Two things: I’ve always wanted to write an advice column and give answers such as “Shut up and grow the (bleep) up” or “Your sister probably hates you, too, that’s why she slept with your husband!” and have friends send in fake questions.
Second, I love Thanksgiving, except for the horrid Jell-O part. So in a hurry to post this idea on Facebook, I grabbed a Norman Rockwell Thanksgiving photo off the internet. But I foolishly put up an Evil Rockwell Thanksgiving, with the kindly grandmother serving a tray full of whiskey, malt liquor and bongs to her loving family.
And that’s how Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man was born.
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man: Cranberries. As God intended or that crap out of a can? Steve Johnson
If they want crap, give them crap. They’re your guests, Steve.
Please side with me: Jell-O rings should be banned from the table. Michael J. Maggio
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man wants to waterboard anyone who brings Jell-O to Thanksgiving. There is no room for Jell-O. Ever.
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man: The role of pets at Thanksgiving dinner? David Mansfield
It is rude to bring your uninvited pet to someone else’s home for Thanksgiving dinner — as in, “Oh, I thought I’d just bring Fluffy, isn’t he cute?” Any pets should be prepared in advance. I suggest braising pets in wine and chicken stock. Serve when Fluffy’s thigh meat reaches 170 degrees.
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man: I am still assigned to the children’s table even though I just celebrated my 45th birthday. Why? Could it have something to do with my tendency to … I dunno, talk politics, slurp gravy, sweat profusely? Made up question from fake Guy from the Suburbs
Count your blessings you’re at the kids’ table. They’ll just stare at their phones and leave you in peace. If you drink to excess, do not, under any circumstances, engage in random sweat transfer with your nephew’s hot girlfriend like you did last year. Uncool.
Dear Thanksgiving Advice Man: When should I serve the pickled herring? Penny Ziemer Ford
Never. Pickled herring will clash terribly with that tasty tray of ortlans, the delicious songbird delicacy now unfortunately banned in France. So serve creamed herring instead. Gobs of creamed herring, so dang creamy and delicious!
I have taken large amounts of cash from the register at work. What’s the right temperature to cook a turkey to? Made up question from fake Sinister Female Thief
Stolen turkey has the most flavor. So bring your employer a drumstick. And laugh silently to yourself as he chews.
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man, when is it appropriate to discuss politics and religion? Before the main course or after dessert? Tony Paul
Wait until everyone is well-plotzed. It works out best that way.
We serve only mediocre booze, while keeping the good stuff hidden for … well, for me. How do you stand on this? Emil Strandquist
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man does not want to go to Emil’s house.
Should you call out “oyster dressing’”or let the guests find out for themselves? I like the element of surprise. Art Goodrich
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man believes in surprises.
Dear Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man: For years my sainted mother-in-law would make a beet salad concoction. It is essentially a tasteless, unsightly mass. But I always took some. She doesn’t cook anymore but somehow, the beet salad keeps appearing at every holiday meal and I — and evidently I alone — am expected by everyone else to eat that crap … much to the amusement of my family. Is there a way I can end this without offending? Ray Siebert
Eat the crap Ray. She put up with yours for years. So just eat it and shut the bleep up, OK? Eat it, Ray.
Do I really have to help after dinner or can I head straight to the couch? I don’t want to help. Why does some gallant moron of a man always pipe up with “How can I help” after dinner? I feel forced to join in, when I just want to go nap. Made up question from fake Lazy Guy
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man hates guys like that too. So just break a few dishes and they’ll tell you to sit back down on the couch.
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man: How do you feel about takeout plates for relatives who don’t show up for the celebration? I’m not talking about an ill family member or someone who has to work, just someone who doesn’t bother to show up like a brother-in-law? Brian Newhouse
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man says to tell your sister no takeout plate, no bleeping way. Then, in a loud voice, you should offer to pay for her divorce. Make sure her kids hear you. Tell me how it works out, Bri.
Mr. Thanksgiving Advice Man, can I serve oxtails and onion soup or does it have to be turkey? Jo Ann Okulinski Reksel
Jo Ann, you must serve turkey or you’ll be considered a godless commie. But history tells us that the oxtails and the Kass Onion Soup were brought to the Pilgrims for the first Thanksgiving by a peaceful Mediterranean tribe, the Griks, so gentle that now they’re extinct. But they did teach the Pilgrims how to moutza.
Dear Mister Thanksgiving Advice Man, is it OK to tell the guests the TV is broken so I may continue my football protest, or do I actually have to break the TV? Donalee Westler
Listen to “The Chicago Way” podcast with John Kass and Jeff Carlin — at http://wgnradio.com/category/wgn-plus/thechicagoway.