Put the wine down, Alice.

My parents hosted us for dinner last night, to celebrate the seven million birthdays in our immediate family, in ONE WEEK. Over the course of 8 days every September, we have the birthdays of my father, my two brothers, and my sister. So, a bunch of us gathered, and Grandma Alice was there, too. My sister’s boyfriend brought a jug o’ vino over, and before I know it, he’s pouring Alice some of the sticky sweet wine into a red Solo cup. Oh, God, I think. She’s going to go nuts. If she lacks a filter when sober, then all hopes of acceptable behavior go out the window when there’s wine involved. And, she’s off. She drank that first glass as if there was bucket of 20 dollar bills at the bottom, giggling, yelling, performing for what she perceives as her audience. It wasn’t too bad, more or less just Alice on a megaphone, if you will. Stuff we can handle.

Now she’s being poured a second glass, and I’m a bit nervous. She’s 80, never drinks, and has arteries that have proven inaccessible by even the most advanced cardiac interventions. Probably not the best candidate for “just one more.” I’m across the room, talking with my father, and then I hear it-“…and that OBAMA!” I freeze, looking at my dad. She’s going to start talking about politics. She’s trying to start a conversation with Kate’s boyfriend, who is giving her virtually nothing to go on, yet she’s undeterred. “You know Obama’s a Muslim, right?” and “He’s ruining our economy. I LOVED George W. Bush-now THERE was a president. He always did what was right.” Now, I don’t need to explain to you, dear readers, what statements like this do to my heart. It’s especially difficult hearing this come from someone I share blood with. It’s also worth noting that everything she thinks she believes is straight parroted from Fox News, or other equally uninformed people that tell her these things as truth. Being 80 however, means that trying to encourage her to see the light, tell her how wrong she is, is a fruitless activity. But, it’s also impossible for me to keep my mouth shut, no matter how hard I try. Sensing this, my father and brother interject with distracting, off topic jokes. In this moment, I couldn’t love them more. I look, and notice that Alice’s wine is only half gone.

A few minutes later, I’m sitting next to her, and she’s looking up at Kate’s boyfriend, who is playing with Squish. Suddenly, Alice says, “Dominick, take your shorts off!{*Insert horrified head snaps from all across the room, here*} I mean, your shirt! Take your SHIRT OFF!” This doesn’t make anyone in the room feel better, especially Dominick, who awkwardly smiles, not sure what to do. “Grandma!” I say, “Why are you saying that?” “What? Look at him, he’s hot,” she says, referring to him lightly dabbing his forehead with a napkin. “Don’t ask people to take their clothes off at a party, it makes them feel weird,” I tell her, and she laughs, as if I’m kidding. It’s not that kind of party, Alice.

Over the next few hours, she calms down (sobers up?), but not without first telling someone (who shall remain anonymous, for privacy reasons) what a weirdo she always thought their brother was, staring and creeping around all the time. She says all this, despite my mother’s attempts to tell her to stop, saying “Oh, no, Mom-not that again. We’re not going there.” Apparently, this a tale she likes to tell repeatedly. Not a big fan of socially-appropriate conversations, that one. She is, however, a fan of jugged wine, and the calamity that invariably ensues when she’s had some. But hey, she’s 80…I guess she can do what she wants. And she should (minus the political talk-that’s just a no-fly zone). I say go big, or go home…but only if you’ve got a DD.

Cheers, Alice.

Glassware fit for a frat boy.

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