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The Tufts Daily
Where you read it first | Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Ruiners

Except for that one week when I accidentally submitted my most recent diary entry as my column (now that was embarrassing!), I usually refrain from boring my fellow Jumbos with details of my terribly dull day-to-day life. But today I’m making an exception in order to regale you all with the tale of how exactly my family and I ruined one stranger’s Thanksgiving.

If you know me personally, you’ll know that I am a rather limited chef; it’s entirely accurate to say that while I can feed myself, I cannot cook. Unsurprisingly, most of those unfortunate enough to share my genes also share this particular shortcoming, and thus Thanksgiving night found us (well into our second drinks at the bar) at a restaurant.

(Let me preface this by saying that much like myself after I’ve been cut off in traffic, my relatives are a very loud bunch who have been known to drop an expletive or two during everyday conversation.)

We were a party of 12 seated in a very central location, so probably eight or nine tables had the distinct pleasure of listening to our every word. We began drawing glares during the appetizers -- some of which persisted all the way through dessert, two hours later. One old lady in particular chose me to be the object of her displeasure, and so I was the subject of the nastiest glower you could imagine; honestly, you’d think I’d skinned her puppy alive instead of laughed at my uncle’s story of how exactly he ended up driving a mail truck as his car. (I have done no such thing unless she happens to be my neighbor and the owner of CleverDog.) Of course, as intoxicated as we were on the family love emanating from our table, we weren’t bothered one bit by the almost tangible hostility. As my grandpa cheerfully said, calling for another bottle of wine, “Haters are gonna hate!”

During the salad course, the nastiest of the hate-glarers got up to move tables away from us, loudly expressing her displeasure as she did so. Everyone got really quiet as we all frantically elbowed our neighbor and hissed, “What’d she say?” But when we established that no one had really heard her anyway, my aunt’s perfect imitation of the lady’s wagging finger sent us all into gales of laughter that earned us several other (inaudible) disparaging comments.

Some of those who had married into the family were a little uncomfortable by all the negative attention, but I reassured my aunt that we were practically celebrities; the notoriety, unfortunately, came with the lifestyle. By the time dessert rolled around, we’d all but forgotten the haters until the aforementioned queen of negativity announced to the room that “the food was lovely, but that loud party ruined my Thanksgiving.” I immediately began rolling up my sleeves, intending to order this woman into the parking lot so I could kick her ass, but the fact that she was 80 had several relatives pulling me back down. Instead, one of my cousins stood up and explained that we were just the Regina George of families: “Sorry, ma’am, but that’s just what we do. We’re Thankgiving-ruiners; we ruin people’s Thanksgivings.”

And at that moment I had never been prouder to call them family.