Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — I’d like to take the opportunity to raise awareness about a November tradition that is often eclipsed by leftover turkey sandwiches and doctor visits to treat black Friday related injuries, but is no less an important part of our American holiday ritual. I am of course talking about the time honored practice of complaining to your friends about the passive aggressive and/or judgmental comments your in-laws, parents and weird single aunt who keeps commenting on your weight may have made during dinner.
If Hallmark ads and made for TV movies have taught us anything, it’s that the time we get to share with our family and closest friends while collectively wearing festive sweaters is important and should be cherished, after all, as people grow and move and start families of their own, time together becomes increasingly rare. These are confusing times and the 300+ days of the year that aren’t Thanksgiving, Easter, or any of the holidays that take place in December serve to remind us that the stability, or at the very least familiarity of family can be a rock that keeps us anchored.
On the flip side of that coin, the handful of days that are holidays, where families pile into and out of minivans, children strap into back seats with pies for dinner across their laps and you reach into the back of your closet to pull that sweater you got from your uncle for Kwanzaa a few years ago, should be more than enough to remind you why the practice of people living in one bedroom apartments with their whole families died out during the industrial revolution.
A solid afternoon of talking about desserts you ate recently and mentioning how your cousin thinks he’s so great because he has a boat, but totally isn’t great because he’s never going to pay his college loans, to a close friend who has knowledge of, but doesn’t actually know your cousin can be therapeutic, even fun.
Families are invaluable and unique in that — outside of marriage and adoption — you don’t have any say in who your family is made up of. The gene pool is like a lottery, you could strike it lucky and be born with the thick flowing hair of Alec Baldwin, but you might also pull a dud and end up having to be family with Billy or Steven Baldwin.
The great thing about friends is that through life, circumstance, and shared pop-culture references and inside jokes, you are able to 100 percent choose your friends and even when they have a weird sneeze, or a habit of forgetting their wallet when you guys split a bar tab, you can take solace in the fact that these guys may be moochers, or soccer fans, but they’re yours and you chose each other.
When the road of life gets tough, your family should be there for you. That’s fine and good, but family has to be there, partially out of obligation and possibly because they’re hedging their bets so if something ever happens to you they won’t get left out of the will.
When a friend is there for you you know it was because they genuinely support you. Today, as you wrap ace bandages around the tweaked knee injury you got during a door-busters black Friday stampede, take a moment to raise a glass to your family and share that glass with your friends because it takes all kinds to keep this world spinning, and eating a whole turkey by yourself is more ‘sad fact’ than ‘fulfilling accomplishment.’Vincent Davis II is a Cornell graduate, DJ, and market development specialist in the IT industry. His column appears on the second and fourth Friday of every month. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org