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…During Thanksgiving Dinner: Part 1

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Hope you kids enjoyed your holiday! There’s nothing more American than giving thanks for what you have, then 8 hours later punching someone in the face over a TV. We sure do know how to be grateful! *tiptoes away from soapbox*

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The food and the shopping are now so close in competition that I’m not sure which one excites people more, but I do know that everyone eats. A lot. Thanksgiving is one of a few days when 250 million people eat the same meal: turkey, ham, stuffing (dressing if you’re from the South), deviled eggs, candied yams, mac-n-cheese, green bean casserole, mashed potatoes & gravy, pecan/pumpkin/sweet potato pie, etcetera, etcetera… And it’s usually the women of the family—even though men who cook are sexy—slinging the pots & pans. Now, friends… the most abominable thing any holiday cook can ever do is invite”guests” into the kitchen. HOLIDAYS ARE NOT THE TIME FOR BEGINNERS! It never fails that somebody brings a dish that’s under-cooked, too salty, or missing some ingredients. I blame the host/hostess for allowing such infractions, but you should observe certain decorum when figuring out what to eat & what to avoid.

#1: If you don’t know what it is, don’t eat it. Don’t even put it on your plate. You’re obligated to at least try it once you dig in the dish, and it gets a little weird when you try to eat unidentifiable substances. Not to mention, your family will see what’s left on your plate. You’ll most certainly get yourself caught in a lie trying to explain why you didn’t like Cousin Jane’s Corn Casserole Surprise.

#2: If you don’t know who made it, discreetly ask. Don’t disdainfully blurt it out, because Cousin Jane’s probably gonna give you the stank face for the remainder of the evening and future family gatherings, leading to other problems (to be discussed in part 2).

#3: If you don’t see anyone else eating it, follow suit. There’s no way everybody in the family got it wrong, so take notes & skip the stuff grandma didn’t want. That way, if someone gets pissed, you fall under the umbrella of offenders, and you can’t be singled out.

If these things don’t seem to work, stop for a burger, get to dinner late, scope the table out, and ask your uncle if you can make a to-go plate. Not only can you specifically pick what you want to eat, you can also taste while no one’s looking. Getting to dinner late means everyone’s already watching football & making afternoon nap preparations: no one’s still in the kitchen or at the table.

Since we’ve already passed the big day, reserve today’s tips for Christmas dinner. I’m sorry if you needed this a few days ago, and I hope you made it through the day with minimal issues. Stay tuned for part 2, because we still have a lot to talk about.

…When Your Personal Space Disappears

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We Americans value our rights. You know, it’s all those inherited entitlements we so dearly treasure. We can organize rallies in protest of laws or print exposés about the politicians we love to hate, and our government will protect us. We can say almost whatever we want or worship any god we choose, because the “Long Arm Of The Law” keeps us covered. But, (and there’s always a but) our most prized entitlement has no protection.

I’m a Walmart fiend. Doesn’t matter what time of day it is, doesn’t matter how much money I don’t have: I’m always at Walmart. Aside from the fact that they only open 6 of the 87 checkout lanes available, I always end up in line with a Personal Space Violator. And y’all know what I’m talking about… it’s the person who thinks you’re trying to advance the line every time you inch closer to the conveyor belt. The worst part? In your efforts to defend your space, you end up becoming a P.S.V. yourself! Don’t even try to explain your actions, because once you’ve intruded, there’s no excuse to justify the infraction. Now everybody’s pissed off and uncomfortable (a dangerous combination in Walmart), trying to regain a reasonable amount of breathing room. The P.S.V. won’t limit infractions to the grocery store, either. You can find these criminals all in your sangria at the bar, looking in your back pocket in the parking deck, or even picking your boogers on the train. You don’t have to identify yourselves, but I know some of y’all are habitual P.S.V.’s! Fret not; help is on the way!

Pictured below is the Personal Space Diagram, followed by a brief explanation of each category:

1.) Social – reserved for waiting in line (i.e. – grocery store, bathroom, fast food restaurants); 2.) Personal – acceptable in large groups, or in places where personal space is limited (i.e. – public transportation, bars, clubs, sporting events; 3.) Intimate – only appropriate with individuals you would kiss, hug, or tell secrets (no examples necessary)

There’s obviously some flexibility within each category, because we don’t all have the same aversions to strangers (or creepers we’ve come to love). However, this guide works well when you need to figure out if someone’s all in your grill. On the flip side, you can use this to stay out of other people’s space. The most important thing here is everyone’s comfort level. It takes time to learn people, so a few initial violations are ok. But if you continuously ignore someone’s personal space, you’ll turn into the weirdo nobody wants to be around. And I don’t want to see that happen to anyone!