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Opinion >  Column

The Slice: Asked and certain to be answered

Nervous about attending a holiday party?

Relax. Two questions are guaranteed to break the ice and have you basking in the role of genius social catalyst.

1. Did your cat ever try to climb your family’s Christmas tree?

If that doesn’t work, you can always try…

2. When you were a kid, did your family decorate the tree the same way every year?

Stand back. Nostalgia coming.

And if the person to whom you are speaking does not celebrate Christmas, you can always talk about the weather.

The Slice question from Dec. 11, 1995: How would the Inland Northwest be different if you had never been born?

Slice answers: “Rarely do I succeed in not swearing, no matter who the audience: ministers/clergy, doctors, nurses, friends,” wrote Joel Shank. “I have a very old bad habit that has been, so far, impossible to shed. Sometimes, like when the physicians were making a lab rat out of my dad at the end of his life, swearing is entirely appropriate. Most other times, far from it. I do try to be good. After all, Santa’s taking notes.”

After Monday’s column about tracking down hidden Christmas gifts, I heard from Catherine Short.

“When I was 13, I’d perfected the art of sniffing out hiding places for gifts, even trying on my first high-heels that were hidden under my parents’ bed. (They weren’t very inventive when it came to hiding stuff.) Although I didn’t find the bicycle they’d hidden in the old hen house when I was 10.

“I learned how to unwrap and rewrap the gifts under the tree. On Christmas Day there wasn’t one surprise for me. I vowed I would never again spoil my day like that. I still poke, sniff or shake the occasional gift, but no more unwrapping. Besides, my family know to disguise obvious items by ingenious wrapping techniques or adding stuff that rattles or feels squishy.”

And Colville’s Lan Hellie responded to a Pearl Harbor Day question.

“I’d rather crawl everywhere I go, like a Marine going up Mount Suribachi on bloodied hands and knees, than drive a Japanese car.”

Warm-up question: What percentage of Inland Northwest adults would eschew hats no matter what the weather?

Today’s Slice question: Are you old enough to remember no-holds-barred office Christmas parties?

Write The Slice at P.O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email pault@spokesman.com. Don’t buy “Northwest” calendars that are actually “West Side” calendars, unless that is really what you want.

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