The Mayans weren’t really wrong…just four days out

In Satire on December 25, 2012 at 10:37 AM

Husband and wives up and down the country are preparing for possible apocalypse today, as they face the visit of the dreaded in-laws.

It is thought that age-old familial rows – given around 364 days, unspoken of, to fester – could re-erupt in a way so cataclysmic, they bring the old world down with them or create an atmosphere so icily tense that the whole planet is plunged into another ice age – or at the very least result in some smashed plates and crying children.

Many were hoping that the Mayan apocalypse, predicted four days ago, would be an easy get out clause. Alas, they are still here, and must face their fate head on. Like Tom Saunders, husband and father of three from Enfield.

He said: “I thought with all this apocalypse malarkey we might escape my family’s visit this Christmas, but those stupid bloody Mexicans obviously cocked it up.

“Maybe there was workie working on the ‘end of the world’ side of things in the admin team at the time or something…

“Who knows; maybe there’ll be an apocalypse this Christmas Day at 17 Raleigh Road! At least it would stop the missuses (missi?!) from squabbling about parenting and the awkward silences.

“See you’ve got to be tactical with these experiences; suppress all negative emotion with copious amounts of brandy and divert potentially dangerous talk of anything meaningful with football chat.

“Oh, and ensure the kids are effectively comatose by plonking them in front of the TV and plying them with amounts of chocolates socially unacceptable at any other time of year.”

James Saunders-Plattell, Tom’s brother, said he thought similarly, as Christmas should not be about “petty bickering” – but a nice four-day break from work to see “the little one” and get “rather bladdered”.

The wives are rather less carefree about the situation, though.

Jenny Saunders, Tom’s wife, said: “Again, my sister- and brother-in-law are coming, and she’s always going on about how ‘quaint’ and ‘homely’ our ‘abode’ is, by which I know – am sure of it – she means small and dirty, and wants to leave there as soon as possible.

“But she can’t, as we’re both locked into this faux bonhomie by our husbands, who are brothers. I don’t even know how they’re still close; my husband’s a Labour-voting music teacher and his brother works in hedge funds and uses the Economist as toilet reading. Booze, sport and nostalgia obviously count for a lot.”

“News alert: we can’t all be ‘senior brand positioning executives’ in the City, Priscilla! Some of us actually have to raise our kids, not just pack them off to St Paul’s for 20 grand a year.

“I swear if she goes on one more time about how Genevieve has just got grade 7 piano…debated at the Youth parliament…or I, don’t know, saved endangered birds on the Galapogos Islands, I think I’m going to snap.”

Ever the publication for hard-hitting, yet balanced investigative journalism, TAY sought out the sister-in-law in question, Priscilla Saunders-Plattell, for comment on her experience of Christmases at the Thomas household.

She said: “I’m not going to lie, it’s not where we would usually socialise, but James and I are very polite and take an interest in all the things they’re doing, even if it sometimes bores us to tears or we know next to nothing of what their talking about.

“Last year, I spent a whole afternoon getting up to speed with that series of the X-Factor and finding out about the goings-on of the Premiership!

“But whatever we do just doesn’t seem enough for Jenny; she’s obviously got this huge chip on her shoulder that we make a good living.

“It would help if she wasn’t so bloody proud and just let us do Christmas at ours more often.

“And then you’ve got their mum over in the corner, boring everyone to death about her book club.

“At least we can – just about – sweep our issues under the carpet for a day a year, and our husbands and kids seem to get on alright. That’s what the Christmas spirit is about really, isn’t it – being with people you don’t really like and have nothing in common with yet grinning and bearing it …”

Joel Durston

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