As anyone who comes from a
dysfunctional… *ahem* unconventional family can tell you, you forget how fucked up… *ahem* eccentric your family is until an outsider comes in and looks at you like this:
For example, in 2001, my dad almost died from an untreated staph infection resulting in endocarditis.
(Just for the record; though this condition is almost exclusively seen in IV drug users, my dad has never even so much as taken an aspirin. Not that I judge drug addicts, but I’ve done enough to damage my dad’s reputation as a deacon and I don’t want to give haters more ammo.)
The doctor called us in to explain that his only chance of survival was to have his aorta valve replaced with a titanium prosthesis, which carries a separate set of dangers. He went on to explain that pieces of the damaged valve were floating around in his body causing painful embolisms, therefor they were keeping him heavily medicated, and one embolism of particular concern was located in the sacrum.
We all thought he said scrotum, to which I replied “uh oh, won’t that cause brain damage?” Us immediate relatives of “old dude” shared a much needed uproarious laugh, meanwhile, the Doctor looked at us like that^. Mom explained “That’s how we roll, we laugh in the face of tragedy.” The doctor continued staring at us wordlessly.
Then the extended Woodens started piling in from all over the country.
I’ve always said we’re the Huxtables of the south as no two of us are the same color. This alone was utterly unsettling and mind blowing to the staff, but when the older relatives started sharing stories of growing up in Surry… let’s just say there ain’t much to do out here and the entire county has 1 stoplight and 4 last names, so the stories were incredibly
fucking insane… er interesting.
Which brings me to the list of 10 things that never fail to make me laugh. To outsiders, laughing through a life threatening crisis was rude, crass, tasteless… all fancy ass words meaning fucked up, but my parents have been through some shit that tears most families apart (teen pregnancy, my various childhood hospitalizations, my “career” in stand up… you get the idea), yet they’re going on 32 years of happy matrimony and you don’t last that long by being serious all the time.
I written before on why it’s incredibly fucked up and condescending to tell people to “stay positive”, but like my mom always says “proactivity is better than reactivity”, so if you want to help someone stay positive, find a way to make them laugh. I’m not saying laughter is a substitute for any professional intervention, I have zero medical credentials, (Then again, if you’re reading a wordpress site in search of medical advice, you’re too stupid to be alive. For fucks sake, I started a religion based on Joe Dirt, you really shouldn’t need me to tell you not to take medical advice from me.) I’ve just found that laughter helps.
Here are ten things that make me laugh no matter what:
10) Crazy Cousin Lizzy*. Brief back story; Crazy Cousin Lizzy is my grandmother’s niece, though they’re about the same age. She’s a confirmed bachelorette (never been married, no kids), who when faced with the option of staying in Surry after graduation and becoming a farmer’s wife, or crossing the mason/dixie line and perhaps finding a job, opted for the latter. She’s still very much backwoods and always keeps a “nip” AKA 30+ year old glass coke bottle filled with bourbon in her purse.
Oh. My. Joe Dirt!!! I just realized I’m going to be Crazy Cousin Lizzy when I grow up, only worse because I never bothered to leave my hometown. *shudders x4* moving right along…
Crazy Cousin Lizzy swears out that she was punished as a child by being forced to spend the night in the smokehouse, while the meat was being smoked, with a stool and a match, and told to sit on the stool and not to let the fire go out.
Attempts to explain why that’s impossible to survive have been fruitless. She says she lived through it because in addition to the stool and match, she was also given a slice of bread and a glass of water.
The more you try to make sense of it, the more questions are raised. Just don’t.
9) Uncle Phil throwing Jazz.
8) It’s just like a mini mall! I’m totally planning a road trip.
7) This kind lady teaching the husbandry of opossums.
6) Grumpy cat.
5) Taking pictures of my boobs.
4) Making fun of my ex.
3) Sending my brother to pick up takeout ordered under the following aliases:
Big Gay Al
2) Get some cold cuts!!!
1)Bernice ❤ ❤ ❤
***And now the recipe***
As my Aunt Lynne* would say when asked to check a box that best describes our race/ethnicity, “Is potato salad an option?” meaning no two people will ever agree on what’s imperative to a potato salad (other than the potatoes, but even then, Paleos use artichokes or some shit, and it seems I may have a nightshade intolerance) so it’s impossible to narrow down to one ingredient what defines the potato salad. Dukes or Veganaise? Mustard? Boiled egg? Sweet or spicy relish? Paprika on top?
Of course as a vegan, Dukes and eggs are out, but other than that, anything goes. This is more of a potato salad guideline than a recipe.
No need to dirty a pan by boiling the salad base of your choice, just steam in the microwave. Most microwaves have a potato cooking feature, but if not, potatoes are done when they’re easily pierced with a fork (about 5 minutes). I prefer red or yellow potatoes because I don’t have to peel them, but if using russets or sweet potatoes (sweet potatoes are technically NOT a nightshade), just place in a bowl of cold water after microwaving and the skins will slip right off.
If using cauliflower, just pierce the bag with a fork a few times and microwave for 5 minutes.
Thoroughly rinse the potatoes clean (Duh.)
Recipe serves 4ish-6ish, but can easily be multiplied. Photo shown is from a wedding and made with 25 lbs of red potatoes.
If you skip the relish, leftovers make the BEST home fries EVERRR!!!! Just saute in some oil or Earth Balance.
Start with one of the following:
4-6 small red or yellow potatoes
2-3 medium to large russets or sweet potatoes (again, if you have a nightshade intolerance, you can eat sweet potatoes)
2-3 cups steamed cauliflower (Ideal if you’re watching carbs/calories or just need more vegetables in your life.)
Add some fun stuff:
1/2 cup minced sweet onion
1/2 cup minced celery
2-4 T relish
1 T mustard
1-2 T chopped chipotle peppers (especially awesome with sweet potatoes, but chipotles are a nightshade 😦 )
1-2 T cider vinegar and/or lemon juice
1/4 chopped cilantro and/or basil
1/4-1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Bind it all together with one of the following:
1/2 cup veganaise
1/2 any vegan dressing (For my fellow backwoods readers, veganaise and Annie’s Organic brand vegan dressings are generally available at Kroger’s and larger Martin’s.)
1/3 oil whisked with 2 T lemon juice or vinegar and a pinch of sugar
Add salt and pepper to taste.
Picture shown is made with 25 lbs of red potatoes, 1 jar of veganaise, 1/2 cup EVOO, 1/2 cup cider vinegar, sweet onion, celery, and spicy mustard and serves 100.
*Names have been changed to protect the
criminally insane er innocent.