We all know how stressful Thanksgiving can be when a bear shows up at the dinner table. Here are 8 tips to help you get through the holiday without losing your mind.
1. Don’t pray too long. Bears are not only godless creatures, they are incredibly impatient. To set a roasted turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, yams and other dishes in front of a bear and then force it to sit still with its eyes closed while grandpa Otis rattles on about this great country, the pilgrims, Jesus’s death on the cross, his sister Shirley’s hip surgery, uncle Carl’s gambling problem, football, and Duck Dynasty, all with annotated bible quotes and long silent pauses, is a recipe for a heated bear attack. Make it quick. Bear behaviorist Katrina Marley says the prayer should be no longer than two or three words with minimal syllables.
2. Just don’t even try to eat any honey. Forget the honey, it’s not worth it. Use sugar, molasses, maple syrup, anything else. Heck, use ketchup. The quickest way to piss off a bear is to use the honey. Sure, cornbread is really good with honey on it, but today it’s not. Just pretend honey is gross. Tell yourself it’s coagulated pee. It’s bee barf. It’s nasty. You can love it again tomorrow. Today, it’s not honey. It’s shunny. Shun the honey.
3. Avoid eye contact. If you can help it, don’t sit directly across the table from the bear. This is the worst place to sit because bears react aggressively to eye contact. They simply don’t like being stared at, especially while they are trying to eat. Chances are, when the bear finally gets upset and starts attacking everyone, you will be the first to die. If you want to retain any hope of survival, do not sit across from the bear and do not stare at it.
4. Resist talking politics. Bears don’t give a crap but this is just good advice in general.
5. Avoid alcohol. You need to be alert and ready. You can’t stagger or misstep. One slip could cost you your life. This leads to our next point…
6. Accept that some family members will not make it out of this alive. This is the harsh truth of having a bear at Thanksgiving. It’s not a question of will the bear attack everyone and kill them at random. It’s a question of when. Will it be before or after pumpkin pie? Will the bear take a turkey nap then viciously attack or tear into the guests right after grandpa says grace? Whenever it is, you need to be ready. The bear is not here to enjoy a meal with you. You are part of the meal. This leads us to the next tip…
7. Try to put the least desirable family members closest to the bear. Try to see this as a blessing in disguise. You have an opportunity to thin the family out and remove some of the members who nobody could really stand in the first place. They all taste the same to a bear. That guy your aunt just married who clearly does drugs and will most likely divorce her some time after she spends thousands of dollars supporting his lazy ass? Sit him across from the bear. That douche your daughter never should have married in the first place? Same with him. The 12-year-old nephew who does nothing but fling mashed potatoes and whine about his food and is destined to be the guy your aunt shouldn’t have married? Sit him to the bear’s right. Uncle Willy, the one who, no matter what you say, rolls his eye and says “you’re drinkin’ the Kool aid too are ya?” then proceeds to go into an hours-long tirade about things he read online that link it all together in one massive conspiracy… sit him to the bear’s left. With any luck, next Thanksgiving could be a lot more pleasant if you play your cards right.
8. If you have time to plan ahead, put a bomb in the turkey. Not everyone has the luxury of preparing for a bear dropping in on Thanksgiving. Sometimes you’ll get a warning, but often the beast will just show up and take a seat. If you have any lead time at all, you can really increase your chances of survival if you can fit your turkey with a bomb. The best way to kill a bear is to feed it delicious food that is secretly a bomb. Make sure the other family members are aware that they should not eat the turkey. When the bear goes for the bird, have a code word or phrase ready to alert the family to take cover. One our family has used many times in the past is “Mayflower!” Upon shouting this code word, everyone should run as far as possible and hide behind something solid. With any luck, the bomb will go off inside the bear, killing it on the spot. If the bomb goes off in the bear’s paws, chances are you will have a charred, and very angry bear who will probably kill you all.
Be safe and be smart. We all have to deal with a lot of unpleasant things around the holidays and almost every dinner table has at least one undesirable guest. If we plan ahead and consider our own contributions, such as bombs, maybe the holidays can be a pleasure even with a bear at the table.