Midseason Replacement

Earnest Pettie, comedy writer

Toward a Better Family Reunion

To my family,

I’ll be the first to acknowledge that this year’s family reunion did not go as well as we’d hoped, and since I was responsible for procuring the commemorative T-shirts, all of which had our name misspelled, I am willing to bear my fair share of the blame. It’s in this spirit that I have chosen to submit notes on this year’s reunion program in hope that future reunions might be the successes we know they can be.

I don’t know, however, whether I will be able to attend the next family reunion. I have been investigating the possibility of leaving this family, and the Internet has yielded a number of intriguing opportunities. Through the miracle that is Craigslist, I have found a few families willing to admit me in exchange for a small monthly fee. But who knows? At the next family meeting, we will talk, and hopefully we can agree to terms conducive to my staying on with the family.

‘Till then,
Ronald Ailey

P.S. Please find enclosed 1 collection of notes scribbled on a napkin.

Notes on Proposed Ailey Family Reunion Program

11:00 – 4:00 P.M. Introductions
Yes, I’m aware that five hours seems like a long time for introductions, but this is essential. After all, no one knows anyone, and that’s how “Uncle Louie” was able to show up, help himself to three servings, and then cause an uproar by asking the teenage girls for their phone numbers. A related note: In this age of diversity, it makes sense to embrace multiculturalism and interconnectedness, but why did no one question the presence of a creepy Serbian man at a largely African-American family event?

4:00 – 5:00 P.M. Dinner
Five hours of introductions will be exhausting; dinner will be a welcome break. If the men are going to BBQ, will it even be lit yet? Why is it so much harder to set fire to charcoal than to an ex-spouse’s expensive sportscar?

5:00 – 6:00 Doorprizes
All great efforts and sacrifices deserve rewards. Family Reunion door prizes are like the purple hearts of family life. Is it an insult to give a pre-soaped sponge as a door prize? If not, this could represent a good opportunity to make the best of a failed business venture. Also prizes give people something to look forward to and cut down on time for reflection. Reflection can only lead to unresolved arguments from previous family functions.

6:00 – 7:00 Panel Discussion???
Why do we keep doing this? This year’s topic “Second cousins – can you date ‘em?” was not productive. Maybe we could replace this activity with a competitive event of some sort.

7:00 – 7:30 Family Valedictorian speech
It’s proven wildly unpopular having the family’s highest wage-earner deliver a speech/lecture. But it is a tradition, and tradition must fit in somewhere.

7:30 Dismissal
Everyone looks forward to this. I think we’ll keep it.

Running Time: Eight and a half hours.

Many have suggested that we shorten future family reunions. How about this?

11:00 – 4:00 Introductions
4:00 Dismissal
Running Time: Five hours.

Note: We can knock off an additional fifteen minutes by eliminating handshakes.


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This entry was posted on July 25, 2006 by in Uncategorized.

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