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He Said: That Thing My Parents Do That Drives Me Nuts

By now, you probably know that we spent Thanksgiving (and several days after) with my parents. They just left. It was fun, but it was also really, really exhausting. It seems like the older my parents get, the less patient I am with them. I was trying to figure out exactly what it is they do to get under my skin so quickly -- and Holly put her finger on it: My parents cannot resist a single opportunity for sentimentality. They live for it. And lucky for them, holidays are a prime breeding ground.

Mom: Do you want to know what I'm thankful for?
Me: Silence
Mom: Togetherness.
Me: Care to expand? (Just kidding, I'd never say that -- in reality I continue to remain silent.)
Mom: It all started when you were baby, it was your first Thanksgiving...
Me: (Thinking) Mom, I have a beard, a lawnmower, and I'm chewing Nicorette -- I think it's finally time to stop telling baby stories.

Oh, did I mention the dramatic pause my mother always adds to conversations so that she can really milk the sentiment? The pause, which is supplemented with lots of misty eye contact, is complete bliss for her. For me, it's brutal. Especially since I'm the type of guy who walks around actively trying to avoid teary, sentimental situations. They're everywhere if you let them be...I mean, listen, I've got my mother's blood running through my veins, so I have to watch it. When I do slip up and say something wildly sentimental, I try to follow it up with something really lowbrow and inappropriate. "Here's to all my friends and family, without whom I would be nothing. [Awkward pause.] I don't know about you guys, but I'm hungry as a *^#@*#! moose."

Of course, the entire issue comes down to my own discomfort with sentimentality, which at the end of the day, doesn't make for a strong argument against it. Bottom line -- patience is a virtue, and when it comes to my parents, it's my job.

What about your parents -- do they have any crazy/totally annoying habits?

-- Jack

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