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Holiday Hilarity

What is it about family gatherings that causes couples to expose each others' weaknesses? We can deal with our loved ones' quirks even to the point of glossing over them in day to day interactions, but as soon as we're around extended family, they seem to stick out like a sore thumb, and beg, plead, implore to be mercilessly yanked out and held up in a circus display of laughter and magic, while the one whose quirk is being exposed stands there like the chained bear in a tutu.

My brother and his girlfriend came for Thanksgiving over the weekend. They are young, thin whipper-snappers who I actually referred to as "skinny minnies" at one point, after which my brother asked, "did you just say 'skinny minnies'?" and caused me to realize how an out-of-body experience can be lightning quick and almost painless. It had to be an out-of-body experience, because there is no way "skinny minny" would naturally be in my vocabulary. Whipper-snapper is a whole different story. ANYWAY...

At one point, his girlfriend bonded with all of us by sharing that my brother had convinced her to LICK HIS EYEBALL by telling her she would have to get used to doing things that make her squeamish if she ever expects to do well in the medical field. I don't think my brother was too keen on her decision to share that information with his entire family, but he laughed it off in good sport, as he is wont to do on a regular basis, and actually managed to turn the whole thing around on her, pointing out that, after all, SHE had agreed to do it, under duress or not. That's why I love my brother; he can take attempts humiliation in stride. I wish I had that same talent. I'm not really sure where he got it, because my dad clearly didn't pass that gene on to him. After volunteering his theory that the recent flood of earth-destroying meteor movies is part of the government's slow, methodical plot to prepare the American public for an alien take-over sometime in this millenium, my dad was none too appreciative of his wife's jabs at him about it, and when he saw his chance for revenge, he took it. During one of our traditional conversations about "unexplained" phenomena (phenomenons? phenomenae?), she shared that she thought she'd had more than one literal out-of-body experience during dreams where she had flown through a blue forest and also traveled over a volcanic island. My dad piped up: "You give ME a hard time about conspiracy theories and you're sitting here talking about flying over blue forests?! I don't want to hear one more thing about my stories embarrassing you!"

Ah, family gatherings: The clink of toasting glasses, the pitter patter of happy children, the victorious exposure of spouses' quirky, embarrassing characteristics. It just warms my heart.

As a hilarious side note, our "unexplained phenomena" conversation included mention of "Mel's Hole", which is a supposedly bottomless pit in an undisclosed area of Washington into which a microphone was lowered, and the recorded sounds resemble what people can only describe as "hell." John and I were curious, and we told my brother to see if he could find the audio on the internet. When he handed my brother the laptop, John said, "you should be careful how you word it in Google. 'Mel's Hole' might bring up some porn sites." My brother and dad started in: "Beware of Mel's Hole, it's dark and endless." "You wouldn't want to go into Mel's Hole - you might not find your way out." "If you put a microphone in Mel's Hole, you won't hear anything good, I can tell you that."

Let me ask you this - what wife or girlfriend wouldn't exploit these two? (Jonathan, you know I love you.)

P.S. You can read more about my brother on his blog, at