I have a very large family and even though most of my cousins and myself are in our 30's, we're forced to sit at the kids' table. Also forced to sit there is my very, very old grandfather who suffers from dementia and is rarely alert. To pass the time, my cousins and I play a game called "ham on the head" with him, where one of us tries to take a piece of honey-slick ham and stick it to his head without him noticing it. Sometimes, we can even get it right in the middle of his forehead without him even blinking. Now, I love my grandfather and everything and it feels somewhat evil but at the same time I figure it's become enough of a holiday tradition that he'd support it out of familial obligation rather than kick up a fuss and make us feel bad. I still do a little bit, but I also am looking forward to this year's round very much since we've decided to play for money. Is that okay?
Thatz not okay.
Here is a suggestion of something other than placing non-traditional Thanksgiving meats on the head of your enfeebled grandfather that you and your cousins can do at the sadists' table: talk to one another. About anything. Anything in the world.
I can't believe I have to request this, but:
Please stop placing honey-slick ham on the head of your grandfather.
You mention that your grandpa is "very, very old." Is he old enough that he fought in World War II? Was one of the thoughts that kept his spirits up the idea that, one day, he might be banished to the kids' table where his adult grandchildren would make a game of his infirmity by sticking food on his forehead? Hard to know. Maybe.
Fortunately for your soul, which, if you continue to operate by the current playbook is most certainly hell-bound, there is an easy solution: play the Honey-Slick Ham Stick game with someone who still possesses the faculties to fight you bare-chested on the lawn.
Since you say the game has become a tradition, I assume you've been playing it for a few years. It's time to add another element of difficulty. Inform an easygoing family member that they have been selected as the donkey on which the younger, but by no means adult, humans will attempt to pin tails of ham throughout dinner. You may have to make some tweaks, like settling for top-of-the-head, neck, or arm hammings, but the base principle of the game ("ham on the skin is funny") remains intact. Alternatively, see how many tiny pieces of ham you can fling at the grown-ups table before they notice. Have a contest to determine who can bite their ham into the most beautiful shape.
You could also just eat the ham.
If there are any young second cousins present, explain that one day, when you are too old to stop them, they have your permission to return "Ham on the Head" to its more mean-spirited glory days.
And, if you win the money, buy something nice for your grandfather.
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