If I had a dollar for every instance when a person said to me, “My family is so embarrassing/weird/abnormal” I’d have lots of money, a new wardrobe, a fancy laptop that won’t commit hard drive suicide after two years, and I’d be blogging in Scotland about my adventures exploring haunted castles. Granted, there are some families that are truly dysfunctional and could really benefit from the help of a therapist. However, when it comes to most families, they generally fall somewhere in the middle on the abnormal to normal continuum, including my own.
Along with the tradition of playing Bingo every year during the holidays, we also practice the well-established customs below. I should also point out that I do care about my family, (or at least what happens to their organs) and that this list is all rather tongue-in-cheek.
So without further ado, the top ten signs that your family is a normal form of abnormal:
- During the holidays, you get into arguments over the most innocuous issues. Essentially, fights that you would be too sensible to have any other time of the year. Here are my personal family favorites: The true origins of pasta (God forbid you try to tell any old Italian relative that pasta did NOT originate in Italy), and whether you can light a fart on fire. And speaking of flatulence…
- Male family members have turned farting into an art. For them, and sadly for you, flatulence is as constant as the seasons, or the rising and setting of the sun.
- Your mother or mother-in-law make it a point, whenever possible, to offer advice that sounds suspiciously like nonconstructive criticism. Examples include:
- “How about I teach you how to make pasta? First, you take a pot, add water, and boil it. Here, let me show you how to boil water.”
- “I suppose you could pass this off as meatloaf.”
- “This kitchen would look so much nicer if it was cleaned.”
- “Oh you’re too sensitive. I’m just offering you advice. You really need to stop being so dramatic.”
- They offer their point of view on topics they know diddly-squat about (but think they’re an expert in) or, better yet, counsel or even contradict you on topics related to your area of expertise.
- Even when they reassure you that they won’t embarrass you, they inevitably do or say something that makes you wish you could open up a portal in the time-space continuum and take your chances in another dimension.
- Every warmhearted family photo has someone doing something stupid in the background.
- They start sentences with, “Now I’m not one to judge…” right before making a condemning judgment call about someone.
- They think it’s OK to pry, comment on, and offer unsolicited advice on your personal life, and fail to grasp the concept of privacy. Moreover, very young or very old family members (and anyone for whom decorum is a foreign concept) have no problem saying whatever comes to mind, including anything related to reproduction, a person’s weight, and things you thought you had said in private.
- You declare that you want to organize a family bonding activity, but end up watching TV together instead.
- Right before someone important comes over (a prospective boyfriend/girlfriend, business partner, new neighbors), you feel the need to utter some variation of the following, “Remember, as far as anyone knows, we’re a normal family” or “Please, for the love of God, act normal.”