• Fri, Nov 19 2010

Your Thanksgiving Survival Guide: Vodka, Vodka, Vodka

Thanksgiving is fast approaching. And unless you have been gifted with an abnormally sane family (or have decided to abstain from the family visit part of the holiday), chances are you are anticipating the occasion with at least a slight amount of dread. Well, do not fear. Crushable is here to help you navigate the terrain of awkward familial interactions.

Here’s the first and most important tip. Repeat it as though it is your mantra: Vodka is your friend.

Vodka has many positive attributes that by now you have surely noticed. Namely, it is clear and odorless. At other occasions, that could be a detriment to your taste buds. But at Thanksgiving this comes in very handy.

To prove this, I will point you towards an anecdote my father once told me. When he first got hired at IBM in the 1970s, his boss gave him this helpful advice:

“Don’t drink vodka martinis at lunch, unless you want people to think you’re an idiot.”

This, I learned, is why my father to this day drinks Tanqueray martinis at lunch. If the lessons eludes you, let me clarify. This advice was given at a time when it was acceptable to have three martinis at lunch. And better for people to think you were drunk than just a bumbling fool. If you drink gin, coworkers can smell it on your breath and take you for a jovial peer. If you drink vodka, and they can’t tell  you’ve been drinking, they’ll just think you’re weird.

That might have been a problem in 1970s corporate America. But at Thanksgiving, it’s just fine.

Consider the fact that most of your extended family is already weird. Or, they think you’re weird. Getting very drunk will likely help you handle this situation.

But being notable drunk on Thanksgiving can have multiple repercussions. For starters, there are certain familial rumors that are impossible to shake off. If you drunkenly drive a golf cart into the house at the age of 15, or get arrested for some underage drinking violation, your reputation will be set with the extended family for life.

Likewise, smelling like a brewery (at a young or not) will forever taint your reputation with the extended family. At 17, I once had to drive a drunken family friend and his family home from Thanksgiving. He is still embarrassed when he comes over.

However, vodka will help you dull the pain of awkward conversations with that cousin you only see twice a year, and also fend off rumors from getting started. So here are just a few things that will help you keep your sanity this Thursday at Thanksgiving.

Start with vodka.

Stick a fifth in your suitcase/purse/pocket. Keep it handy throughout the day. A second benefit of Vodka is that it can be mixed with almost any liquid. (Except coke. As I learned in college from a helpful waitress, a vodka and coke is also called a “Black Bitch.” That’s embarrassing. Don’t drink that.) Also, some people apparently enjoy getting stoned at this juncture.

Wear comfortable pants

No one cares what you look like at Thanksgiving. Just make sure your clothes (and hair) are clean, so as to avoid other annoying rumors about you from your extended family. Most importantly, do not take this time to try out the high-waisted pants trend. Your insides will be sorry.

Bring headphones

Some families do not take kindly to technology at the dinner table. But strategic headphone usage can be very handy. If you get caught in a terrible interaction, or generally disapprove with the direction of conversation, just quietly slip your earbuds in and carry on ignoring what is going on around you.

You don’t even need to bring a phone or iPod with you. Just make sure that the end of the headphones are hidden in a pocket. If someone gets upset and asks what you are listening to, just be honest.

Bring a large napkin. And/or Tupperware.

Depending on the culinary skill of your host, you may either need to dispose of or horde large quantities of food. Be prepared either way.

Tryptophan is your friend.

It’s easy to forget, but Thanksgiving is an excellent time to have some alone time while surrounded by your closest friends and family. After dinner, it is perfectly acceptable to lie on the couch, close your eyes and vegetate. If someone checks in on you or wants to catch up, just use this age old excuse:

“Ooft. Too much turkey.”

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