Enduring the unbearable: surviving the summer with the people who love you most

We are so close to leaving this place and getting a well-deserved break. This break comes at a price, however: we have to spend some time interacting with our families. Before you give me that crap about how “blood is thicker than water” or “your mother gave birth to you” let me say one thing. I love my family, but they just annoy me endlessly. So here are some tips for not committing matricide/patricide/sororicide/fratricide over this three month stretch of endless time. Remember, these do not fit every family, so you should mix-and-match these tips to whatever best suits you.

Now, we all know moms love only one thing: the complex inner workings of a Fellini film. So here’s your chance to bond with your mom and use your expensive liberal arts education all in one go! Instead of discussing the many intricacies of his writing and directing, try acting the films out! Personally, I’ve never seen any of them but I hear they’re good, wholesome family films. I fully intend on watching his whole Filmography with Marge (my mom) this summer, as I have nothing better to do.

I know that if I ever want to hang out with my lil bro, all I have to do is whip out his favorite Gloria Steinem coloring book and talk to him about the complex machinations of the patriarchy, and how he can work to make society less threatening towards women. Sam is only 5, but I’m pretty sure he’s picking up what I’m putting down. If you have older siblings, I don’t know what to tell you. But if they’re reading this article, chances are that you’ll get a feminist coloring book in your Vassar mailbox. I’m not sure what to tell you if you have a sister, but as a sister myself, I will tell you what I like in a brother: the ability to shapeshift into a hedgehog.

Dads are a little bit more tricky. They don’t like movies or coloring books. Typically they are interested in boring things like golf and computers. I personally am only allowed to talk to Topher (my dad) in either binary or golf lingo. A helpful phrase to know in binary is: “01001001 00100000 01101100”, which means, “I love you dad.” Using this will surely get you on your dad’s good side for a day or two. If you are not familiar with golf, don’t bother. It’s a waste of your time. But at least pretend to like it for your dad, because we all know that pretending to be someone else is the number one thing your family teaches you. Whenever your dad asks you about golf, just say “The par of the bogey was unbelievable! Don’t cut that into the green! Caddy that sucker to the hole!” He will totally buy it.

These tips should be easy to navigate, as long as you don’t let your family interact with you simultaneously. If you get your parents in the same room, there is a 60% chance that they will ask annoying questions that you don’t care about. “What’s your major, Lily?” “Was JFK’s assassination an inside job?” “What is the exchange rate of yen to pounds?” Come on, Mopher (my couple name for my parents), what’s the point? If you insist on asking me these insane questions, at least give me the formula for calculating the exchange rate! The list of demands my parents give me is also ridonculous. Not only do I need to do household chores like mowing the lawn and giving the dog a perm, but I also have to do things that aren’t humanly possible. They want me to run a 2 minute mile, live on a diet of only soylent (look it up, it’s horrifying) and get my driver’s license. I could most likely train myself to run a 2 minute mile before Pennsylvania would allow me to drive without a licensed driver in the passenger seat. If you were granted the gift of a sibling, you should collectively underachieve so that your parents don’t know who to be disappointed in more.

I hope these tips help with your family life. Do not make my same mistakes in life by forgetting your brother’s blood type or your mom’s favorite soup. Make and study flashcards about your family before going home for break. It’s not like you have to study for finals or anything.


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