Everyone, please? Everyone? If you could all stop arguing for a minute. Really, it doesn’t matter how you’d vote in the midterm elections. We’re Canadian, remember? Uncle Gary, if you wouldn’t mind putting your shirt back on. Yes, it’s an impressive and frankly terrifying tattoo, but I’d really like to take a minute before we dive into this delicious Thanksgiving feast to say a few words.
Thank you. No, no, we’ll get the broken glass later.
So. Here we are. It’s hard to believe that it’s been nine years since we last gathered as a family for Thanksgiving. Nine years. That’s like 14 years with two-thirds statutory release, am I right, Aunt Stella? Yes, your prison tatt is also impressive.
A lot has changed since we last saw each other. Well, partially saw each other; the smoke was pretty thick, and the fire trucks made it hard for all of us to gather around. But let’s let bygones be lawsuits. Here we are, limping towards the end of the 2010s, like our old dog Buster after the firecracker incident. Time flies when you’re having reconstructive surgery, right, cousin Randy? Blink once if you agree.
A part of me longs for those simpler times. No Trump, no CAQ, no terrible reboot of “Roseanne.” I remember when “me too” was just something you replied after someone said, “I think Grampa smells funny.” These days, everything is so complicated.
Take cousin Kelly here. Hi, Kelly. Kelly has decided to no longer self-identify according to assigned birth sex. Kelly is no longer a boy or a girl. Kelly is neither of those things. Or maybe it’s a little of each. It’s confusing. Basically, as Kelly explained it to me, Kelly is refuting the arbitrary notion of binary gender. I refuted the arbitrary notion of paying taxes once but that didn’t get me very far.
But I respect Kelly, because Kelly is showing me that what my generation was raised to believe isn’t necessarily the case. It’s like when we all thought Uncle Leon was on the road a lot but it turned out he had a whole other family in another town. We should have realized it was odd for him to be travelling so much, since his job was a custodian. Weirdly, he was a custodian in the other town too; he was binary janitored.
Anyway, Kelly explained to me that the only thing genes have in common with gender is four letters. Science has nothing to do with gender. No, Mary, that’s not at all like denying climate change. Plus, even if it were, I don’t think we’re going to destroy the planet by letting people go into whatever washroom they choose.
Easy there, cousin Duke, those are cruel things to say. Like I said, we’re all learning about transgender, cisgender, transsexuals and so on, and talking like that just displays your ignorance. Besides, we all know about your fetishistic relationship with your sports car; you’re a Trans-Am-sexual.
Kelly, you know we all love you, no matter how you identify yourself. You be who you want to be. And we’ll do our best to get used to it, including what pronouns to use. It’s no longer “he” or “she” and “him” or “her” but something else. I’m not sure what. It might take some trial and error to find some non-gendered pronouns that’ll stick. In the meantime, Kelly wants some gherkins; would someone please pass them to sleb. Bleeb must be very hungry after yurp long travels.
Grandma Lewis looks confused. IT’S ALL RIGHT, GRANDMA! IT’S LIKE THE SEXUAL REVOLUTION AGAIN BUT WITH LESS HAIR AND FEWER GOLD MEDALLIONS!
Maybe I should just wrap it up here, because Stella appears to be transforming a napkin holder into some kind of shiv. So allow me to offer this simple toast:
All of us are born with parts
Like turkeys we do label.
Drumsticks, giblets, thighs, but please
No stuffing on the table.
We augment bits or add on –
It’s the marvel of our ages that
We needn’t feel so trapped inside
Our pre-fab body cages.
But we’re stymied, all us folks who
Thought we really led the way by
Never caring one small bit if
someone said that bleeb was gay.
Now “he” and “she” are old-school terms,
And gender vague and wavy.
Still I don’t care what sex you are,
Just pass the bloody gravy!
Binary janitors. Trans am sexual. This is a salad buffet of options here, kind of like identity itself.
I think back to what a jerk I was as a kid, the terrible stuff we said and did. I’d say my generation has evolved nicely. (I think I’m in Kavanaugh’s demographic cohort; boys then were awful. Maybe not rapey awful but awful, and we should all just own up to that.)
We’ve watched a few 80s films lately and it was a different time, w/r to that. Different, not better at all. And no point in trying to bring that back, no…
and if you’re vegan or veg, we’ll bring your plate out to the ledge. for we ain’t no fools, you say salad rules..and maybe munch on our hedge? (it’s all i’ve got)
It’s a lovely addendum.
There are elements of this post and the linked post that are so clever and true and dead-on that I might have to purloin them when we have our family Thanksgiving get-together next month. It’s really terribly lazy of me but a toast like that beauty above just isn’t coming out of my pen anytime soon. Okay?
What’s mine is yours.
You may not recall this, but this is a version of the piece I spiked from two years ago because I felt it was too mean, or rather it targeted people who didn’t deserve to be targeted. I killed some parts and turned it around so that it was the overwhelmed elders being left behind who are more the source of fun. Plus, I improved the grace. VH1 Behind the Music!
Ha! Another gem. God I love your writing.
Thank you. I love your comments.
Well put. Non-binary has created the greatest opportunity for unintentional insult by pronoun in quite a while.
My wife was recently talking about a non-binary colleague and kept saying “she.” I kept interrupting saying “they.” It was both rude and hilarious.
Your writing is brilliant. Weeping with glee. Thank you
Oh my! That’s sweet. Thanks.
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