Wednesday, December 24, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Nobody! Or both of us, depending on how you look at it.

This visit was, miracle of miracles, pretty tame. The Namelesses were on their (for them) best behavior, and only hit 9 out of 25 possible squares. Which left us each at 4 across, and me at 3 across in two other rows as well. So no winner's podium and extra strong martinis for us, alas.

Which is actually pretty stupendous news, as Mrs. Nameless once would have hit 5 across on at least one card in the first five minutes if we'd been keeping score at the time. My favorite of her 5-across high scoring insult-fests was in the first few minutes during the coffee hour following LB's father's funeral. Which explains - if the necessity of our developing the "game" itself wasn't enough - why we try to spend as little time as possible in the same city as them.

Unfortunately, the only reason they're behaving now is that last year they pulled something so heinous that even their staunchest supporters had to protest. So they're being forced to play nice, at least in public. And since the last time they were forced to pretend to be nice publicly led privately to the situation culminating in the aforementioned heinous nonsense, we're planning on watching our backs for the next six months. At least.

Still, this may very well be our first holiday season without any new emotional scars from LB's paternal gene pool.

So maybe we both won something after all, even if we can't stick an olive in it.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Let The Games Begin

LB is a delightful man, who lights up when around other people. His family are really great folks, too. And he enjoys spending time with them, although they really don't get to hang out often so it's extra special for him when they can. Which means that going home to visit this weekend to celebrate his sister's masters degree should be pretty cool.


There is one member of his family who has never gotten over LB's birth, as far as I can tell. From the day LB was born, this person seems to believe that everything that LB gets in life somehow comes out of their karmic pocket. I know it's common in a family for one child to resent another, especially if money is tight and now used-to-be-an-only-child can't go to camp because little brother needs braces. But when you're approaching the half century mark and you still haven't pulled your head out of your behind, it becomes a little... um. Ridiculous.

LB never retaliates, just lets the nameless relative and nameless relative's significant other snark and be mean. Mock, belittle, insult, back stab. Pretend they're joking. Lather, rinse, repeat. But it's a little depressing to never be able to look forward to a holiday or family event because of the constant nastiness.

Well, this time we've decided that if they're not going to stop with the childishness, we're just going to treat it with the care and dignity it deserves.

Presenting "B1tch0"

Some of these topics will only make sense to LB, but highlights of the weekend will, I'm sure, include:

"Too Many Men on the Field"
This is a classic. Mom gets upset that there is tension between the two, so she brings Nameless Relative over, and forces him to say something nice to LB. Usually followed almost immediately by:

"Silent Seethe"
Perfect opportunity for one of their little snarks, but because of the presence of someone else in the conversation who would know it wasn't a "joke" and be able to call foul, they have to hold it in.

Doesn't really need an explaination, but LB thinks this should go immediately in the Oxford Eng. Dictionary.

"Nana Maneuver"
This is a classic. LB goes over to his Nana's house. While he's there, offers to take out the trash. She says no, it's not full. Everyone knows you can't take out the trash until it's full. She had a lot of fun rules like that. So the next day, we come home to an absolutely hysterical, invective filled 10 minute rant on our answering machine from Nameless Relative's spouse, demanding that LB go back over to his Nana's house and take out the trash. Immediately. Or else. That was my favorite part, the "or else". That and the fact that the phone call was made while Mrs. Nameless was standing right next to Nana's little 5 gallon trash can, the one that needed to be emptied. The technical definition of a "Nana Maneuver" for this weekend is when either one of the pair turns a non-situation (not-full trash not needing to go out) into an international crisis - which you are required to take care of RIGHT THIS SECOND - via misrepresentation of the facts or outright lies, with bonus points if it's caught on tape.

"Troll By"
Entering a conversation they aren't even a part of just to say something insulting. Not to be confused with a "Sniper Attack", which is just completely out of the blue and unconnected to any current or recent conversation.

Upon hearing anything that's happened that is the opposite of brilliant, saying "That Sounds Like Something LB Would Do". This is sort of a gimme on the card, since I don't think that in the decade I've known LB the spouse of Nameless hasn't uttered this little gem at least once in an evening.

"Insult Replay"
Repeating an insult more than once, just to make sure everyone heard it. This one's worth double points if it comes up in a completed "B1tch0"

"Holier Than Who?"
This is one of my favorites. Mrs. Nameless launched into a monologue last family event on how she was raised so religiously, and how treating others well is something she still, to this day, feels is an important part of her life. We went to the store. And when we came back half an hour later, she was still in the middle of her "why I should be nominated for sainthood" speech.

"... as a baby"
At least one conversation will be interrupted by Mrs. Nameless announcing that LB was "dropped on his head as a baby", for context see "TSLSRWD", above.

LB and I each get a card.

One "B1tch0", across or down = loser buys "winner" a martini

1 B1tch0 across and 1 B1tch0 down = loser buys "winner" brunch or dinner at restaurant of choice

Diagonal B1tch0, or any B1tch0 that includes the center square = dinner at favorite restaurant in town.

Full B1tch0 card = Thai Massage.

I never thought I'd say this, but we may actually be looking forward to this trip.