i know it's not december yet, but something reminded me of this the other day, and i feel compelled to share. let me set the scene: christmas day at granny's.
cast of characters:
me - cute as a button as always
mom - cute as a button as always, Sr.
granny - 73 years old and sharp as a tack
grandpa - 90 years old and still somewhat sharp
my uncle - he's not a complicated man, but funny as hell
my brother - Lord God King of the Dorks
my brother's girlfriend - now, the first time the family met her, my mom turned to me and said, "could my son please just date ONE woman with all her teeth?" later that same day, it came up in conversation that i have a few tattoos. in all earnestness, this chick turned to me and asked, "oh, did you get those done in a shop?" where did she think i got them? juvie? did she expect me to say, "oh yeah, i was serving a nickel for armed robbery and got some ink while i was in the big house." so, you now know all you need to know about her.
the ritual gorging (why, yes, i would love a 3rd helping of pie!) is over. my family and i are bloated, sick to our stomachs, yet, still eyeballing the leftover ham. it's time to open presents!
presents are ripped open and oohed and aahed over appropriately. the grandparents know me well, they know what i like, so they give me cash. my uncle also knows me really well, and he too gives me cash. so far, so good.
now it's time for my brother and his girlfriend to give us their presents. for the sake of brevity, the girlfriend shall hence forth be known as Snaggletooth. so, Snaggle hands me a box. i rip it open to find what can only be described as the ugliest ashtray in the WORLD. it's a ceramic dog laying on it's back with all four paws in the air. the ashtray rests on the paws. temporarily speechless in the face of such a glaring example of Redneck Decor, i muttered some kind of thank you.
next, they hand my mom her box of presents. now, what you need to know about my mom is that the nose on her face is wholly decorative. it serves no other purpose than holding her glasses up. she cannot smell a thing. nothing. if there was a rotting, decaying buzzard in the room, she would not know it until she stepped on it and heard the squish. that being said, she opens her box to find one of those cheap ass, swap meet quality Gel Candles. she takes the lid off of the candle and sniffs. mom's face went two shades whiter than i had thought humanly possible. she QUICKLY replaced the lid and choked out a thank you. i then made the tragic mistake of sniffing the candle myself. i now know what hell smells like.
Snaggletooth gives my grandfather his gift. with much anticipation on our part, he opens it and pulls out the fugliest fleece lined indian moccasins known to man. in addition to being butt ugly, they are HUGE. grandpa is a tiny man. hell, he was over 90 years old and had been shrinking for years. these slippers were so big he could have crawled into them and taken a nap.
then Snaggles hefts a box over to the table where my uncle is sitting. before she hands him his treasure she asks, "do you like cheese?"
she drops the box on the table. it landed with a THUD! so we knew it was either a cannonball or a shitload of cheese. he opens it to find, surprise, a two pound ball of swiss cheese. when Snaggles was out of earshot he turned to me and said, "why does she want to make sure i never poop again?"
soon after, Snaggles and King Dork leave. in the spirit of my family, we (mom, me, granny and uncle) start to make fun of the gifts because we firmly believe The Family That Snarks Together, Stays Together. all this time, my grandfather has been quiet.
after about 15 minutes of us marvelling at the wonder that is the cheese ball of death he says, "don't make fun of them. they can't help it if they are retarded."
and that is probably my favorite memory of my grandfather.