Next Saturday is the part of Christmas I hate most.
I love my wife, I love her immediate family, I even like some of her aunts, uncles, and cousins. But there is one branch of the family I just can’t stand to be around… The Redneck Branch.
Every year I pray that we won’t be able to go to the “Redneck Christmas Party.” It’s not that it’s a dull party by any stretch of the imagination. It’s just that they are so insufferably false, loud, drunk, and… all that.
This is the branch of the family that believes in the healing power of magnets (which they sell) and is going to get rich, any day now, by selling Amway, flipping houses, pimping financial aid to students, selling noni juice, and by following every other convoluted “get rich quick scheme” they can find on late night infomercials. The fact that they’ve been doing this for 30 years and are still dirt poor not withstanding.
I remember one year, probably my first year after marrying my wife, sitting in the living room, feeling totally out of place (I guess that's because I’m not a Nascar fan, ie. I don’t belong) talking to one of them, (they all look the same to me) and telling them that, yes, I was a student. They must communicate via redneck radar or something because the next thing I know, I was standing in the den, and my wife’s uncle is trying to sell me a list of places to go for financial aid. I don’t remember the price for this photocopied list, but I remember that I would have needed financial aid just to cover the price of the paper. I was new to the family (2 months) so I didn’t want to tell him a flat "no," or even a "hell no," but at the same time I wanted to tell him exactly where he could shove his list. So I was as nice as I could be, and thanked him for his concern about our financial future, but that I was fine, financially, for the time being. I don’t think that my refusal went over very well, because I’ve been an outcast ever since… and I couldn’t be happier about it.
Even though I’m a Mormon, I’m not apposed to drinking at Christmas Parties. It’s the holidays; imbibe in some holiday cheer if you think you need to. Just because I choose not to, and teach my children that Jesus gets sad when you drink alcohol, and I tend make fun of you when you’re passed out on the floor, should in no way infringe on your right to get smashed in celebration of the saviors birth… really g’head. Just keep it low-key if you don’t mind. Better yet, why don’t you just step into the closet with that fifth of Jack… there’s a good little alcoholic.
There has always been drinking at my family parties. It’s just that they do keep it in the background. Wine, in stemware is the drug of choice for my side of the family. For the Rednecks… nothing but Bud, in the can, will do. I did get a little annoyed when they started stashing the empties on the kid’s table, but other than that, they were pretty in yer face about it. I’ve never smelled a bar before, but I’m pretty sure that the smell from the kid’s table was the closest thing to it. I’ll tell you, nothing goes better with green Jell-O and Little Smokeys than the smell of a stale beer can. Mmmmm-Mmm.
My wife’s brother gave up on them a long time ago. In fact, I don’t remember ever seeing him or his family there... ever. Well, maybe the first year I was in the family, but never after that. It’s just that my wife is a far nicer person than her brother or I am. That’s one of the things that I love about her, but it also means that I have to endure the rednecks for 3 whole hours of my life every year. Is that fair? 3 hours of my life wasted so that my wife can feel good about herself?
So, I wonder what they have in store for us this year? I wonder how many of them have pierced their nipples, or gotten a new tattoo to show the family. I wonder how many of them have added grandchildren, of whom, the identity of the father (or mother) is still in question.
(You think I’m joking… I’m not!)
I just pray that this year my good lady wife will finally have enough and calls it quits. That she gives up on the rednecks and their base and disgusting ways. That this year they finally go to far… oh yes… I’m talking fights, brawls, and greased pigs.
Maybe I can start it… I can see it now. One of them reaches into the pile of white elephant gifts and pulls out a Jeff Gordon action figure… Ya, I don't know who he is either... but they sure do hate him...
Think that'll work?
No... me neither...