There’s a lot to be thankful for—friends, health, the premium Hulu account someone forgot to log out of on my TV. Now I no longer have to be subjected to the same Progressive commercial fifteen times just to watch Nicole Kidman brood in a velvet coat. Excited to see what upper-class enclave she chooses to highlight for her next limited-run sexy-murder-betrayal HBO whodunnit!
But, this year, I’m particularly working on being thankful for my family. Each and every one of them. Specifically, in this order:
10. Aunt Carol, who is here but not here here, because, owing to her “different beliefs,” she is eating outside. She really loves doing her own “research.” She brought the cranberry sauce, and it’s her secret recipe. Don’t worry: it’s safe to eat, because I spritzed it with bleach just now.
9. Uncle John, who is also sitting outside but far away from Carol. He’s vaccinated; he just never forgave me for going to a football game with his ex-wife. I’m sorry it didn’t work out between him and Joanne, but I’m not turning down front-row Packers seats. Plus, she has so many Mariott points! I need those. Where am I going to stay the next time I visit the outskirts of a major city? A Best Western? No way. Those are haunted.
8. Nephew George. I, too, went through a phase in high school where I listened to the B-side of a Radiohead album, got a leather jacket, and thought that I was super deep. But hearing him quote Bukowski while passing me green beans made me realize how truly insufferable I must have been. If I could tell my younger self anything, it’d be, “You’re not edgy, you just have prescription glasses. Call your mom back, she’s worried about you. Also, invest in N.F.T.s. And anything else that’s an acronym—A.I., V.R., Q.R.”
7. Cousin Grace, our self-proclaimed “voice of the voiceless.” Except, damn, she can’t stop talking over everyone. She thinks that the show “You” is problematic. (Who’s going to tell her it’s supposed to be—it’s about a serial-killer couple?!) And, as far as I can tell, the only wealth that she redistributes is from her parents to herself. And then to that one-bedroom in Dumbo. This year, maybe she’ll spare us the lecture about ethical fashion; it ruins the vibe during the Puppy Bowl.
6. Uncle Rohan, who got his Ph.D. from WhatsApp misinformation threads. I was hoping that he’d slowly age into one of those sage old men who never speak unless it’s to offer the kind of cryptic advice you can find on Yogi tea, like, “It’s important to become.” Instead, he can’t stop ranting about how “we’re not allowed to say anything anymore.” Which might be the case because, if he doesn’t stop talking, I’m going to make him sit outside with Carol.
5. Navya, my Gen Z niece. Honestly, she is the only person I seek the approval of. She wears Glossier, and Zendaya follows her on Instagram. Zendaya also follows the Dalai Lama! Navya took a photo of the pie I made and it got four hundred and sixty-three likes. My face has never got that many likes. Is apple pie more fuckable than me? A part of me hates her, but being featured on her TikTok is my only chance at fame.
4. Raina, Navya’s white girlfriend, who seems like a pretty solid gal. She’s definitely trying to impress the brown side of the family. She even made a joke about how it’s actually “chai,” not “chai tea.” Cliché, but I appreciated the effort. Hope she channels that white guilt into doing the dishes!
3. Cousin Neal. We only have one thing in common, which is that we’re both completely caught up on “Succession.” Despite sharing genes, our conversations usually last the span of a commercial break. And that is honestly perfect. I’m sick of my smart friends. I need more silent friends. No one should have to think critically on Thanksgiving.
2. Grandma, who endured decades of misogyny and so now gets to control the TV remote. That means soap operas for four straight days at a volume that can only be described as “front row at an Insane Clown Posse concert.” Nothing but respect for her. I dream of someday having the chutzpah to chew tobacco on the couch and bark at family members to do my bidding.
1. Me. This may seem a little narcissistic, but I’m working on myself, just like my therapist recommended. (Well, my roommate’s therapist. I can hear their Zoom sessions through my wall. And, between that and @the.holistic.psychologist, I’m covered.) So, this year at Thanksgiving, I’m going to work on my boundaries. By getting incredibly high with Cousin Neal and Navya. And Navya’s white girlfriend, but only if she does the dishes.