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.