12B - The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine - Thursday, December 5, 2002
The Michigan Daily - Weekend Magazine
Continued from Page 5B
Feeling relief when my family picks
on my brother instead of me: It's a guilty
pleasure, but they're focused on his girl-
friend's nose ring instead of the fact they
all think I'm gay.
Hanging out at the kids' table: I can
spill a little food without someone lament-
ing the death of a tablecloth. That takes
most of the pressure off right there. Add to
that a healthy mix of four-to-twelve-year-
old conversation, and potential for relax-
ing family functions abounds. Now that
I've established a rapport, I can tell my
aunt after dinner that I'll "hang out and
play video games with the kids and make
sure they're taking turns." The kids will be
My aunt, powerless against the happy
children, cannot admonish me for not
playing Trivial Pursuit with the rest of the
family. (There is a second brief pang of
guilt for my brother and his girlfriend and
her nose ring, but that is quickly washed
away by a few games of "Grand Theft
Auto." I'll admit later, with some admira-
tion, that my nine-year-old cousin is much
better at the game than I am.)
Finding the dog: The dog gets taken
for more walks during holidays than all
the other days of the year combined. I
always notice other people in the neigh-
borhood doing the same thing. I usually
let my dog sniff the other dog's asses.
C'mon. He's on vacation too.
The dog is also indispensable during
dinners. By placing it strategically under
the table, I can feed him whatever I don't
want to eat, which is far easier than
explaining to grandma that I'm a vegetari-
an. After the meal, when everyone is fight-
ing over who gets to walk the dog, he usu-
ally goes to me because I was feeding him.
Going to see an over-hyped movie:
What better way to pretend we get along
as a group than to make a trip to the local
cinema, where we can sit in the dark and
not talk to each other? This year I'm going
to suggest "8 Mile." Eminem is for the
children (Just not,,the gay or female chil-
Hooking up with my old girlfriend: I
don't manage to sneak out while the adults
are putting the kids to bed, "I'm going
over to 's house" almost always
works. My parents recognize there is
weight attached to the name of the girl,
and partly out of their embarrassment at
not being able to remember which one she
was -they've lumped together with the
rest of the failures I don't bring around
anymore - they let me go. I always take
her leftovers as a peace offering.
Having a conversation with a rela-
tive in which neither of us mentions the
food: It won't happen. If it's not good, I
don't say anything. Something vague,
like "That was a great meal," suffices. Or
just nodding agreement when someone
else says it.
Returning to Ann Arbor early:
Making up something about having a job
or lots of work to do in preparation for the
coming semester usually allows me to
leave home the day after New Year's. See
you in the Deuce.
Staying sane for
By David Enders
Weekend Food and Drink Critic
Congratulations. You survived
Thanksgiving. Just a couple more weeks
before the extended holiday. Since most
of us gain weight this time of year to
cope with the grim realities of family
dinners, I decided not to write about
food this week. Instead, I'm offering
other suggestions for dealing with the
(Of course, I don't have that problem.
I gain weight because of the novelty of
being home: A place where there is
something other than two-week-old Chi-
nese food and beer in the fridge. Why do
you think I'm the food critic? That's
right. I don't know how to cook. But for
you food-addicted losers, here are my
Substance abuse: My Uncle Les
consistently sneaks outside for some
Wild Turkey between dinner and dessert.
And breakfast and lunch. And then
there's his ... wife?
(Me and mom in the other room. I
think I was around six:
"Which number wife is this for Uncle
"Shhh ... I don't remember honey.
Just go introduce yourself to your ...
Pot brownies split between friends
can provide a number of tolerable din-
ners. I plan on extra fun trying to guess
which of my relatives also baked before
going over to grandma's house.
Start smoking. I'm going to spend
most of my time excusing myself to take
"walks" for cigarettes. Regardless of the
The key drawback of the substance
abuse method is that deprivation of any of
the above addictions can lead to the
employment of less effective options, e.g.
Football: I didn't care on Thanks-
giving. I still won't care when team-I-
don't-care-about plays in
bowl-I-don't-care-about. A bunch of
kids from some school will get the
chance to riot in a different town than
they normally do. But in the few days
preceding the break, I'll take some
time to read about the upcoming
gamesorhwatch "Sportscenter" until
my eyes hurt. Then I have a tool for
avoiding relatives who don't like foot-
ball and potentially embarrass the
ones that do by spouting my newfound
knowledge like gospel. I'll award myself
points when I catch any one of my fami-
ly members quoting " Sportscenter" ver-
batim and call them on it.
The cell phone: Oh look! It's an
important call from one of my friends
from school. She's calling because she
hates spending time with her family too!
"I'm going outside."
"Can't you call them back, honey?
We're looking at pictures of grandma's
Great Lakes cruise."
"My hearing aid is making that noise
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