A.J. Goes Home For the Holidays

Last weekend I went home for Thanksgiving. My father, master of “dad jokes,” calls Thanksgiving “Black Friday Eve.” “Dad Jokes” are not funny. But, I am thankful I have a father.

I had to fly US Airways, which does not fly directly from Atlanta to anywhere. I had a

layover in Phoenix. I wonder if “layover” is derived from laying over drunk, considering the amount of alcohol I consumed in the Phoenix airport bar. “Airport drunk” is a different kind of drunk than “frat party drunk” or “restaurant tipsy.” It makes you want to do things like whisper to children, “This airplane is powered by farts, and if you don’t fart we’ll crash.”

I sat next to a 29-year-old lawyer named Larry. Larry is a public defender in California, but he hates the government. He is so libertarian, he believes that you should be able to do whatever you want, even meth. Even if you have children. He explained that his job is to get these people through the process as fast as possible and then teach them how to “kiss ass” so they can get their kids back and keep smoking meth. I decided not to go to law school. If you lose your teeth doing meth, you can buy baby food in bulk for you and your baby.

Upon arriving home, I greeted the dog, Rocket. He has seizures. He did not have a seizure when he saw me. I was happy for his health, but upset I did not make him happy enough to have a seizure.

The following afternoon my mother took me to breakfast. We went to Holder Family Country Inn down the street from the Apple Headquarters. They do not offer lodging. It is a restaurant that serves typical American food, breakfast all day, and has an early-bird special. Naturally it is a haven for Cupertino’s senior citizens who enjoy a hearty breakfast and loudly reminisce about the days before all the hustle and bustle, and before the majority of Cupertino’s business signs were written in “Asian.” The good ole days are cute until you remember racism.

My dad and I got coffee later. His work issued him an iPhone. He was upset because it was user-unfriendly. They once dropped a box of iPads in Ethiopia, leaving them for 7 year olds, who in three weeks, without instruction, turned them on, jail-broke them, and turned them into internet hot spots. I turned on notifications for his email. He said, “you liberals, always just give a man a fish. I want you to teach me how to fish.”

“Dad,” I said, “Phishing is illegal. I hope you’re not pretending to be a Nigerian Prince to pay for Emory.”

“No son, corn futures pay for that.”

Buy Del Monte products.

My older sister wanted me to pick her up from the airport because she had a layover in Las Vegas. She is in charge of a tutoring center that serves Somali, Eretrian and other East African refugees. As it turns out, once the children are removed fr war torn, poverty-stricken, failed states, they will also enjoy Justin Bieber and Facebook. Faced with a few days’ freedom from typical pre-adolescent tragedies, not involving loss of limb, she drowned her exhaustion in orange juice and vodka. Airport drunk takes many forms.

She wanted to walk up to an obese woman playing airport slots and solicit change from her for a fake nonprofit organization that “gives elocution lessons to the homeless.” Even people in the nonprofit world can laugh.

We played a family game of Scrabble ® because we are boring. It was a delight. Halfway through Scrabble ® I realized my letters were “a,e,i,o,u,i,i.” These are vowels. I needed consonants to make words. I traded in my letters. I picked, “a,e,i,a,a,u,e.” Conveniently, my great aunt died, and the game was suspended.

So, this week I learned there’s no place like the Home On The Range bar in Phoenix International Airport.

— By A.J. Artis