Friends welcome; relatives by appointment only,” – Memorable sign in colleague’s house.

“What’s the difference between in-laws and outlaws? Outlaws are wanted.”

The first rays of winter sunshine came over the eastern horizon on December 26.

The sounds of engines revving could be heard.

The only things that were missing were the pace car, the parade lap and the green flag.

Ed Carpenter

The relatives were leaving and heading home.

The holidays were coming to a merciful end.

Thank God.

If They Weren’t Your Relatives, Would They Be Your Friends?

There is good news, and not so good news about Thanksgiving and the December/January holidays.

The great tidings are rivalry weekends and championship games that are circled more than one year in advance on many respective calendars.

In Oregon, there is the Civil War between the Jetsons (e.g., Oregon Ducks) and the Flintstones (e.g., Oregon State Rodents).

In Southern California, there is USC vs. the junior campus of the University of California.

In Alabama, there is the Iron Bowl pitting Alabama (Roll Tide) vs. Auburn (War Eagle). Wonder how many trees will be poisoned this year?

In the Midwest there is Ohio State vs. Michigan … even though the game looks like a monumental mismatch this year.

Heck on Turkey Day, there are wall-to-wall football games, including the annual No Fun League (NFL) contests held in Detroit and Dallas respectively, and even a big one between the 49ers and the Seahawks.

And when Xmas, Chanukah, Kwanzaa, Ramadan all roll around (choose which one applies to you) there are the annual bowl games and this year the extra special treat associated with the first-ever NCAA college football playoff.

Yep, we just can’t get enough of football. And we are sad when the season ends, even the NFL playoff games with their never-ending field-goal kicking contests.

The not-so-good news comes with the holidays themselves and the familial requirements that are associated with them. Why can’t we just fast-forward this DVD to spring and call it good? Alas, relatives were put on earth so we could experience our purgatory here and now.

The unrestrained joy and excitement that comes from a football weekend is not the case with co-mingling with relatives old and new. In fact, most dysfunctional families are only good in measurable-and-finite doses. Yes, you can O.D. on family, and the withdrawal symptoms are simply downright painful.

Keeping Score, Always Keeping Score

“Love is patient, love is kind … it keeps no record of wrongs.” — 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

There are scoreboards at all football games. They are switched off once the game is done.

Scoreboard

There are also scoreboards with families. They are never turned off. In fact, the opponent’s score keeps accumulating akin to pinball games of yesteryear or video games of today.

Four years ago Almost DailyBrett concluded that families are way overrated. This opinion remains intact.

In fact, this point is magnified, particularly with the specter of the holidays approaching, hanging over family members similar to the Sword of Damocles. And with these so-called special days come special obligations. You are present not because you want to be there, but because you have to be there. It’s all rather political.

Conversely, when you contemplate going to the football game, you think of tailgate parties with friends, good cheer and even better craft beer. Your heart rate starts pumping with fight songs, the national anthem and standing up for the kickoff. You are celebrating life in an earthly heaven with 60,000 of your most intimate friends, and hopefully (best of all?) no relatives.

Contrast this sentiment with sitting around the table with people, who most likely are not your friends and most likely never will be your friends, And then, there are the embarrassing stories and remembrances. Love may be patient; it may be kind, but relatives keep a detailed record of your myriad of real and perceived wrongs.

relatives

Hey, isn’t there a 10-year statute of limitations embedded in the law? Alas, this doctrine does not apply to most families.

And if you are honest, and invent some reason you cannot be present for a family holiday gathering (e.g., flying to a college football playoff game), this slight will just be added to your personal scorecard always to be remembered and never to be forgotten.

Would the author of Almost DailyBrett rather spend the holidays with relatives and miss going to the Rose Bowl or go to Pasadena and nix breaking bread with the family?

What time is kickoff?

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2010/12/28/if-they-weren%e2%80%99t-your-relatives-would-they-be-your-friends/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Damocles

 

 

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