Blackout Wednesday in the 'Burbs

It's almost time for the Midwest suburbs' drunkest day of the year! Not New Year's Eve. Not St. Patrick's Day. Not the 4th of July. No, not even MSU vs. U of M game day. It's Drunksgiving! Also known as Blackout Wednesday. Each year, I look forward to it with all the enthusiasm that Wednesday Addams had for Thanksgiving.

That's not genuine moral outrage, by the way. I mean, it's a glorious, satisfying, iconic performance of moral outrage. But think about it. We love the character of Wednesday Addams for being a coldblooded mercenary, a sharp and glamorous mascot for all the nihilism of Gen X, who--Hey, speaking of Gen X, are they going to be at Thanksgiving? Did anyone remember to invite them? In the traditional Boomer vs. Millennial showdown over our feast of greed and gluttony, will Gen X sit back and spectate, forgotten as usual, or will they carry a torch for the sickest burn and use it as a diversion to escape social obligation, like our goth princess Wednesday?

Okay, so the way Wednesday feels about the summer camp Thanksgiving play (lame--get me out of here) is how I feel about Blackout Wednesday. Like, Thanksgiving can be stressful enough. Do we have to poison ourselves and drive our cars into trees the night before? Do we have to start puking before overeating? Do we have to reunite with everyone we outgrew in our youth and celebrate by playacting that we, too, are human dumpsters? No, no we do not.

I live at Ground Zero for these shenanigans, in the Midwestern suburbs, not too far away from Michigan State University, the drunkenness capital of Murrica. I like to prepare for Blackout Wednesday with the same kind of care and attention to detail that Wednesday Addams must have used in preparing her escape from summer camp. I make sure I have all my grocery shopping and errands done so that no one has to leave the house that night; I have known a few too many people killed or permanently injured by drunk drivers to not take this seriously. Like Wednesday, I like to have a nice fire--but in my fireplace. Like Wednesday, I like to have an accomplice in the form of a cute and kissable asthmatic guy--my husband. Like Wednesday, I am interested in learning and teaching my daughter about real American Indian history--but not necessarily to appropriate it for my own revenge plots. It's just, you know, interesting.

My parents are Boomers and also rad liberals, and I don't hate celebrating holidays with them. If my family were so toxic that being around them made me want to get blackout drunk, well, I probably wouldn't be helping them move into my neighborhood this week. I am a full grown adult Millennial (ahem, Earth to hilariously bootypained Boomers who have burst into flames at the word "OK": the children making fun of you on TikTok are Gen Z, not us approaching-middle-age-moms you've been screaming "avocado toast" at for decades). As I was saying, if my parents and/or other extended family guests at Thanksgiving were nuclear, toxic, abusive people (as opposed to regular family members who don't always get along perfectly), I would not bring my daughter over to spend time with them anyway. I'd let them have a meltdown and drink away their sorrows, if someone must, rather than volunteering to do it myself. I haven't been Catholic for a long time, and self-imposed martyrdom no longer appeals to me.

The fact is that I don't hate my family, not even the more typical Boomers among them, or myself, and I don't prefer to catch up with the old friends I do want to see over the dive bar toilet, so bah humbug to Blackout Wednesday. But I get it. Sometimes people use "avoiding something I hate" as an excuse for "doing something I secretly like to do," which for some people is, I guess, getting hammered with your mates from middle school band camp. For me, it might be baking pies and watching campy old movies with my husband and daughter and cat, which sounds much cooler if I pretend it's all because I'm protesting mass consumerism and casting spells for the fall of capitalism. But who do I need to perform for? Everyone worshiping at the public porcelain altars will be too hungover to even remember that I wasn't there.

Remember to eat your vegetables! Love, Mom


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