“Distant Relative ‘Cannot BELIEVE’ How Much You’ve Grown Since Last Christmas”

Written by: Stephen Lightfoot

After witnessing the growth of her grandnephew, Great Aunt Patty immediately went to work knitting 75 larger sweaters and cooking 32 times the original amount of food she normally would.
Photo by Jack Yang

Citing your improved stature, slight gain in weight, and quarter-inch longer hair, your Great Aunt Patty has recently proclaimed that you’re practically a brand-new person. Adding that she was “absolutely flabbergasted at how much you’ve changed” since the last time she saw you almost one year ago, Great Aunt Patty engaged in small talk about your life, which was met with non-answers or outright lies. “Christmas time is always special to me,” Great Aunt Patty explained. “I get to take a break from work, take a trip out to the coast, and see my sister’s kids, which is practically the whole reason I come. The other reason is I can drink heavily and pinch their cute little cheeks. Everyone thinks I pinch ‘em cause I’m drunk, but I just wanna pinch some cheeks without being judged.”

After Great Aunt Patty had re-filled her drink, she made her way to the living room for her bi-hourly bone-crushing hug, causing cousins on both sides of the family to flee. While some hid in the bathroom, others hid in plain sight, trying to eat all the cheese and crackers before being caught. “I know it’s important to love your family and all that,” said one family member, playing Xbox while hiding in a room with other relatives. “And of course, I love Great Aunt Patty — she’s been part of the family for like, forever, and presumably will be for another two to three years. But I just wish she would stop with her constant physical assault-y displays of affection. I don’t want to be drop kicked into a cheek kiss every time she comes over for the holidays.”

“I may be in the minority here, but I think it’s sweet how much Great Aunt Patty cares,” remarked Uncle Drew, taking a long sip of his fifth eggnog-and-brandy cocktail. “We all have our vices. Mine is that I enjoy the occasional drink, and Great Aunt Patty’s vice is loving people too much. Is that a sin? I think not. Hell, Uncle Jeremy is addicted to crack. Did we cast him out? I mean, we did when he brought his dealer to Thanksgiving dinner. But he was back for Thanksgiving the very next year. Isn’t that what family’s all about?”

After gathering everyone for dinner, Great Aunt Patty dropped all pretense of small talk, and proceeded to ask incredibly sensitive and deep questions to everyone aged 18 to 22 years-old. Topics included school, social friendships, and sex lives. “She said that since I got so tall, I must be a real lady’s man, you know?” said Albert, a distant relative and first-year at University of Puget Sound. “And so, I said yeah, kind of. In retrospect, it probably wasn’t the best time to come out as bi.”

After several elongated silences at dinner, gentle coughs, and wholehearted acceptance of Albert’s sexuality, Great Aunt Patty made a post-dinner announcement about how much she had enjoyed the time the family spent together. “I know I can only make it down once or twice every year, but that’s always seemed like such a shame to me,” Great Aunt Patty began. “That’s why I’ve made the decision to move closer to you guys, so I can see everyone more often!” Despite well-wishes all around, one younger relative seemed apathetic to the news, later remarking that “If we see her every other week, maybe she won’t talk so much about how much I’ve grown. Or maybe — no, she’ll definitely still harass me about my height.” Construction plans for an Aunt-proof bunker are reportedly underway.

Editor in Chief Emeritus at The MQ

Stephen Lightfoot is Editor in Chief of The MQ.

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