No family gathering is complete without at least three political discussions so passionate they clear the room. To aid you at your forthcoming Thanksgiving feast, here is a proposed list of timely dinner topics, sure to make your evening a night to remember.
Inflation? Yay or nay?
Does Joe Biden sniff women? Or do women sniff Joe Biden?
Jeff Bezos, or Elon Musk?
Bernie Sanders, or Elon Musk?
What’s Mike Pence up to these days?
Can cryptocurrency be most likened to the Holland tulip bulb mania of the 1630s?
Was Aaron Rodgers immunized?
Airline seats – to recline, or not to recline?
Meghan Markle versus Piers Morgan.
Janet Jackson versus Justin Timberlake.
Britney Spears versus Justin Timberlake.
Britney Spears versus Christina Aguilera.
Britney Spears versus all of the other Spears.
Is Benedict Cumberbatch hot?
Wired headphones? Or wireless headphones? What’s cool now?
Did Epstein kill himself?
The ecclesiastical calendar, subdivided by the difference between All Saints Day and All Souls Day.
The pros and cons of Kamala Harris’ laugh.
Is Jennifer Lawrence hot?
Is Justin Bieber a good singer?
Turkey and gravy soda – a genius invention, or a monstrosity inflicted upon man?
The First Amendment.
The Second Amendment.
The Third Amendment.
Nicolas Cage’s acting career – please submit responses in the form of a dissertation.
Why is everything so expensive?
I, for one, look forward to discussing the elusive sex appeal of Pete Davidson, whether or not Joe Biden’s neurologic exam was honest and above board, and to finally resolve, once and for all, whether aliens are invading Hawaii.
Sarah Brown is, what her grandmother would call, an instigator. Tweet her @BrownsClose1 or email her at email@example.com. “Close” is a British term for alley or cul-de-sac.
There is a Facebook prompt going around that brought me a welcome respite from the otherwise angry political, mask, and/or election messages.
“Can you describe your favorite movie in as boring a way as possible?”
Responses were admirable:
“A group of short men spend a long time walking. They end up throwing away a piece of jewelry.” (The Lord of the Rings)
“A teenage boy doesn’t want to go to school, so he picks up his girlfriend and hypochondriac friend, and they drive around Chicago.” (Ferris Bueller’s Day Off)
“A number of people go to an amusement park where the attractions are not working as intended. The power goes out, and after a day or so the people leave.” (Jurassic Park)
“A woman falls for her boss and his kids. They go for a hike.” (The Sound of Music)
And my personal contribution –
“A guy drives south and is arrested for murder. He’s saved by his cousin.” (My Cousin Vinny)
This got me thinking. In a year where every day seems to be a repetition of the previous day (Groundhog Day), why don’t we reflect on our daily activities in as exciting a way as possible? For example, my days were always action packed, and COVID-19 has only heightened the mayhem.
The day starts when I bound down the hallway, fire up my computer, and glance through my work emails. There is an offer for me to appear in CEO Today Magazine, for the scant price of 1,500 British pounds. This is the fifth such offer in two weeks. I am not a CEO, and I am not British.
My gaze shifts to one of my many other browser windows currently open, where I read about the recent Twitter hackings of high-profile accounts. Such victims include former President Barack Obama, former Vice President Joe Biden, probable 2020 President-elect Kanye West, and likely alien Elon Musk. I am elated I have not yet fallen victim to Twitter Hacker, Cozy Bear, or his associate, Fancy Bear. Fancy Bear is now what I call my mother when I wish to annoy her.
An Outlook Calendar Reminder pops up; it’s Five-Minutes-to-Zoom. I dial in, and am admitted to a meeting with other industry professionals around the nation. One company’s representative does not realize his mic is on. He is speaking to someone off camera.
“Go in the corner and clean up that poop. That poop. That poop there in the corner. We can’t have this place looking like a garbage dump.”
His pets, presumably, were at it again.
At noon, I step onto my front porch for a breath of fresh air. My neighborhood is often a source of whimsy, and today is no different.
One of my neighbors is painting bloody handprints across the front of her house. She completes this pastiche with a giant red “X” on her front door, and then drags a seven-foot-tall red-rimmed cross for display next to the street.
A line of cars starts to congregate outside of her house. The neighbors all get out to gawk at her handywork, and whisper to each other. A middle-aged woman on a bicycle wearing a helmet and backpack begins taking frantic photos from the opposite side of the road.
The posse of neighbors confronts the woman. While her initial reaction is to shout back at them in an even louder voice, she eventually recognizes she is outnumbered. She backs down and drags the cross back into her garage. She leans it gingerly against the wall, and then hurls the entire contents of her municipal garbage can out onto her front lawn and into her driveway.
In a final crescendo, she places a giant handwritten sign in her front window. It reads, “We love.” The “o” in “love” is a smiley face.
I watch the property value of my home evaporate.
Chased away from the fresh air out front, I return to my home office, where I open my window. Perhaps I can enjoy the breeze from out back.
I am immediately treated to the high-pitched shouting of the man who lives next door.
“I am triggered whenever I watch The Shining!”
(“A family moves to a hotel in the off season, but goes back to Denver in the middle of winter.”)
“That’s when it happened! It was at the chalet in Switzerland when I was two! That’s why I stopped eating fruits and vegetables!”
Whatever made Next Door Man forever forsake plant-based food products must assuredly be traumatic. Feeling ethically compelled to respect his privacy, I begrudgingly shut the window, and finish out the day working in a stuffy, hot room.
At the close of the workday, I sit on my couch and look for something to watch on television. Crimson Peak is running (“A girl falls in love with a guy and moves to his house. The house is condemned, but she gets some help from its prior residents”).
I stare at the screen hypnotically until the credits roll.
That night, I have a number of nightmares about living in a sinking house in the middle of nowhere. In one dream, I wander around the house, watching red matter seep out of the walls. I don’t really panic, however, until I put all of my clothes into one of the house closets. I am unable to locate the closet again, and thereby lose all of my clothes.
I wake up sweating, and turn on the fan in my room.
It was a thrilling day indeed.
Sarah Brown is a folk hero. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org, and on Twitter @BrownsClose1. “Close” is a British term for alley or cul-de-sac.