Family Dinner

Illustration: Sean Hennefer

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I’d like to write about family dinners. Thanksgiving weekend is an awesome time of year, unless you work retail or hate your family. It’s a time to teach the children that us white people did not, in fact, fuck over the Indians, because there was an awesome dinner with Pocahontas and Squanto who taught the pilgrims how to gut a turkey or some shit like that.

With my Mormon mother getting deployed for her Mormon mission this month and my dad living out of state, my family dinner obligations with the rest of my big Mormon family have drastically reduced this year. Just so you know, out of four married sisters and one brother and two step families, I’m the only one who spends my Sundays at the bar taking shots of whiskey instead of shots of sacrament.

I did leave my name on the Mormon records, though. Why? In case shit ever really hits the fan, I can tell the church I’m on the list. And Mormon welfare is the bomb, yo! And as to my knowledge, I have to actually go to church to get ex-communicated, but whatever. As you can imagine, being the only heathen at the dinner table creates some interesting dynamics, to say the least.

When my Grandpa Miller was alive, a lot of the spotlight of fucked-up-ness was taken off of me and put on him. Grandpa Miller lived well into his nineties, as did my grandma, and if a fucked-up sense of humor skips a generation, I can thank him. He was a successful, retired accountant who made it known that he hated the Jews because, according to Grandpa, “They control all the money!” I never really understood that or cared to agree, but as long as he was getting yelled at by my mom for making racist jokes at the dinner table, it was easier for me to hide my hangover.

Grandpa was truly one funny son of a bitch. He was pretty deaf and had those big, old man hearing aids, so when you would talk to him at the dinner table, or anywhere else for that matter, conversations often shifted because he couldn’t understand a goddamn word you were saying. He would just go with it and reply to whatever he thought you said. It drove my mom crazy, but I thought it was hilarious. As he got older and more senile, the conversations just got better.

Whenever Grandpa would tell one of his dirty jokes at the dinner table, he would always pretend to not hear my mom and grandma yelling at him, while I would be the only one laughing. The funniest joke he ever told I didn’t even hear the set up, just the punch line. It was one of those long-winded story jokes, and after he started telling it, I got into a conversation with my step dad.
As soon as I stopped talking to my step dad, I heard my grandpa say, “That was the best sex I’ve ever had, but I can never eat in a McDonald’s again.” My mom totally lost her shit and I couldn’t stop laughing. If there’s an afterlife and I bump into Grandpa Miller in heaven or hell, the first thing I’m going to ask him is the set up to that joke.

Grandpa was also sent home on more than one occasion for making my pregnant sisters cry at the dinner table. In my opinion, the only time you can make fun of a pregnant chick is if she’s smoking or if she’s a nun. Telling my pregnant sisters that they needed to drop some pounds was a little harsh, but that’s just who he was.

With my grandpa’s passing and the rise of social media, family dinner became increasingly interesting for me. I’ve always done my best to be respectful toward my family’s values by not drinking booze in front of them and not teaching their kids swear words. But when they ask me how my weekend went, I can’t exactly tell them how awesome the last Fucktards show was.

During one family dinner, it didn’t take Sherlock Holmes to figure out that my family was creeping my Facebook page. A few months later, they found my Twitter feed. If you use your timeline to figure out how you got so wasted last night, having your big Mormon family follow you isn’t the best thing if you want to stay in the will. Oh well. I can’t hide my SLUG articles, and it sure as shit is going to make for some epic future family dinners.

Illustration: Sean Hennefer