You Are Now Entering the No Filter Zone


I grew up in a very loud house. My five brothers were wild and my mother had a voice that could cut through steel. My only tactic to get noticed was to stealthily drop verbal bombs here and there during dinner conversation. Things I thought, but probably shouldn’t have said out loud. Blurting was what I did best.  It got me some attention and a few laughs.

I called these little nuggets of blurtiness “Fork-Droppers” because my mom would always respond by clanging her fork to her plate and giving me The Look (while silently laughing). “Darla! Jeezum crow!” she’d snort while covering her eyes. But I couldn’t help myself.

Holidays seem to bring out my Fork-Droppers in full force.  Take Easter dinner the other day with my family:

“Y’know, come to think of it, your older brother did have lots of girlfriends back in high school,” my mom said, folding her napkin in her lap. “Pass the peas, please, Darla.”

“God, yeah!” I yelled, my mouth stuffed full of ham, bits of gristle spraying everywhere. “He had girls up the wazoo!”

I handed my mom the peas, she glared at me over her eyeglasses.

“Uh…I meant that…figuratively?” I mumbled, my eyes darting around the table. We ate in a few moments of heavy silence.

“And, of course,” I added, tilting my head, “literally. I mean, let’s be real here! Am I right? Huh? Am I right?” My words sliced through the air like a knife cutting through a putrid hard-boiled egg. I snorted and slipped into a fit of frenzied guffawing, mashed potatoes flying as I tried in vain to stifle my laughter with a napkin.

My mom’s fork dropped.

“Darla!” she yelled.


Aside from the glaring fact I should try closing my mouth when I chew, why on earth do I say these things? Is it because I’ve completely lost my social filter of what’s appropriate? Am I still yearning for attention? Do I just want a cheap laugh? Should I have passed on that third glass of wine?

Or have I finally turned into my idol, Sophia of the Golden Girls?

And another one just because it’s funny as hell:

Have you or one of your relatives ever said anything stupid or inappropriate at a holiday dinner or get-together? Tell me so I can use it in the future.

113 thoughts on “You Are Now Entering the No Filter Zone

  1. I was at a dinner once with a group before a wedding. All their relatives were in town including a dried up prune from New York. She talked really loudly and at one point during dinner, she pointed across the table at a lady and said, “SHE LOOKS LIKE HELL, DOESN’T SHE?” Talk about mashed potatoes flying. The young people at the table all spat whatever was in their mouths and laughed and the older people tried to ignore her. It was hilarious only because she didn’t point at me…

  2. 1. I can’t BELIEVE you’ve gone public saying you like B Man best [with that badge], so the LEAST you can do is let me steal that Miss J badge for my blog.

    2. I feel like people say “up the wazoo” all the time without even thinking about it!

    3. I’m not sure if this qualifies as a fork dropper (love that term), but I seem to have a knack for saying the WRONG thing to the WRONG people. For example, “Ug people who use nicknames like ‘babe’ make me want to BARF” to someone who just called their spouse ‘babe.’ I only make the connection immediately AFTER the damage is done, of course.

          1. But that would require me plunging the giant red cockroaches to their boiling deaths. I can’t do that! They scream when you put the lid on. Didn’t you know that?

            OK, tell you what. I’ll whip up some crab melts and feed those to you.

      1. Of course not! That’s a sweet, perfectly acceptable…OK, I’ve got to be honest. I’m a little dismayed. That’s what OLD people call their husbands. How about if you call him “hunka, hunka burnin’ love monkey?” That’s kind of catchy, right?

    1. PLEASE, steal that Miss J badge. She would be honored to know her cute little Austin Powers face is on your blog. You’re her idol.

      And I DO love B-Man best. Until May 1st.

      As for number 3, I do the same thing. I am known for sticking my foot in my mouth. I end up either insulting someone without realizing it, or insulting someone then realizing it nanoseconds after my mouth has spewed the insult. Now I know why I didn’t do so well with social situations back in high school.

  3. I’m usually pretty blurt-less since large family gatherings leave me pretty mute. What I can’t control are my facial expressions when I despise what someone else has said. I think I suffer from restless eye-rolling syndrome.

  4. Snoring Dog Studio

    Nothing beats hanging around with hard-to-hear parents – I’ve been on the receiving end quite often. At restaurants, my Dad would point to some diner and yell at me, “Ask him what he’s having!” My mom, too, voices everything that ought to be under her breath at a volume loud enough for folks in Wyoming to hear. Most of what she says is commentary on people’s outfits. I just have to sit there and smile sweetly.

    1. Yes! My mom not only comments on everyone’s outfits, but at about 1,000 decibels. Every day she gets worse too. At Target, first she’ll yell at the credit card machine. Then she’ll yell at me for helping her with the credit card. Then she’ll yell at the clerk. Then on the way out, she’ll yell, “DID YOU SEE WHAT THAT GIRL IS WEARING? PAJAMA BOTTOMS? OUT IN PUBLIC?!” Oh, it’s a joy going out with my mom.

  5. Groovy coincidence! I’ve been mentally composing a post about losing my filter and just this morning I was walking around thinking about being the quiet one in a loud step-family. My wazoo comments always stayed on the inside, until lately. I’d have loved to be a fly on your family’s wall (not literally) and watch you work your magic. 🙂

    1. Ooh! So you’ve kept these wazoo comments to yourself…until NOW?! Do tell! People usually say they become more filter-less the older they get, but I’ve always been filter-less when it comes to my family. It was my defense mechanism.

  6. I am SOOOOOOOOO excited that you are going to be at my place on Friday! My family is all about inapro-pr dinner talk. We are a medical family, so we talk about bleeding ulcers and rectal fissures and *whisper* cancer. Except we don’t whisper. Once, a kid came over for dinner and my 6 year old school him on how babies were made.

    That didn’t go over well with his mother.

    1. I know, I am beyond psyched for Friday’s post! I have it all ready to go. (rubbing hands excitedly)

      I would love to have dinner with your family. Medical stuff? Oh yeah. Totally up my alley. Just last week I told Jim about the test I had on cadaver photos for anatomy class. While we were eating meatloaf. My poor son though, he’ll say, “mom that’s gross!” You know you’re in trouble when your 10 year old thinks what you’re saying is ‘gross’.

  7. My mother is immune to sarcasm. Meaning that she does not get it and has been known to utter the phrase, “what’s so funny? Can you explain it to me?” Yeah, fun times. So, sometimes, in her presence, I will make smartass remarks just to rile her up and get everyone else laughing. But I will NOT explain my jokes. As you can imagine, family dinners are extremely pleasant for all involved.

  8. The thing that jumps to mind isn’t from a family get-together, but a high school reunion. One woman said to another, “Hey, I have that jacket! I was going to wear it tonight, but I didn’t want to look slutty.”

  9. It’d be easier for me to list anything I’ve ever said that WAS appropriate since inappropriate is my MO. My favorite dinner zinger came courtesy of my dad. We rarely ate as a family together at a dinner table, so when we did, it was awkward and uncomfortable simply because it was different. My middle brother, sort of a douche as a kid is sitting across from my dad, and me from my mom. Dad is staring at middle brother and brother asks indignantly (is that a word?) What are you looking at? Dad says matter of factly, “Nothing buddy, just trying to figure out if that’s your face or if your pants fell down!” I spit my potatoes directly across the table into my mom’s face to a rousing “What the fuck?” from her and that dinner was declared over right then and there. Lol, maybe you had to be there…

    1. Love that story. Remind me to never have dinner with your dad. This reminds me of my brothers constantly picking on me during dinner. They said much worse than what your dad said. Explains my inner rage and buried bitterness maybe?

      I do actually try not to insult people. I save that stuff for behind their back (I’m only kidding. If you know me by now, you know I’m always kidding. Maybe)

  10. I needed a good laugh this morning, Darla. Thank you!

    Here’s one example of a family get-together. My mother-in-law is Irish, she has NO filter, ever. One time during dinner she started reminiscing about a girl my husband dated in high school. She said, “Oh yeah, I remember her. She was so beautiful. Whatever happened to her, honey?” My husband didn’t utter a word. He cleared his throat and pretended he didn’t hear what his mom said.

  11. I grew up in the house of blurts and it was my dad who never held back….ever. We refer to these statements as “dropping bombs.” There are several levels, but I’ll share the big one. Imagine it’s the late 70’s. Everyone gathered around the table for a Sunday dinner and my oldest sister is there with her boyfriend, who my dad couldn’t stand. My dad just couldn’t stand how cheap this guy was and sadly the guy chose this dinner to discuss how proud he was of his thriftiness.
    **A-Bomb ready for launch** “Maddy, do you realize if you marry this guy he’ll have you using both sides of your Kotex?” Only ashes remained…..

    1. OH MY GOD. That is hilarious. And very inappropriate at dinner. Well done, dad. Well done! I love how you say there are ‘several levels’ because that is so true. It really depends on who is at the table. If it’s a larger crowd, I might remain mostly silent. But the smaller the group, the more likely I am to blurt.

  12. Now I have the mental picture of your ham-gristle-and-potato mouth-spray raining down all over the holiday table. Thanks for that.

    I love that your mom was secretly laughing – doesn’t she know that just encouraged you?

    Old people take shameful advantage of the “no filter because I’m old” excuse, but I don’t think we’re allowed to. When you’re under 70 and you say exactly what you think, right when you think it, you’re just considered rude.

    1. Not only does my mom encourage me, I am taking after her example! She’s worse! Kids really do take after their parents. I don’t think this bodes well for when my kids are older and I decide to invite everyone over for Thanksgiving dinner.

      And about your last line–What are you saying? That I’m rude? Because you’d be right. Would it make me look better if I told you I actually did have two glasses of wine that dinner? And my kids weren’t at the table? And it was only my mom and my husband? Also, let’s not forget one important thing: I was only speaking the truth. Can you handle the truth? Huh? Well can ya? Where’s Jack Nicholson when you need him?

  13. My dad is generally the inappropriate/awkward one in the family; just recently at my cousin’s wedding rehearsal dinner he spent the entire dinner complaining it was too hot (the restaurant was working on fixing the problem), interrupted people to tell the bride and groom that it was too hot and they should do something, then left without saying goodbye. His style is more uncomfortable than funny, unfortunately.

    One of my sisters, however, has taken up the no-filter banner and is starting to be pretty amusing. While it wasn’t funny at the time, when I first started dating my boyfriend we had a family gathering where I hadn’t seen most of my cousins and sisters for months. At our “young person table”, my sister immediately (I swear she shouted it) asked if I’d had sex with my boyfriend yet. It didn’t help that a) I couldn’t see where my parents/grandparents were, which made me nervous, and b) it was a story that really was best suited for a small group, not the cousins and their significant others that I barely knew.

    Uncomfortable doesn’t even begin to cut it.

    1. I draw the line asking about sex at dinner. I will mention facts about sex at dinner.

      The story of your dad totally reminds me of my mom. She is always cold. So she has no problem telling people to “turn down the blasted a/c”. She doesn’t care who it might inconvenience, either. She once worked at L.L. Beans and, I kid you not, asked her manager to turn the store’s air conditioner down because she was cold. So she thought it perfectly acceptable to make thousands of shoppers hot because she was a bit “chilly.” (Granted, she was in her 60s at the time but still)

  14. Haha! Oh my goodness I remember wanting to create a group called golden girls in grade 4 when I first moved to Canada and I hadn’t even known of this legendary example lol! You keep on spouting inappropriate fork drops at dinner, then you go on ahead to share it here so we may all laugh at your (cheap) expense .

    1. I was JUST saying to my husband that when he’s long dead and I’m around 85, I will move into a condo with my three closest friends in Florida so we can sit around and eat cheesecake and talk about sex at 2 am.

  15. I always insult people, by accident. Usually my brother. I still regret asking “why am I in the backseat when I’m the only one who knows where we’re going?” once. Especially since my directions were WRONG.

    A long time ago I was with my Mormon boyfriend, coming back from his brother’s wedding. His grandma turned to his mom and said, “Verna, you are going to hell if all your son’s marry Catholic whores.” I was two feet away. Feeling very whore-like. My boyfriend was on the ground, rolling with laughter.

  16. At a family reunion my sister Judy left with her new husband (she was 17, he was 19). Jeff was an incredibly handsome moron.

    Dad, surrounded by his sisters, my mother, aunts, uncles and young children, shook his head and said:

    “She must’ve seen him pissin’ at a picnic.”

    1. Bwa ha haaaaa!!! Holy shit!

      Classic. Just classic.

      Your dad was awesome. I would have loved to hang out with him. Course, I’d never be able to eat anything as it would be constantly spewed out.

  17. notedinnashville

    Every family needs a Sophia. Without “Fork-Droppers” (great name, by the way), inspired movies and t.v. shows like, “Modern Family”, “All in the Family”, and “The Family Stone” wouldn’t exist.

  18. When my nephew was about six, a bunch of people piled into the car for a short trip. My sister (not my nephew’s mother) ended up behind the wheel. She promptly missed the turn and had to go around the block. My little nephew turned to my sister’s husband beside him and said, “Can you believe who got to drive?”

    1. Haha! Love that. My kids say stuff like that all the time too. My daughter is six and the things that fly out of her mouth absolutely floor me. She is much funnier than I could ever hope to be.

    1. I know, I love reading this stuff! I’m finding it disturbing that most of these fork-droppers were uttered by either very small children or very old farts. Doesn’t make me look very good.

  19. singleworkingmomswm

    My daughter is the queen of fork droppers, as is my 102-year old grandma…okay, so you fall right in between them, lol! Who cares? I pass no judgment ;-). So, one night we had the neighbor girl over for dinner (this was a couple of years ago). She said that she hated eating at her house because her step-mom was trying to lose weight, and she was forcing everyone in the house to eat her healthy regimen of food. Maycee chimes in and says, “You should tell her to just poop more!” Hahahahahahah…I totally died at the table that night, and the neighbor girl? She hasn’t eaten with us since, lol! XOXO-SWM

  20. winsomebella

    Your post and the comments that followed could be fodder for the next great reality show: Beware the Blurter. 🙂

  21. Alcohol, a burning desire to get a laugh, and caring little about the consequences makes for a dangerous (and wonderful) combination.

    We were stuck in a conversation with some people I barely knew (on our way our of a bar) and it seemed like there was no graceful way to end the conversation. Since it was about writing and my book, I sure wasn’t going to end it (even though I was tired and we really didn’t these people too well). So Phil “drops the fork” big time by saying, “Well, the only thing I’m qualified to write is porn!” We were out of there in no time! 😉

      1. Well, they were waxing sentimental about the other guy’s ability to write love poems…it was kind of a head-whipper to go from that to porn.

        But if you really want to know about Phil’s porn writing aspirations, I’ll see what I can do. He’s busy, but he may have time to do a guest blog for you… 😉

  22. Well, I wish I had some good fork dropping stories to share, but our family dinners were boring with no blurters that I can remember. I do remember one morning at breakfast, laughing with a mouth full of orange juice, turning to look at my Dad, just in time to have it spew all over his freshly dry cleaned shirt and tie.

    I will share one story that I look back on in horror, now that I’ve grown up a bit and rarely drink. Yes, I really put my boot into it, completely fueled by a few too many rum and cokes.

    Back in my early 20’s I worked on a party fishing boat on the coast of Maine in a small town. My boss had 2 fishing boats: the all-day (the one I was on), and the half-day (basically went and jigged up a few mackeral). Anyway, the guy who our boss had found to captain the half-day boat, was a half-wit. After my captain gave this guy lots of suggestions on how to improve, our boss finally fired him. As he was saying his goodbye’s, rambling on about how much he had enjoyed working with us and a bunch of other lies, I got tired of the BS coming out of his mouth and I said something to the effect of, “You’re a effing lier.” I think this was followed by dead silence. But I really don’t remember, and I don’t think I particularly cared at the time. Of course, the next day (and for the decades since), I was mortified.

    1. Whoa. Well, you were in your early 20s. This blurt can be forgiven now. I do tend to say things to others that could be misconstrued to be very critical (I’m a total Virgo) In my mind I think I’m “helping”. The only saving grace from this is I’m much more critical of myself than anyone else.

  23. I am the only person in my house that has half a filter. Family dinners are all about everyone trying to get a zinger in to make their Dad laugh. It’s mostly really inappropriate. Like, every night we have to remind #5 that he’s not allowed to repeat any of these jokes at school because they will arrest us and remove him.

    The one time my Southern Baptist Dad & Step-Mom came to visit, #1 started trying to make her Dad laugh by going on and on about her sure-to-come teen pregnancy and crack addiction. This was at Sunday breakfast. It was followed by a long silence. Which she stopped by going on about it again. And again. And again. Then, apropos of nothing, #5 blurted out, “In squirrel church, God is an acorn.”

  24. Since I’m the de facto host at almost all family gatherings, I’m usually over at the stove or the sink muttering under my breath. If you’d like to hear a snippet of my running dialogue, try watching one of the really old Popeye cartoons and listen carefully.

  25. I’m a blurter too, but the good thing about it is that my mom has reaaaaally loosened up over the years (ie, she is a convert of the box wine) so she usually thinks whatever I say is wildly hilarious. It’s like we had this common sense of humor all these years but were both too ashamed to admit it.

  26. We rarely have a family dinner without someone embarrassing him/herself – whether verbally or physically. It was usually me as a kid. I fell in the creek at my grandparent’s house in full Easter dress and right before the lunch event and walked into it dripping wet and muddy. A girl doesn’t get over that kind of thing easily. Yikes!

  27. Darla, this is so funny, and so are some of these comments! Great post!

    I am ready to kill my mother. She has always been so prim and proper all her life and the word shit wouldn’t come out of her mouth. Now that she’s over 80, she’s decided that she’s going to say what she thinks, and she doesn’t care how mad it makes anyone. So, not only is she doing that, but she’s saying loads of inappropriate things, too. She wanted me to text something to my husband one day about nipples!! I refused. It was too skeevy coming from my mother.

    However, when we have family get-together dinners, my three brothers and my husband are out of control with their comments, and I usually go home aching from laughing at the inappropriate things they have come up with over dinner.

    1. Oh my god! I can see my mom saying something about nipples. And she usually says these things so loud and always in public too. My mother-in-law is younger than my mom by about 20 years, but even she is starting to discuss things like medical procedures (colonoscopies, pap smears) at the worst times.

  28. I love the phrase “Fork Droppers,” and this: “…my mother had a voice that could cut through steel.” Holiday dinners are usually filled with tension and awkward moments, aren’t they?

  29. Curly Carly

    I love the term Fork Dropper! I go for shock value often at family dinners. It’s especially entertaining for me since my family always thinks of me as the polite one. You’d think they’d learn by now.

  30. It’s those blurts that keep us going, Darla. I do it sometimes. Yes, because the shock value – the unexpectedness of the remark – does get a laugh. My eldest daughter might cringe at times when I’ve done this around our grandkids, but they accept me for the lunatic I am. 🙂

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