The American version of Thanksgiving is this week, and whether you celebrate the holiday as a gathering of family or a get-together for friends, the day can always be a mixed bag in terms of the quality of people who show up. Sometimes they're family members you're obligated to invite, sometimes they're friends of friends, but somehow there's always someone who makes the day memorable, but not necessarily in a good way. Here are 11 characters who might rain on your Thanksgiving Day Parade.
Thanksgiving is an eating man's (or woman's) holiday, no doubt. Despite the trappings of “thankfulness” or “caring about one's family” or “football rivalries,” the real reason for this season is getting f***ked up on tryptophan until you pass out in a pool of your own gravy. And as good as that piping hot turkey fresh from the oven might taste, we all know the very finest hour of Thanksgiving weekend is when you slather the mayonnaise on that first leftover turkey sandwich. You know this, I know this.
But there won't be any leftovers for anyone if you invite Tenzil Kem to dinner. He will eat all the turkey, dressing, sweet potatoes, corn, rolls, all the butter, that weird artichoke whatever your aunt brought, the green bean casserole with the fried onions on top, the napkins, the napkin rings, silverware, plates, platters, serving spoons, ladles, gravy boats, any hand turkey drawings that may be present, and that cornucopia centerpiece you made in third grade that your mom still sets out every year. He will eat more than your potential leftovers. He will eat your memories. Go back to the future, Tenzil Kem.
“Oh, hey, Uncle Dudley. What? Oh. Yeah. Yeah, I think there's another bottle of Scotch around somewhere. No, I definitely agree. Kids today do not know the value of a dollar. You think we should charge for fighting crime? O...okay. Yeah, I'll ask the others about it. Sure, a fine idea. No, I'll ask them, I promise! Yes, I've heard of twerking. No, I've never done it. No, I don't think Mary does it either. Selfies? Yeah, Mary might have taken some selfies. Hey, Uncle Dudley, didn't I see you on TV recently?
This is supposed to be a family get-together, or a gathering of friends, or both. Some of us rarely see each other through the year, and so here we have come together around a beautifully-made meal to enjoy each other's company and talk about all the things we've done since last we met. But there's always that one who can't be bothered to join in the discussion, or even listen politely. That someone who spends the entire evening shut off from the rest of the family, staring down at their phone. That mess is just multiplied exponentially when their whole body IS a phone.
P.S. Don't let Tony near the wine. But you knew that already.
Don't get me wrong: this friend is a cool guy. He's lots of laughs, has tons of interesting stories, and has the best party tricks. Definitely an asset to an otherwise sleepy Thanksgiving afternoon. His problem is he just can't seem to find someone to settle down with. He's out with a new girl every week, and since he's known more for his cool hair than his judgment, they are almost universally terrible. And he DEFINITELY wants to ruin YOUR holiday memories by bringing one of these new girls by for Thanksgiving. It's a roll of the dice who you might have at your dinner table, but knowing Johnny Storm, it's a LOT more Lyja than Darla Deering.
Now, I know what you're thinking: obviously you don't invite the Brood Queen because she is an enormous, parasitic, insectoid alien who wants nothing more than to stab you with her ovipositor so that she can lay eggs in you in order to propagate her awful, pestilential species.
No, man. That is space-racist as hell, and I hope you are ashamed you thought it to yourself. The reason you don't invite the Brood Queen is because she has too many damn children, and you do not need a bunch of gross kids snotting up your holiday.
A major skill in going home for the holidays is being able to come up with strategically believable lies to tell your family about your life so that they do not spend the rest of the year in abject terror over your health and well-being. No, I am definitely going to get a job any day now. Yes, I am definitely eating healthy and absolutely not “sustaining” myself on cereal and Tombstone pizzas. No, living alone in the city is completely fun and not at all a Sartre-esque nightmare.
If you expend enough effort, you can maintain this facade from your arrival Wednesday evening to somewhere in the middle of your drive back on Saturday, at which point you will break down sobbing in the parking lot of a Cracker Barrel. But you won't even make it that long if you find yourself being compared to that one cousin who it seems is preternaturally empowered with being a success at everything. Your grandma will say, “Why can't you get a nice job like your cousin Michael? Don't you know he just bought a nice house?”
GTFO, Mister Terrific. Let me eat sweet potatoes and watch Charlie Brown in peace, you animal.
The flip side to this, of course, is that friend who somehow manages to actually be way, way sadder than you at life. Always broke and unemployed, you know the main reason he showed up at this party was for the largest free meal he will get for the entire year. His contribution to the meal was a single bag of Lay's potato chips, original flavor.
You know that if you checked his pockets when he leaves, you would find it was full of Ziploc bags that he stuffed with turkey, rolls, and mashed potatoes. And he takes his unopened bag of Lay's with him when he goes.
You know how you have that one friend who's really into politics, and usually that's fine? Like, you might have him or her over on a quiet Sunday evening and enjoy riveting and lively discussion of current events over some cocktails, whatever? Cool, yeah. It's cool and fun and worthwhile to be plugged in to what's happening around you and be informed and opinionated about it. But sometimes you just want to have a nice, peaceful, uneventful, restful family meal and then suddenly dude pipes up with, “Sure, this turkey is delicious. Too bad we had to perpetrate four centuries of genocide to enjoy it.”
Shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up shut up
There's something I have to tell you: your father has invited his boss over for Thanksgiving dinner. He was going to be all alone for the holiday, so your father took the chance and spoke up to ask him over, and he said yes. Now, he's a very powerful and wealthy man, and this could be a very good opportunity for your father, so it is absolutely imperative you are on your best behavior.
Dinner goes well. He brings a VERY expensive bottle of wine, at which your mother swoons. Everyone seems to enjoy themselves and no one says anything potentially damaging to your father's career. You mostly sit quietly and try not to be noticed.
But, oh no: he has noticed you. After dinner, he invites you to sit by him for a little chat. You have a very lovely home, he says. It would be a horrible shame if your family were to lose it due to...IMMIGRANTS.
Are you aware of the imminent threat illegal immigration is posing to Metropolis? he asks. Wait right here, he says. I have some literature you might find interesting.
The good news, my friends, is that the preceding characters are all entirely fictional; they are not likely to show up on your doorstep this Thursday. The bad news is, you know an all-too non-fictional person just like them who will undoubtedly be telling you their opinions all...day...long.