Sometimes I take a day off from writing and that day becomes a week. Good thing I caught myself now, since that week could just as easily have become a fortnight. Or maybe a megasecond, which is equal to 1 million seconds or approximately 11.6 days. After that, the lustrum (5 years), followed by an indiction (15 years).
My aunt asked me at Thanksgiving if I was going to write about the evening on my blog. The answer, naturally, was Yes. But now I’m not so sure. I’m comfortable poking fun at established figures in society or broad concepts like “travel” and “washing machines,” but I don’t know if I’m quite prepared to sarcastically exaggerate the largely normal events of a typical family Thanksgiving. I don’t know, in general, if I’m ready to discuss my family at all here. They are, after all, some of my most stalwart readers. I’m sure there’s a classic aphorism that would express my feelings succinctly, possibly involving gift horses or shitting in inopportune places.
“Don’t shit in a gift horse’s mouth.”
I feel like I have to reach another level of fame before I can play the “Here’s my wacky family!” card. Fame along the lines of David Sedaris or Tina Fey, most likely. They both have nominally bland families, but with a little narrative juicing they can crank out a tear-jerker and/or barn-burner about a typical family get-together. That speaks both to the fact that these authors are accomplished essayists and that they’re rich and powerful enough to burn those fucking bridges to the ground with nary a concern.
Alternatively, I could go the path of Augusten Burroughs or Jeannette Walls, who burst onto the literary scene by exposing all of their family’s darkest secrets in emotionally jaw-dropping tomes. My only problem there is that, well, we’re just not that interesting. One acrimonious divorce, a little bit of alcoholism, an uncle who died very young, a variety of cancers and liver ailments – I’m not sure even my vaunted literary skills could pull these disparate elements together into a narrative that comes anywhere near to “I was raised by my mother’s psychiatrist and his bizarre, unorthodox family” or “My parents were restless, alcoholic, violent, brilliant nomads.”
My opening line might read: “My family is very much like your own.” After, would follow a series of adjectives that describe families: “Tough, interesting, determined, stubborn, indefatigable, irreverent, ugly, shifty, sneaky, sly, syrupy, etc.” Then, to tie it all together in a light-hearted way, I would reference the gift horse and shit again.
“Never look in a gift horse’s shit!”