Venting the spleen about an otherwise really good family reunion

I love my family. They're entertaining, and nice, and easy to get along with. The trouble with my family, though, is that we’re all a bunch of over-educated, self-righteous jerks.

I say we, and it's true that this is a bill I fit. In family reunions, though, I try not to talk. I just listen to Grandpa Judge, Uncle Doctor, Uncle Veterinarian, Father Motivational Speaker, and Sister Pathological Antisoc, talk and frown and head-shake about how poor poor people are, the just-desserts of scurvy dog politicians, and the disquieting fatness of the obese. (Quote of the night: "There wasn't any obesity at Dachau").

Most of last night was given over to one of their favorite pastimes: belittling that sillieset of God's creatures, the tragically flawed and patently absurd smoker, whom they describe in much the same terms as Londoners in matching white tennis sweaters used to describe cannibals in the dark heart of Africa.

It all carries with it a subtext that fatties and smokers and mendacious mendicants are not going to live forever, quite unlike my family. (My grandpa just turned 80. He was the goalie for the local hockey team. Then, he had a stroke. Now, he’s still the goalie for the local hockey team. It’s weird.)

Despite a nearly endless procession of wines, I was unable to get sufficiently loaded to inject my own brand of nihilistic, playing field-leveling levity into the proceedings. Oh, how poor, fat, smoking politicians were belittled and damned last night, with no status quo hero to defend them.

The other problem with people who think they're right is, they tell you about things that they think you oughtta like, but that you have no interest in whatsoever. It was in this spirit that I watched my uncle and his two kids recap and act out entire scenes from the movies RV and Without a Paddle, which were deemed unequivocally "hilarious," and recommended to all present as "must-sees."

I left with three CDs of traditional Israeli something-or-other that I will never, ever listen to. I'm supposed to report back with my opinion.

I spent the whole night craving a cigarette, a pint of melty lard, and a welfare check. I settled for watching Wisdom (written and directed by Emilio Estevez), in which Emilio Estevez and Demi Moore play egalitarian stickup (wo)men who blow up mortgage papers and loan documentations to save poor people from evil banks. It was on the Fox Movie Channel, and it was awesome.

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