November 25, 2012 in Features

The Slice: Mysteries of extended families

By The Spokesman-Review

Hey, kids!

If you have spent the past few days in the company of your extended family, you probably have some questions. Let’s get right to them.

Q: Why do my older relatives yell when getting up out of a chair?

A: That’s not really yelling. Let’s call it sighing or gently exclaiming about the effort required to get moving. Once a person has reached a certain age, the body begins to favor inertia. Saying “ooof!” helps.

Q: This house smells weird. What is that?

A: That’s a mystery modern science has yet to unravel.

Q: My mother and her mother love each other more than any two people in the world. So why do they often look as if they want to pick up a carving knife and plunge it into the other?

A: Love can be complicated.

Q: Why does everyone call it “Grammy’s medicine” when we all know it is 100-proof booze?

A: That just sounds better than most of the reality-based alternatives.

Q: What does it mean when Grandma says she is getting one of her sick headaches?

A: It means Grandpa had best lay low for a while.

Q: When Grandma refers to her having “the misery,” what is she talking about?

A: Life with Grandpa.

Q: Why did we even bother coming to Spokane if all anyone is going to do is sit around and watch football on TV?

A: Why indeed.

Q: Whenever someone asks my dad what happened to him in the war, Uncle Delbert changes the subject. What gives?

A: Your uncle knows some things about your father that the others don’t, and that is his way of protecting his brother.

Q: How do those snarling tigers get in the house late at night?

A: Those aren’t tigers. That’s your aunt snoring.

Generation gap: “We were playing a 20 questions-like game with our 11-year-old niece, Angela,” wrote Barbara Graham.

Several times the adults asked, “Is it bigger than a bread box?”

But Angela did not hear that quite right, and she found herself wondering why the older folks kept comparing everything to a Redbox DVD rental kiosk.

“Gotta love family game night,” said Graham.

Today’s Slice question: What sort of office Christmas party can you have if you work from home?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email If Jim Clanton ran Spokane International Airport he would bring back the polar bear.

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