There are a lot of great things associated with being part of a large family. There really are! It’s just a pity that I can’t quite remember one of them today.
Nah, seriously, it’s ace.
Consider: if you’re not a popular person, but you’re turning 16 or 21 or (even) 50, you simply ring around and there you have it — Rent A Crowd. If you’ve got to sell those Cadbury chocolates for fundraising (and you haven’t thrown them off a bridge or eaten them yourself) then your family is obliged to contribute. Similarly for lapathons, Good Friday appeals, attendance at dance concerts, music recitals, gigs where you’re a groovy drummer, surprise parties where you might be sozzled and sleepy by 9pm, but your sister slaps your face and tells you to ‘get out there’.
The benefits of The Big Family (or Familia Grande) are endless.
Sure, there are the downsides. Not enough room to sit around a table and rest your plate down at the same time. Having to share amenities, clothes, space, friends. Having an aunt who could be your older sister, or a cousin who is young enough to be your own child, having to laugh at Funky’s jokes (provided that Funky is real and not permanently attached to his model aircraft). Then he wouldn’t have time for funnies!
Reports just to hand suggest that the amputation team has visited Hygiene Heights and Funky McFunkster has been physically removed from his newsagent-based, matchstick model.
Another quirk of a bigger than average clan is the ‘gathering with a theme.’ Christmas, Easter, birthdays, baptisms, you name it. We have it. However, we also have specially-devised theme categories too, and usually this type of get together involves competition of some sort. It might be a car rally, where a special someone drives like a lunatic, shouts at the other drivers and finds a way to cheat for the win. It could be a family cricket game, played in such lovely spirits, no one ends up being shoved over or with a broken bone. And that was the adults.
Then there was the family (once off) softball match … but I think that event either needs burying under the shagpile or an entry all its own.
Which leads me to the reason behind this post: The Trivia Night.
These quiz-type challenges of entertainment are held all over this city. They are used as fundraisers, school-based social nights, even part of club fun for tables of ten. BYO wine, nibbles, brains and hang about. Answer a few Qs and have a giggle.
Whack the word Family in front of Trivia Night and you’ve got an entirely different event.
It all stems from a problematic few in amongst my people. There are at least a half-dozen individuals who are pathologically competitive. Not your normal ‘Hehe, I’m gunner beat you’ competitive, but the type who will find a butter knife to use as a weapon if you’re not on their team. Sadly, these folk can’t relate to old adages like ‘it’s not the winning that’s important’ or ‘there’s no shame in finishing last’. They prefer the mottos of ‘winners are grinners and losers can please themselves’ or ‘go hard or go home’ OR ‘You suck, loser!’
So much intensity! It’s a pity that these one or two family members can’t learn from people like me. Gracious in victory, elegant in defeat. In fact, Henley (from Henley & Cass fame) and I are offering a one-off chance at role-modeling our exceptional, temperate approach to competitive situations. Hypotheticals will be performed just prior to the Family Trivia Night and anyone wanting further instruction is invited to join the ‘(The) Henley and Rosie Winners Can Be Humble Too’ convention.
Unfortunately, there are also a few blokes and sheilas wot reckon they know everything. Mostly blokes. They are often referred to as know-it-alls, but I will mention them here as smart arses. Nobody likes a smartarse. Ask any politician, they’ll (probably) tell you. In my clan, these smart arses also tend to be loud. Nobody likes a loud, obnoxious smartarse. I should know. I knew one once.
Again, as a service to the family community, I’m happy to run small seminars for those struggling with a supercilious attitude, an ego the size of Christmas dinner, or an inability to close their mouth even when entertaining a fine champagne. We don’t want anyone to turn blue with hyper-stimulation.
Finally, there will be no laughing at own-jokes. This can be a common occurrence amid the individuals mentioned above (ie: loud, obnoxious, smartarses, ferociously competitive, thinking self is funnier than in actuality).
Otherwise, it will be a fabulous night. (When I win every prize, shoutdown everyone else in range, stab my parents with a butter knife — whoops, messy — argue with each answer, slap someone’s face, throw a non-alcoholic drink at Mac for getting an answer wrong, and laugh about it. Till he storms out and I say ‘I knew that would happen eventually!’)