We frequently talk about how every family has a crazy uncle — a difficult family member who ruins holidays with outlandish behavior and boorish opinions.
Now imagine how much worse things would be at the dinner table if your crazy uncle was being encouraged in his behavior by no less than the President of the United States of America.
Unfortunately, that’s exactly what’s happening this year. Millions of Americans have received an email from Obama’s Organizing for Action that begins — no joke — “Ah, the week of Thanksgiving — that beautiful time of year when families gather and uncles everywhere feel the need to spout off about Obamacare.”
It then told the respondents to read off talking points (!) to respond to these uncles. It requires a bit of self-reflection to know whether the people mocking or defending the disaster-prone Obamacare are the crazy uncles, but for those who are in any way unsure, it’s definitely the folks reciting talking points that party officials have handed out.
So if you’re cursed with one of these Obama-devoted uncles, here are some of the craziest things you can expect to hear.
Did you catch that? “In fact, almost 6 in 10 uninsured Americans may be able to get coverage for $100 a month or less.”
May? May? You could drive the 1st Armored Division through the hole blown in that sentence by the use of that qualifier. You may survive a jump out of a plane 30,000 feet above the Alps wearing a wingsuit. You may finally throw caution to the wind, take a few lessons and win a ballroom dancing competition. That profile you’ve been eyeing on Match.com may be understating how attractive and accomplished they are. But after you promise people — without any conditional statements — that they can keep their insurance if they want to (spoiler: they can’t) and can keep their doctor if they want to (spoiler: they can’t), only crazy uncles would buy crazy conditional statements such as these.
(This Thanksgiving, it may be time to have a remedial course in what a “fact” is, since everyone at the White House is deeply confused about what it means.)
Yes, I forgot I promised to make cranberry sauce and stuffing but I did bring my health policy number. Please calm down.
Speaking on behalf of all Thanksgiving cooks across the country, your “packing list” for what to bring to my house can include everything from rolls to flowers to nuts to your favorite pie. It should never — repeat, never — include “Social Security Number” or “information about your income.” (Forget health insurance — so long as we’re delving into relatives’ finances and have the relevant paperwork at hand, why not use it sell your aunt on a wonderful investment opportunity in a Mexican time share or see if grandma’s a little more amenable to amending her will after being dosed with tryptophan?) Thanksgiving is a wonderful time to thank God for the abundant blessings in our life. If you want to be a good American, your contribution to the Thanksgiving feast should be edible or decorative. Unless you plan to flambé your health insurance card, that doesn’t count.
With a few minor modifications, these guidelines could be used by family members to introduce Amway sales opportunities or Scientology. But unless you’re related to Ron Popeil or your family is a bunch of aging celebrities, these kinds of pitches may not be welcome around the dinner table.
Is your crazy uncle such a partisan that he believes this talking point? See how he handles this quote:
“It turns out that purchasing insurance for a lot of folks is complicated.”
When he sputters that this is a lie spread by corporate media, tell him you’re only saying what President Barack Obama said last week.
Some people — such as crazy uncles — don’t pick up on normal conversational cues. They forget to give others a chance to talk or to move on from a subject that’s not being well received. If your crazy uncle is at this point of the Obama directive — Offer to walk them through it: “Would you like to take some time with me to sign up right now?” — you may be discouraged. But you should not be! This is your best opportunity to solve the problem of boorish behavior ruining your special day.
Here’s a sample response you might use. “That would be great. Except that I’m going to be washing dishes and cleaning up for a bit. How about you go into the guest room and use the computer in there to sign me up. As soon as you’re done, you can have some pie.”
The key is to get them to make a commitment not to come out until they’ve finished signing you up. Remember their conversation tip — Ask them to make a plan, and commit to it. Ask them to commit to finishing the sign-up before they come out of the room.
Since nobody can actually sign up for Obamacare, they’ll be busily trying to operate the web site for the duration of your visit. And the beauty of the disaster zone that is the Obamacare website is that whether you plan to visit for hours or days, the crazy family member will be out of your hair. For added giggles with the sane portion of the family, be sure to follow the last tip — Don’t forget to follow up: “Have you signed up yet?”
Every time you pass the room, knock on the door loudly and ask them that exact question. Once your crazy uncle is holed-up with a laptop in the guest bedroom, you and your more tolerable relatives can enjoy the rest of the holiday in peace.