In two days, Americans will come together and break bread as a family because we’re expected to, even though we don’t really like these people most of the time and some of them may owe us money. This is why this Thanksgiving, I’m staying home, watching MST3K, and getting wasted, not necessarily in that order.

But for the rest of you schmucks, here’s a brief guide to coping strategies the third time your aunt tells you that her ex-husband and the father of her children drunkenly slurs out a complaint that if he liked the man meat, he should have told her back in the ’70s.

Drink Early, Drink Often

Drinking Beer

There’s a reason we break out the wine at Thanksgiving dinner, and it’s not because the turkey’s dry. It’s because the only way to tolerate your family is soused. If you’re single, it’ll keep you from decking all the people asking why you’re not married, and if you’re married, it’ll explain why you don’t have kids.

Use Television in Place of Conversation

Watching TV

If your uncle wants to talk politics, specifically about how Obummer is a communist Kenyan, turn on the football game. Especially since this year, Nickelback is playing the halftime show at the Lions game, and that sports riot is going to be one to remember.

Have A Way to Escape Right After Pie

Sneaking Out

Let’s face it, Thanksgiving amounts to going on an awkward date with people you know a little too well, so why not treat it like a date? Have a friend text you fifteen minutes after dessert finishes that your gerbil is sick and you need to treat it.

Of course, this really means “Let’s sneak beers into the movie theater and avoid our families”. But they don’t need to know that. My gerbil’s been sick for a decade now, and it will be until I get cirrhosis.