How to Survive the Holidays

We’re so happy, we can’t hear ourselves think.

It’s been a long week since this whole thing began last Tuesday. We haven’t even had time to get to this until today. It all started with the lighting of the Christmas tree in Daley Plaza here in Chicago. They lit it two days before Thanksgiving, leading us to believe that Thanksgiving had been cancelled and the city was moving right along to Christmas. Then the Atheist display went up next to the tree and we thought Christmas was on its way out too. Turns out we were wrong on both counts, but now we’ve been forced to add being thankful for pure scientific reasoning to our laundry list of holiday celebrations. Our Atheist stocking over the fireplace is actually an Einstein-Rosen Bridge to who knows where. You should have seen what the kids pulled out last year.

MojoFiction: “What did you get little Johnny?”

Little Johnny: “Look dad, I got quarks!”

Little Amy: “That’s not fair! Mine’s just emitting background radiation.”

MojoFiction: “That’s because you were on the naughty list. Again.”

Anyway, on to the holiday story!


Last Tuesday night, just as we were getting ready to fall asleep, our super-sweet, brand new Samsung Galactic S23 Phone-Thingy (whatever, it’s cool and new, that’s the point) started ringing. Our ringtone is some serious crunk, so at first we started dancing to it, but then we realized someone was calling us so we answered. Good thing, too, because it was our mom, which we verified by making her answer several challenge questions. She was flying to Michigan (the U.P., thank you very much) and had missed her connecting flight, thanks to a late plane on the first leg.

She said, “Hello, are you awake?” (This is a rhetorical question strategically employed by mothers everywhere.)

We said, “Of course. We’re always awake at this hour.” (This is the only counter-move to that question.)

“I missed my connection. The next flight isn’t until 11am. Can you come pick me up?”

“You should make them get you a hotel room nearby since it was their error.”

“Well United is being a bunch of m@#$%!f@#$ing @$$#@&$$” (yeah, that’s our mom) “I’d rather go somewhere else. But only if it’s not too much trouble. I don’t want to inconvenience you.” (translation: “I’m just your mother. Don’t make me beat you in the face with that award I received from the hospital for the longest labor ever for your birth. It’s shaped just like a baseball bat and has ‘90 hours of hell’ engraved in it.”)

So we drove out to the airport and picked up our mom and let her stay at our house. And of course while she was there she did one of those things that only a mom would do for her son, even though he’s a little too old.

She said, “I have all these fancy tablets,” (she does) “and I don’t know what to do with them. I never use this Galaxy Tab 2, do you want it?”


Since MojoFiction is a good son, we politely said, “Sure, we’ll take it off your hands.”

We turned it on and immediately played three hours of Candy Crush Saga. At that point, our mom tried to take back the tablet but we called “No take-backs!” and ran away.


We rented a car for the long drive to the U.P. because our car is getting a little up in miles and also in weird vibrations when we go over 60 mph. We called Enterprise and they reluctantly agreed to pick us up. They arrived in what the government classifies as a small tank, but which we later learned was called an “Escalade.” On the ride to their lot, the driver asked us pointed questions about our need to rent a car, such as, “Travelling for the holiday? Where are you going? How far away is it? How long will you be gone?”

So we said, “Why do you want to know? Planning on robbing our place?”


“Why did you hesitate before answering?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Then the guy at the front desk went through the same questions. So, when we got back home to pack for our trip, we took all of our electronics just in case. Fitting the flat-screen in the trunk wasn’t easy and we had to strap our son to the roof because there was no more room. But we did it.

No one broke into our house, which we’re sure has to do with the fact that there were no more electronics in it. Good thinking on our part.


Lesson learned: If you must go on a long road trip, bring Bill Cosby.

The trip from our house to our U.P. destination is between 7 and 8 hours. We get up early and drive all morning. That’s the routine. With an eight-year-old boy in the car, it can get a little trying. So this year we downloaded MP3s of Bill Cosby’s classic “Himself.” It may not last 8 hours, but for the rest of the trip, our son kept signing, “Dad is great. Gives us chocolate cake.” Not that we did. Or at least that we’ll tell his mother about.

Thanksgiving itself was a lot like anyone else’s Thanksgiving, with much overeating, a little overdrinking, and several kids crying because something wasn’t fair. For the next few days we simply relaxed, played family games, played with our son and his cousins in the snow, and tried talking like a yooper.

On the long ride back, we broke out Bill Cosby again. He just released a new special called “Far From Finished.” We downloaded it and played it out over the car speakers. One again our son laughed all the way home, and so did we. Cosby’s source material hasn’t changed much, he still talks about marriage and kids, and he still tells stories, as opposed to throwing out punch lines. But he’s still one of the few entertainers that the whole family can listen to. No profanity, no sex and drugs, just a perspective on life that so many of us can relate to, told in a way that makes time seem to disappear while you’re listening. It was like a refreshing night-cap on a week filled with kids and games, comfort food, family and laughter.

And that, we’re pretty sure, is how you survive the holidays.

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