When all else fails, here's how we hope Trump conversations go at Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is almost here, and with it the prospect of having to chat with distant family about the elephant in the room. It's the worst part of an otherwise great day. Unfortunately, you can't control what people talk about, and no advice can save you. Sometimes the best you can do is pray it turns out like this...

Photo by Ruocaled/Flickr.


1. Diversion

You:
Wow, these mashed potatoes are great.
Aunt Cindy: You wanna know what I hate about Donald Trump— [*a truck backfires super loudly outside*] ...What were we talking about again?
You: Definitely mashed potatoes.


2. Misdirection

You
: Looks like it's going to be another cold winter this year.
Uncle Todd: Ugh, that's the last thing I need after Donald Trump...
Aunt Cindy: FIRE!
You: Oh my God, is the house on fire?
Aunt Cindy: No, I'm just thrilled your sister pledged Phi Ur — the Greek-Babylonian sorority. I'm an alum!
You: That's weird!





3. Explosions

You:
Think the Cowboys will win this year?
Uncle Joe: Only thing I know is, none of those players better take a knee. You know, what I really respect about Donald Trump is—
[*a large boom sounds from the kitchen*]
You: Phew! The turkey exploded!



4. Avoidance

Brother-in-law: I'd like to talk about Donald Trump.
You: NO!
Brother-in-law: Not that Donald Trump. Donald Trump, my old coworker from Xerox.
You: Oh. Yeah. How are Donald and Susan?




5. The fallback

Mom:
Honey, can you explain why Donald Trump...
You: [*suddenly go deaf forever*]

6. What's that over there?

You:
Hey, Dan, how've you been!
Dan: Pretty good. Just got a new gig teaching World History up in Mount Pleasant. Did I tell you Lisa and I are pregnant?
You: No! That's so great. Congrats!
Dan: Thanks, man.
You: You know, it's really great to see you. I'm glad we're cousins.
Dan: Yeah, same!
You: I'm just glad we're not talking about Donald Trump.
Dan: Oh my God, don't get me started on— [*a motorcycle gang conducts a demolition derby on the front lawn*]







7. Bless dear grandpa

Grandpa: Did you know Donald Trump doesn't exist?
You: For real?
Grandpa: Yeah, I just heard that.



8. End of the world

You: Can you pass the salad dressing?
Dad: Huh?
You: The salad dressing?
Dad: I'm sorry, I was just thinking about how ridiculous it is that Donald Trump— [*armageddon happens; your grandma is raptured; a pit opens up in the Earth swallowing all of your cousins and the cornbread and the gluten-free stuffing (but not the regular stuffing); you are the only one left behind*]
You: Oddly, this is OK.





9. Here for the food

You: Can we not talk about Donald Trump this year?
Everyone: Oh my God, yes.
You: PASS THE DAMN GRAVY!



Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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So far, it's just about the most classic modern Americana scene imaginable. And then...

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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