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Fireworks on the Fourth
Monday, Jul. 05, 2004, 11:26 p.m.

QUESTION: Stuffed grape leaves, anyone?

WHAT I LEARNED: Don't take the bait.


My dad and I would get along a lot better if we just agreed not to speak about anything but the following:

  • The weather,
  • The time,
  • What day it is.

Perhaps it might be better to remove the weather from this list though. After all, it may leave room for too many differences of opinion – is it party cloudy or partly sunny, drizzles or showers, windy or breezy? Anyone can see the danger here.

Maybe we ought to remove the time from the safe topics list as well, as time is a relative concept after all, open to many interpretations - all of which can be staunchly held and argued about for hours on end at the drop of a hat.

So that just leaves discussions as to what day it is, I think. Yes, that would be the best topic of conversation for my dad and I – except if it’s a holiday because then we get into alternate names – is it July 4th, or the Fourth of July, or Independence Day? Who knows what kind of debate that would stir up between us.

There is a slight possibility that we could talk about food, but only about the degree to which it taste extra good and is just right for the occasion. This food conversation must not include discussions revolving around how much people should or should not eat, how healthy or unhealthy such food is, what times food may be eaten, number of times people may refill or not refill plates, or opinions regarding the culinary offerings of grateful guests who brought extra goodies to the holiday gathering. This last point includes saying stuff like – there’s not an inch of room left in the refrigerator for this or I don’t eat this. THIS being the stuff I just spent $30 on at the fancy grocery store that has those paper bags with handles and no bonus card because I believe in gestures of love and goodwill and was craving hummus and stuffed grape leaves.

I think if my dad and I stick to these guidelines we should get along famously. If we dip a toe into the murky grey areas beyond we will likely be heading full steam ahead into the argument abyss.

Yesterday, we dived headlong into the deep sea of unending disagreement. If we had political placards in hand, I am sure we would have been bonking each other over the head with them. Luckily, we were all out as I’d already spent my cash on stuffed grape leaves and my dad was sneaking in his political statements as comments addressed to other people (not me) and thus couldn’t utilize the placard in this case without blowing his cover.

My father thinks I was born yesterday. Unfortunately, he is wrong.

Let’s just say that the liberty to maintain our own beliefs and the freedom of speech to express them are both wonderful thing but sometimes it’s a good idea to just sit back, shut up, and watch the pretty fireworks.

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