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Charlie Hatton
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I'm on a bit of a hiatus right now, but only to work on other projects -- one incredibly exciting example being the newly-released kids' science book series Things That Make You Go Yuck!
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‘Christmas Cheer’, Charlie-Style

Funny how Christmastime brings back memories, eh?

In my case, of course, they’re snarky, head-shaking, annoying memories, but still — ’tis the season.

So, let’s pull one of these mental gems out of the vault, and I’ll get your opinion on what I should’ve done while I’m at it.

Now, before we get to the specifics, I should mention that my mother’s side of the family has a Christmas Eve gathering every year. And the whole frigging clan comes out for it — grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins, the works. In my family’s case, that’s still not an enormous boatload of people — maybe twenty or so. Still, it’s more relatives than you can shake a stick at — or, in fact, beat with a stick. Trust me. I’ve tried it.

You should also know that this charming little party is the only time each year that I see most of these people. The parents, I’ll run into another couple of times, and I’ll spend some extra QT with the grandparents, but for all the others, that’s it. That’s all we get of each other.

(And, in the overwhelming majority of cases, all we need of each other. There are very few people in my family that you’d want to have in anything other than ‘small doses’.

Present company almost certainly included, but you’re already ass-deep in me. Hell, you’re a dozen paragraphs in already. Sucker.)

Anyway, that’s the background — party every year, whole family there, never see them otherwise. Fine. Now we’re on the same page.

So, the past few years, one of my aunts has hosted the soiree, which kicks off around six in the evening. And here’s what happened two years ago, on a chilly Christmas Eve:

I arrived at the party, with my wife and parents.

I hung up our coats, and walked into the kitchen, where aforesaid aunt was tending to something on the stove.

I greeted my grandparents, gave them each a hug, and walked back to my aunt to say hello. And here’s the very first thing she said to me in a full year:

Well, hi there! It’s good to… wow! You’ve really put on weight, haven’t you?

Now first of all, she was probably right. I’ve never gone and completely let myself go, but sure, I was probably a little heavier than the year before. And certainly bigger than back in high school, which might be the last time the woman had seen me for more than thirty seconds at a time.

But still… damn! That’s just fucking rude. And she’s not exactly goddamned svelte herself, dammit. Hell, I’ve got eight inches of height on her, but she’s in my neighborhood on the scales, I’m betting. Oh, yeah. She ain’t small.

What I still can’t figure out, though, nearly two years later, is what the correct response to that statement is. For the record, my response was to frown, walk away, and eat very little at dinner that night. Have I mentioned how much I fucking love Christmas, by the way?

Anyway, I don’t know quite what I should have said to her. But I’ve narrowed it down to a few choices:

  • No, sorry, hon, I haven’t. Maybe your eyes have just gotten fatter.
  • Maybe I have, dammit. Now gimme some of them ‘taters, bitch. Taters! Now!!
  • Yeah, I’ve gotten bigger… but damn, girl, look at you! What, are you smuggling sacks of broccoli in those pants?
  • Hey, it’s a glandular thing. Or I’ve been sick, or something. You don’t know. Shut up!
  • Yeah, I guess I get real food up in Boston, unlike the bullshit you’re about to slop in front of us.
  • And ‘hello’ to you, sunshine! And a big fat hairy ‘Up yours’, too!

I dunno. Any of those would work, I’m thinking. At least they’d be better — read: snarkier — than what I actually did. But I suppose this way, subsequent parties are a bit easier to get through. It’s all for the good of the family, I tell myself.

Still. That was bullshit. And I wanna know what you think the best reply would be. ‘Cause if sistah’s eyes got fat again this year, and she starts in on me… well, this time, I’m gonna be ready for her. Parties-to-come be damned — bitch gonna hear it. Oh yeah.

Permalink  |  5 Comments

5 Responses to “‘Christmas Cheer’, Charlie-Style”

  1. Lois Lane says:

    Other suggestions from the top of my sleepy head…

    1) My blood type may be Ragu but your is biscuits and gravy.

    2) I’m like one of those car mirrors. Things appear smaller/farther away. And the last time you saw me, I had the sense to stay away from you.

    3) My doctor told me it was genetic and from the looks of you he’s right.

    4) While you were busy insulting everyone that came in before me, I ate your beloved prized poodle.

    5) Say nothing at all, use body language. Lean against a wall, wrap your arms around yourself, allow your body to go limp sliding down wall, crinkle face, pout lips, make crying sounds, allow your body to fall to the floor, immediately roll into fetal position, rock back and forth enhancing the crying noises. Continue until dinner is served.

    Good luck and merry Christmas to you and yours!

    Lois Lane

    P.S. Or you can tell her your cellmate likes ’em plump ;)

  2. Christy says:

    Broccoli, definitely broccoli. :-)


    Well, auntie, I was told to emulate my elders and looking at you, I’m succeeding.

    Another alternative would be to become the suffering dieter during dinner. Sit next to her at dinner so that once she puts something on her plate, the dish gets passed to you. Then say, “Oh, I’ve sworn off gravy. It certainly seems to make one…(glance at aunt) heavy.” Do this or something along those lines for anything she eats that could possibly be considered unhealthy.

    Horribly passive aggressive, but ever-so-much fun. Sure, you may not get to eat all the holiday goodies, but revenge is worth it.

  3. #Debi says:

    “Why, yes, I guess I have gotten a bit heavier than last year, and a bit older, too, by the way. Speaking of older, damn, girl, you gotta be…how old by now?!? ‘Cause you look about (add 10 years to actual age)!”

  4. SilverBubble says:

    Smile sweetly and say, “Why, yes, I have gained a little weight, but if I stand next to you all evening I’m sure nobody will notice since they’ll be too busy staring at your fat ass.”

    Or remark about how you’re merely upholding the family tradition.

  5. maria says:

    I JUST got a “wow, look at those bags under your eyes” and it is actually not even true -I swear!-, but my response was: “From you, I don’t even know how to take it, Is that a nice thing to say where you are from or something?”. The broccoli thing is fabulous, though. I will totally use that in the future.

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