like a fireman from Fahrenheit 451 than a genuine firefighter.”
“If I understood that reference, would I be pissed off?” he asks you.
You explain that Fahrenheit 451 is a Ray Bradbury novel set in a dystopian future where firemen start fires rather than putting them out.
“If I knew what dystopian means, would I be pissed off?” he follows.
“I think you’d be fine with it,” you reply.
You decide you don’t actually want to be within the blast radius when events unfold as they inevitably will, so you go back inside.
You discover one of your cousins sitting on the couch moping because her boyfriend couldn’t be there. It seems coming within one-hundred feet of your family is a parole violation…for him and 12 different members of your family.
One of your uncles enters the house in full blood-stained camouflage hunting gear. You ask him if he had any luck in the woods today.
“What makes you think I’ve been hunting today,” he replies.
You walk away quickly.
One of your aunts comments on how well things seem to be going this year. “There hasn’t been one stabbing yet,” she exclaims. Then she shows everyone how well the bayonet wound in her face is healing.
One of your cousins is reminiscing about the year her father was carving the turkey and inadvertently cut his thumb off.
Note: he drinks.
Clarification: he drinks an enormous amount.
Luckily your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) was there to administer first-aid.
“The doctor said they could have reattached the thumb if it hadn’t caught on fire,” your cousin comments. “The doctor said he had never seen something packed in a bag of ice catch on fire before.”
You spend some time talking to the guy with the eye-patch and the hook for a hand. You have no idea how you’re related to him, but he’s the only one you actually get along with.
You have no idea who this guy is, but you like him.
Your aunt arrives with a bunch of homemade pies, creating a horrible dilemma: you love sweet potato pie, but your aunt is a twisted wreck of hatred and soul-devouring evil…but you love sweet potato pie.
Your uncle (the one you refer to as Two-Faced Rat-Bastard) starts to make an announcement.
“I’ve discovered something disturbing about my wife,” he says.
“We’ve all heard about her vestigial penis,” you tell him.
“It’s not the penis thing,” he says, “it’s something much worse.”
But before he can make his announcement, another cousin bursts through the door to tell everyone your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) has accidentally set his face on fire.
“How did that happen?” your aunt yells.
“I don’t know,” your cousin responds. “It just burst into flames like the Hindenburg. One minute he was just standing there telling us about how he’s a volunteer firefighter, the next minute he’s burning like he’s full of hydrogen.”
“Did anyone put the fire out?” your aunt demands.
“We tried. He just yelled, ‘don’t worry, I’ve got this, I’m a volunteer firefighter.’” Then he ran into the barn and shoved his face into a big pile of hay.
“And that put the fire out?”
“No,” your cousin answers. “Also, the barn’s on fire now.”
As luck would have it, as your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) was running from the barn after setting it on fire, he tripped and fell face first into a pile of cow manure, extinguishing the fire on his face.
“Amazing,” you comment, “normally the bullshit is coming out of his face, not going into it.”
Your family stares at you with a level of hatred that’s more intense than normal.
“Relax,” you tell them. “At least it wasn’t a stabbing.”
Your uncle (the volunteer firefighter) was here.