Tuesday, December 11, 2012


B-I-N-G-O Home, Everybody. Party's Over.

A man in California emailed recently to tell me how after Christmas dinner last year, his brother drunkenly declared his love for his sister-in-law, the man's own wife. Another man in Georgia told me how his father threatened to call the police to his holiday family gathering several years ago.

Nathan Willi, a 24-year-old electronics salesman in Peoria, Ill., is bracing for family fights about football this year. Fourteen of his family members graduated from Notre Dame. Mr. Willi went to Michigan. "I will stay at the Christmas dinner for as long as I can tolerate the extended family's arrogance," he says.

One of these things is not like the others, one of these things just doesn't belong. Can you tell which thing is not like the others by the time I finish my song? If you guessed the football people, you're right! Anyway, the rest of this WSJ article is about turning problems that are bound to arise at your family's holiday dinner into a "fun" bingo game.

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You know what? I complained about my family in a comment on The Hairpin right before Thanksgiving, and then on Thanksgiving day my mom told us that she has breast cancer. So no more complaining! Love your family and all their stupid quirks! We are having a quiet Christmas and will probably do a lot of hugging and saying I love you.


@Megan@twitter Michigan dude needs some of this perspective. I hope your mom kicks cancer's butt.


@Megan@twitter Word. My little brother died 2.5 years ago, and my mom has been quietly going off the deep end since. It's just my dad and the dogs and I and I'm grateful I still have them! I'd give anything to be annoyed by my family again.


@HeyThatsMyBike Thanks, she's a feisty butt-kicking lady already so we're hopeful.

@shart_attack Nothing to say, just sending you an internet-stranger hug.


@Megan@twitter Internet-stranger hug right back at ya. Encourage your mom to keep up the butt-kicking. From all of the strong women I've known in my life (my mom went through it, too), it's that "This will only make me stronger" attitude that has kept them going!


Woow this amazing.. @n


Wait, we're discouraging tipsy 92-year-old great aunts from talking about losing their virginity now? God, WSJ family parties must be boring.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@TheBelleWitch Oh my god, I would LOVE to talk to the older generation of my family about S-E-X experiences in the 30s.


@TheBelleWitch Old people have little enough filter as it is, getting them drunk opens the floodgates! It's one of the great joys of family gsatherings, surely?


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose We've been discovering a lot of things about our family recently since moving my grandmother out of her old house. My favorite was when my mom told me, "I don't think my grandfather and grandmother [my grandfather's parents] were ever married." To which I pretty much said DUH, since we already knew she had had another child out of wedlock.


The instances mentioned in the article are for sure dysfunctional...but the items listed on the bingo are definitely not.

Tuna Surprise

Speak for yourself but I'd rather have my sister declare her love for my beau than listen to a bunch o'Fightin Irish prattling on about their team.

Old Katrina

I have to admit that I'd be totally on your side with the football thing if I hadn't been indoctrinated into the CULT OF COLLEGE FOOTBALL in the past year. My parents divorced when I was 6 and I was raised entirely by my unathletic mother and I knew football existed, vaguely, like my school has a team but don't ask me how well they do... It's on the morning announcements so just listen to that, ok? My brother started playing football this year and he plays cornerback and I got really excited because I thought he said quarterback and I started telling people he played quarterback and that's the only position I know and no, he doesn't. So I had and have no idea what he does. And please don't explain it. So this is the background I come from, and then I get engaged to someone who plans our Thanksgiving travel around when rivalry games start and I have a phone in my hand the entire time updating him on scores as he drives.

But anyway, my future in-laws are HUGE MAJOR South Carolina fans and luckily South Carolina fans are pretty classy, from what I've seen, but my future sister-in-law was in an airport once in like Spain or something, not even in the US, wearing a Gamecocks shirt and a Clemson fan (in a Clemson shirt) came up to her and just said, "FUCK YOU!" and walked away. Who does that?? So, Michigan sounds like he's being a whiny baby, but it's possible that it's more than just light-hearted family ribbing.


The only football rivalry anyone should have disputes about are the ones in Friday Night Lights.

I'm Right on Top of that, Rose

@Megano! Um, what is there to dispute? Other than whether you want Tammi Taylor to be your mom or your best friend?


@I'm Right on Top of that, Rose Well, if you start playing FMK it could get ugly.

Judith Slutler

Don't tell other family members about the game. The point is to observe, not provoke. "It's a secret game," Dr. Johnson says. "You are watching the dysfunctional ones and you are the functional one."

Man if playing secret bingo in your head in order to keep from exploding in rage at your family is more functional than what your family are doing, maybe spend a cozy holiday at home?


I love that when the WSJ tries to illustrate family dysfunction it's like "your bow-tie-clad uncle makes a cutting remark about your finances!"


I just created a card for my family. It includes entries like "X talks only to his brother," "Y doesn't show up," "Y shows up and brings bootlegged DVDs", "Z is ungrateful", "Q discusses a bad life decision...."


family. It includes entries like "X talks only to his brother," "Y doesn't show up," "Y shows up and bringsobat kolesterol

Alina John@facebook

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Sounds like some great bingo games that you have been playing there! I wonder if you ever play bingo online and mobile bingo as well these days! :)

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