By Bill Derby
I reviewed a number of ‘what not to discuss’ subjects at your Thanksgiving meal tomorrow. Most lists included the same subjects of ‘don’t discuss!’
When my old company bought a group of family-owned newspapers in South Dakota, a few of the former family owners continued to work with us. They were a great family and well-known, upstanding citizens but notorious for their family Thanksgiving meals. They all shared with me their family fights during Thanksgiving. It never failed each year their Thanksgiving holiday was spoiled by family political disputes with all going home mad and not talking to one another for weeks after. They were opinionated and very political. Maybe that was the reason.
Listed below you will find a minefield of subjects you ‘Don’t Discuss at Thanksgiving.’ Many issues or arguments can be fueled by excessive squeezed grape liquids or more powerful libations.
• Politics: One writer suggested, “This is a no-brainer. In today’s world, rational thoughts on politics is like spraying a blowtorch around the dining room.” Will Rogers prayed: “Congress meets tomorrow morning. Let us all pray: Oh Lord, give us strength to bear that which is about to be inflicted upon us. Be merciful with them, oh Lord, for they know not what they’re doing. Amen.”
• Other people’s kids: No, they all aren’t perfect and neither are your youngins. Sure, they may be amazing with accomplishments, but who cares. In our family when we were young, we were all made to sit at a separate table, maybe so the adults could talk about us.
• The Ex: Don’t talk about the ex-wife, ex-husband, ex-boyfriend or girlfriend. No one cares and is considered family gossip unless the ex was a movie star. Then, it’s ok.
• Climate Change: Well, of course the climate is changing. That’s what killed the largest Mammoth in the world out at the Gray Fossil site according to the experts. The question is why and you don’t need to discuss it. Go visit the Gray Fossil Site instead.
• Family History: Every family has issues and problems unless you have recently completed a DNA Ancestry family history origin and discovered that you aren’t who you thought you were. Let them lie during Thanksgiving and be thankful for the ones that showed up for a free meal.
• Money: Don’t need family or friends telling you what to do with your cash or lack thereof. If they knew anything about money in the first place, you would be flying down to Cancun to eat a prepared turkey dinner on their yacht.
• Conversation: It is a proven fact that many people today have lost the art of conversation. And that leads to people talking about themselves. Before you arrive for dinner, think of something smart to talk about like the weather, home improvement or the theory of life on other planets.
• Your medical problems: “Geeze, it hurts when I sit down on these dining room chairs or look at this ugly wart growing on my thumb.” The worst is, “I’m having a few digestion issues, etc.!”
• Vegetarians: Even if the dead turkey carcass is right in front of you, please don’t mention your vegetarianism or tofuism. Keep it to yourself and eat all the veggies. That means more meat for the rest of us.
• The dinner in front of you: Never fails someone is going to say “the gravy needs more salt” or “do you think the turkey is really done?” “Is that a Butterball or just a fat chicken?”
• Your job: Unless you are a pitcher for the Houston Astros or a page for Senator Shmuck or your name rhymes with pump, don’t talk about your job. Leave the work at the office. This is a holiday.
• Other people’s decisions: Second guessing family member’s decisions is the number one reason not to talk about issues but families love to make this mistake. As an example, “Why isn’t your brother married yet?”
• Drunk Talk: Good ole Uncle Albert has had his five glasses of wine or the hard stuff and is full of opinions and could bring up any one of the above. Losing your faculties sip by sip is a motive to ‘shut up’ or go watch the football game way off in the other room.