Your weird uncle can’t do all the heavy lifting when it comes to conversation topics at the Thanksgiving dinner table. Yes, I know that polite company avoids controversy, but that’s about as interesting as cornbread stuffing out of a box. If you’re looking to spice things up, here are a couple of ideas and conversation topics worth considering:
- Pass the Chillets – Ask people at the table to pass imaginary items that sound like dishes on the table. For example, ask for the chillets. It sounds a little like giblets found in the chicken organ gravy enjoyed by people whose taste buds have died. When someone passes you the dish they think you want, keep passing it and continue to request the nonexistent item.
- Bourbonator – Find an empty bourbon bottle and fill it with tea. Bring the bottle to the table, pour it over ice and drink it as quickly as you’re able. Repeat. Tell people you’ve built up a tolerance to rapid consumption. Suggest the technique is a little known secret of the Baptists.
- Trump Tweets – Read tweets from President Trump, but ask the table to guess whether they’re from Trump, Charles Manson or Hugh Hefner. When somebody makes a guess other than Trump, ask why he or she doesn’t support Trump’s agenda.
- The Grind – Put coffee in the pepper mill. See how long it takes people to figure out where the coffee smell is coming from. Keep commenting that the pepper is exotic.
- Identity Politics – Ask everyone to go around the table and express his or her identity, preferred pronouns, and most regrettable political or religious decision. Argue that one person’s answers reflect the bias of the maternal patriarchy. When it’s your turn, identify yourself as someone else at the table, and explain why you consider yourself a reasonably acceptable version of them.
- Tiny Dancer – Privately compete against a tablemate to see who can include the most lines from Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” in dinner conversation. One point for each completed line of the lyrics. Have you been “handing tickets out for God” this year?
- Add Zest – Wrap a bar of Zest soap in a paper towel. Ask people if they’d like to add a little zest to their salad. Use a hand cheese grater and honor the request.
- Calorie Counter – Pull out a notepad and start writing down numbers each time someone takes a bite of food. When asked what you’re doing, tell them you’re counting calories.
- Cavity Search – Put a $20 bill, a toy racecar and a toothbrush inside the cavity of the Thanksgiving turkey. Make comments about the size of the cavity throughout the meal. Reach inside and pull out the objects.
- Doggie Bag – Line your pockets with plastic bags. Periodically put food in your pockets. When people ask, act like you don’t know what they’re talking about.
Above all, enjoy your family and friends. Give thanks. My father calls it having an “attitude of gratitude.” He’s annoying when he rhymes, but he’s also wise. Sometimes it’s hard to be thankful, but gratitude has a radical impact on the way we perceive our world. These days we could all use a little positivity. Happy Thanksgiving!
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