It's that time of year again, and all around the U.S., Americans are roasting the turkeys, decking the halls, and shouting the age-old cry:
"Mom and Dad are on the way -- hide the booze!"
Yes, the folks are coming to spend time with you for the holidays. Aren't you glad? This means you need to get rid of the many items in your house that they disapprove of: alcohol, prescriptions, stacks of cash -- you know, all the things that make life worth living.
To that end, we here at the Center for Holiday Happiness have come up with 10 Things to Hide When Your Parents Visit for the Holidays, a definitive list to use at Thanksgiving, Christmas, or just anytime the folks come to town.
Grab the beer from the fridge, the vodka from the freezer, the wine from the pantry -- there is no merriment when parents visit, no. Silent judgment. That's the order of the day.
The best place to stash the hooch? Way back in the closet or under the bed. Far enough away from prying eyes, but still close enough to take a swig if you need it.
And you will need it.
Now, you may have folks who are cool enough to chill out and have a drink with you. If so, you should know two things: 1) You are a lucky bastard; and 2) The rest of us hate you.
Your antidepressants, your sleep aids, your anti-anxiety pills -- anything that keeps you from jumping off a bridge or strangling someone. Yeah. Stash those suckers pronto. But take it from us here at the Center for Holiday Happiness: Remember where you put them. We hid a box of scripts in 2007 that we still haven't found, and we miss it.
Your mother is a kind, sweet, loving woman. She is also a raging kleptomaniac, at least when it comes to photographs of the grandchildren. Though you give her plenty of photos, she cannot restrain herself from raiding the albums when you're not looking, and when she goes home, you're left with page after page of empty slots where the kids' images used to be.
But if you try to take your own baby pictures from her house?
She will cut you. No questions asked.
7. Stuff you stole from them
People of a certain age end up with a lot of crap, so most older parents have three of everything. Except in the case of baby pictures, mothers and fathers are a generous lot, and anyway, will they really miss what you took? The cordless drill, the record player, the 2005 Buick LeSabre? We think not, but best to tuck these things away until they leave.
6. Credit card bills/Past-due notices/All your mail
Your mom and dad warned you not to get those credit cards. Your mom and dad warned you not to buy that sports car. Your mom and dad warned you not to . . .
Aw, hell. Where's the booze?
5. Items that may or may not require AA batteries
Here at the Center for Holiday Happiness, we may or may not have an acquaintance whose father was looking for toilet paper in his daughter's bathroom cabinet, only to find -- and then accidentally turn on -- an item made of medical grade silicone that may or may not have required AA batteries. Whether the gentleman knew what the device was or not is unclear.
He never spoke again.
4. Your browser history
Sure, lots of our folks aren't technically savvy enough to know what "Ctrl H" does. But Dad definitely knows how to hit the "back" button, and you might want to monitor what he sees when he boots up your laptop for his early morning round of Candy Crush. The man does have a heart condition.
3. Modern technology
(Also known as, "Ooh, that's so neat! What is it? I want one!")
iPhones, iPads, Kindles, Nooks -- these are amazing things, when one knows what one is doing.
When one doesn't know what one is doing, one buys one anyway, calls their adult offspring at work, and then engages in confusing hour-long phone conversations that cause rage, high blood pressure and unemployment.
So do yourself a favor. Keep your sanity. Keep your job. Hide your iPad. Immediately.
Sure, the extent of your smut collection is one ancient VHS tape someone gave you at your bachelor or bachelorette party. Sure it is.
And you only keep it for nostalgic reasons. Sure you do.
But be advised that this is the very tape Granny will find, after reaching wayyy back into your video cabinet. She'll squint through her bi-focals, say, "Oh -- I love this movie!" and shove Forrest Hump into the VCR before you can sprint back in from the kitchen.
You were warned.
And the number one thing to hide when your parents visit for the holidays is:
1. Your whereabouts
Seriously. Save yourself the trouble of shielding the folks from your shame, your vices, your Forrest Hump. That's right. Why hide a few things, when you can lock the front door and hide EVERYTHING.
Hey -- Hawaii is lovely this time of year.
And don't forget the booze.