It may not surprise you to learn that my family is bizarre. Yes. I know you think I probably sprouted from matching turtleneck wearing parents, a Volvo, and an extended family where reunions involve slide shows and bad Salisbury steak. Yeah. No. (except the Salisbury steak thing used to be true when we went to reunions in Ohio.) My parents divorced early on and I was raised with two very different families. My mom’s side I credit for teaching me about humor. We’re all awkward and not the best conversationalists. There’s a lot of pausing in a conversation. But once we have some food and some drinks and bust out the board games, the laughing starts.
We met up at my aunt and uncle’s in Empire. If you don’t know what Empire is, it’s been voted one of the most beautiful places in America. I’m not sure who voted. I’m pretty sure everyone in Empire did. Still, it’s gorgeous. (It’s all the setting for “Pepper Wellington and the Case of the Missing Sausage”.) There are rolling sand dunes, beautiful lakes, lush green woods, and roads so curvy they should probably film car commercials there.
Anyway. Usually we meet around Mother’s Day and go hunting for morels, but the weather was so freaky this year that we decided to meet in the summer.
I won’t go into everything we did as a family, because that’s sort of as painful as sitting through a slide show. I will say that a particular highlight happened around 10PM on Saturday, after dinner and a campfire, and after the kids were sequestered downstairs to watch “A Dolphin Tale”. Kealoha busted out the new game we bought “Cards Against Humanity”. It’s like Apples to Apples for horrible people. I think that may even be the game’s slogan. (Click on the title of the game if you want to know more about it.)
I didn’t get to play, because I was busy running downstairs checking on the kids, but I did get to observe.
Basically you draw a card, read it, and then everyone finishes the sentence using a card from their deck. Sounds nice, right? But these are HORRIBLE cards. Sexually inappropriate, politically incorrect, crass…basically a game designed for my wonderfully dysfunctional, socially awkward family.
For example here’s one card and it’s winning response:
QUESTION: Vladimir Putin likes his to eat stuffed with
WINNING CARDS: Vladimir Putin like to eat Natalie Portman stuffed with Tom Cruise.
Another of my favorites: QUESTION: What’s that sound?
--A mime having a stroke
The mime won.
We were laughing so hard that I’m pretty sure a few of us peed a little bit. I know Kealoha did.
The penultimate moment was when my brother drew a card and read the following out loud:
QUESTION: There’s a new Disney Channel special where Hannah Montana struggles with .
He then struggled with reading a series of possible answers so deeply twisted and wrong that his face turned strawberry red. There’s was one card he kept looking at and shaking his head. “I can’t read that. I can’t do it,” he said. “It’s just too wrong.”
Well, of course, when something is WRONG, it’s probably really RIGHT. We made him read it.
MY BROTHER (reading in a strangled voice that got progressively higher):
“There’s a new Disney Channel special where Hannah Montana struggles with…Oh god. This is so wrong. It’s just NOT RIGHT. Okay. Okay. I’ll read this. There’s a new Disney Channel special where Hannah Montana struggles with…jerking off…(He breathes, shakes his head)…into a pool…(His voice is a squeak. He can barely speak)…filled with children’s tears.”
At that point I pretty much had a heart attack.
Is there any question why I write the kind of novels I do? Really?
I love my family.