Survival Over the Holidays: A Handy List of Coping Strategies | Vol. 4 / No. 8.5

It’s about the inherent worth of human beings. | Photo: Roberto, CC BY-SA 2.0

As of this writing, Donald Trump has been confirmed by the electoral college, with more electors going faithless against Hillary Clinton instead of against Donald Trump. Because if I think about this fact for too long my brain will explode (or I’ll start to look for tickets to Iceland) with Richard’s encouragement I decided to spend this week writing a handy guide about how to relieve your holiday stress by murdering your relatives reminding your relatives of the inherent worth of all human beings over the holidays.*

  1. Use forks for all cutting. Yes, it works poorly. Yes, it looks weird. But fork tines are so much easier to remove from the muscle layer than a serrated blade, and that’s gonna come in handy the first time you need to stab someone remind someone of the inherent worth of all human beings.
  2. When your relatives mention you not understanding something because of your tiny lady brain, laugh it off (using a high, feminine giggle) while setting fire to their car reminding them of the inherent worth of all human beings. When they start screaming at you, just shrug, explain that your brain is too small to understand their anger, and flounce inside to continue brainstorming ways to crush the patriarchy.
  3. Have a brief discussion about Black Lives Matter while suppressing your rage. Then turn the conversation to Christmas. When they start talking about the War on Christmas, scream “ALL HOLIDAYS MATTER” and break a glass ornament on the floor remind them of the inherent worth of all human beings.
  4. Turn on Adele. It’ll make a great cover for your screams of rage. And any other screams.
  5. When someone says anything about “making America great again,” pull out a pocket timeline of US history. Color-code it according to what populations didn’t have rights at the time, and highlight tragedies, catastrophes, and mass slaughters. Ask your relative to tap what precise point in US history the US could be considered “great,” and ask them if they’re willing to obtain the appropriate diseases that would be necessary to make this greatness period-authentic.
  6. Remind your relatives that “America” is technically all of the Americas. We’re United States citizens who bogarted the last part of our name to keep it from the rest of the continents. If they continue arguing, declare that you are now “The United States of (your last name)” and that you demand that no one else gets last names anymore. Claim any presents or cards addressed to your family, since you’re the only one who gets to call yourself by your last name.
  7. If anyone starts a sentence with “I’m not a racist,” “I don’t want to sound racist, but,” or “I don’t want to sound sexist, but” exclaim “Oh thank God!” and stuff a ball gag in their mouth remind them of the inherent worth of all human beings. Apparently neither of you wanted them to say what was coming next.
  8. If anyone starts to defend the Japanese internment camp as “necessary for security,” grab them by the wrist and pull them to the crawlspace. Shove them in with a blanket, a bucket, and a bottle of water, scream “national security!” and lock the door.
  9. When your relatives insist on your need to be married and have children because you are female, display a cost-benefit analysis of motherhood and how it just isn’t feasible in this economy. If that doesn’t work, scream “It’s my uterus, goddamnit!” and stab your own abdomen with a spork. Try to ruin your body, will they? Two can play at that game remind yourself that you have inherent worth regardless of the state of your reproductive organs.
  10. Put a large jar next to your plate. Every time someone at the table says something racist, sexist, transphobic, homophobic, or otherwise terrible, put a dollar in the jar. When people ask you what it is for, reply “Either drinking or hiring an assassin. It’s up to you if I get enough money for the latter.”
  11. Carry a participation trophy to dinner. Whenever someone says something dumb, pass the trophy to a new person. (And by “pass” I definitely do not mean “literally throw said trophy at their head.” At all.) Point out that it was their generation that came up with the damn things, you’re just returning the favor.
  12. Carry a portfolio that includes your student loan statements, a detailed breakdown of the cost of school versus the rate of employment and wages over the past thirty years, and your CV. When someone starts talking about how in their day they could afford to go to school by working over one summer and kids these days are just whiny and lazy, use this portfolio to bludgeon them to death remind them of the inherent worth of all human beings. If facts mattered to this person, they wouldn’t say such stupid shit.

In all seriousness, I hope that your holidays are as pain free as possible. Remember to practice self care, take time outs so that you can regain your composure, and remember that you have families as choice as well as families of obligation. We’re still in for a rough time, but we are not alone.


*Note: Elle Irise and This Week in Tomorrow do not advocate fatally stabbing or otherwise harming your relatives and other dinner companions. This is meant as humor. And stress relief.


Elle Irise is a regular contributor to This Week In Tomorrow. When she’s not setting fire to things that probably should not be on fire reminding people of the inherent worth of all human beings, she studies gender in popular culture.


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