The holiday season is here. People you have successfully avoided for 11 months are back in your life, and they want to talk politics. There’s your hardcore Republican uncle lip-syncing to Megyn Kelly, and your hippie cousin regurgitating what a philosophy professor told him during a semester of community college in 2006. Other than that, it’s a bunch of “who gives a shit” and “whaddya gonna do” around the dinner table.
The marshmallows melted atop the sweet potatoes are going to get cold if someone wants to debate immigration reform, so be a hero and redirect the conversation to a topic everyone can enjoy: sports! The great thing about sports is that your opinions can be founded on nothing but emotion, and most people won’t call you a xenophobe for expressing them.
Here are some topics that might come up. Make sure dinner doesn’t end with someone throwing his napkin down and walking away, or calling everyone a bunch of Nazis.
Trump: Whatever you think of the orange fella, somebody is going to bring up Trump. That somebody will feel very impassioned. Let’s get away from what will surely end up in a shouting match about Rosie O’Donnell. What calms an angry soul more than the soothing sounds of golf? If your uncle says, “Trump will make America great again,” you can reply with, “Sounds great! I hear he made a monument to a fake Civil War battle on his golf course in Virginia, so he’s on his way. Speaking of golf, who do you think is going to make the four-man Olympic golf team in Rio next year?” If he doesn’t know anything about golf, you can accuse him of not being a real Republican.
Right there you moved from politics to the links in two strokes. That’s a birdie!
Guns: Until Obama takes all the guns away, this one’s going to be on the table. Guns are as American as baseball, so why not just talk about baseball? Let’s say your cousin says, “We need to get rid of all weapons!” Come back at him with, “You might want to ban Aroldis Chapman, the closer for the Cincinnati Reds, too. He throws faster than an assault rifle. Now that we’re talking baseball, did you hear that Robinson Cano might want to go back to New York?”
Home run. What started as a boring debate now has everyone thinking about their fantasy teams for next year.
College Protests: Students at colleges are protesting a lot lately. I’m not sure why, but there’s probably a reason that your uncle strongly disagrees with. He will point out that those darn kids are entitled because they all got trophies as kids.
This could get somebody yelling, or you could deflect it with, “Hey, I got one those participation trophies for soccer. Soccer is great. What about Barcelona? Lionel Messi scored twice in his first start in nearly two months.”
Goooooal! We are now speaking the international, universal language of European football.
Immigration: We need to build a wall! America is a nation built by immigrants! Somebody is going to say something about immigration reform. Unless your mom is trying to get a visa, why ruin the day?
It doesn’t matter who brings up the topic. If the word immigration is said, steal the ball with, “Leandro Barbosa of the Warriors is from Brazil. Can you believe they started the season with a 15-0 winning streak? Who do you like this season?”
That’s a layup. Before anybody is even checking their politics, you’re all rebounding with discussions of the newest dynasty.
War on Christmas: Oh, that war on Christmas seems to start earlier every year. Whatever side you’re on, let’s focus on wars between professional athletes. Your uncle might complain that the local stores’ decorations don’t say “Merry Christmas.”
You can reply with, “Jewish people, like San Jose Sharks forward Mike Brown, don’t celebrate Christmas. While we’re talking about hockey, the Rangers are killing it; Henrik Lundqvist made 31 saves in his second shutout of the season the other night.”
You just won the faceoff, and now you’re taking the puck down the ice. Everybody can enjoy some green-bean casserole and slam the political talk into the boards.
ISIS: Nobody likes ISIS. If anyone sticks up for ISIS at Thanksgiving, you should get out of there, because the FBI is about to knock over the cranberry sauce. Time to intercept the ball. This is a bold move, but it should work. Just point to the TV that you’ve all been watching the entire time and say, “Football.” Then you can spike the turkey and dance on the dining room table, because you just scored a Thanksgiving touchdown.
Now that you can get through dinner without any politics, the only other thing you have to worry about is your aunt judging you for eating too much. She’s such a bitch. Happy Thanksgiving!
Chris Laker is a comedian whose aunt, uncle, and cousin probably don’t read Crooked Scoreboard. You should follow him on Twitter.