“Put them on the ship!”

New Year’s Eve 2012. My sister has a party at her house and invites the family.

Party is a loose reference, because in Italian translated, a “party” or “pahdee” means even more food than a Sunday dinner, inviting the same people and now perhaps having decorations.

Regardless of who is hosting, Ma’s Kitchen Catering Co. proves the food always comes from the same place.

Some guy just walked past and gave me a dirty look, for no reason, like he knows I’m going to write about him.

Hold that thought, cowboy!

Standing man bitch face has been documented.

Permission to continue.

I suspect a New Year’s party is also some type of “screw you” event parents have when their other married friends bail and the hosts have no one to watch their children.

So, given my bastardized definition, it made complete sense for this THINK (terrifically happy, income, no kids) to invite her mungi bestie THINK, whose close proximity to a healthy weight was alarming, to this gluttonous soirée.

The family New Year’s party gets you all the perks of a Sunday dinner plus the added element of alcohol minus the childcare responsibility.

It’s a no brainer. New Year’s sucks if you’re single. The kissing cousin to Valentine’s Day, there’s so much pressure to do something interesting, and then any place you’d like to go now has coupled off people and a ridiculous price tag.

In retrospect, New Years may also suck for parents who end up hosting and accommodating two THINKS whose idea of a good time involves yelling expletives at the flat screen tv, pretending they were at Times Square like they were one year ago.

I take my responsibility as a THINK at social gatherings quite seriously.

Part of this role entails that all party goers have a good time.

Children end up getting fancy mocktails.

Parents end up with translucent cocktails making them forget about said children.

As I prepare to switch trains, I see a guy writing “TTC?” on his notepad. Should I tell him he’s on the wrong type of vehicle?

Nah, that’s no fun.

Drinks in hand, somewhere between insobriety and the ball dropping in Manhattan, we decide to play a game.

There are two rules to playing a game at an Italian party.

1. It has to be simple.

2. It should not require you to move.

“WHAT ABOUT THE SHIP GAME?!!” I scream a little too loudly.

My siblings, after debating that an intervention is not needed for the time being, allow me to continue.

Hey, as long as I can see colour, I’m still alright.

The ship game is when you to take turns naming your most disliked celebrities and put them on a theoretical ship to nowhere.

My mom, our Matriarch, gives a nod of approval as this game satisfies both complex Italian gaming rules.

We’re not quite sure what happens to the ship. Depending on the underlying issues of participants, the ship can either sail away quietly, blow up, multiply, get sucked into a vortex, or have to commute to work.

The important part is that these awful people are banished from humanity.

Seth Rogen is always my ship’s Captain with George Clooney, Jennifer Anniston and Vince Vaughan as his First Mates.

Justin Bieber and Drake provide the entertainment. Ironically, they were both at New Year’s Eve the year before, but I digress.

And, the game goes around, family members scream out the names of famous people they cannot stand.

“Ya she’s a this!” and “He’s a that!” grunts of approval, snorts and disdain.

I think I hear someone shout out Mother Teresa, and make a note to address this person in the grey outfit later.

“Put them on the ship!” becomes the war cry for the evening.

Meanwhile, over at Clarkson, there’s a lady putting on nail polish directly across from me. I’m both horrified and impressed with her hand/eye coordination. She could have used a better colour.

Back at the ship, this game takes a turn when participants start calling out normal people, us mere mortals.

I make another note to try and not blurt out someone’s name that’s in the room.

“That nasty cashier from the grocery store!”

“Put them on the ship!!”

The ship becomes infested with egotists, smug people and jerks.

I’m mildly amused that I’d fit in with the ship people and could be their Cruise Director.

The game ends because we run out of people, and the list now includes neighbours, favourite teachers and men of faith.

As my train approaches its stop, I look around my green and white kingdom, and wonder; “which of these jokers should be put on the ship?”

Well, they do have to commute everyday.

I think they suffer enough.


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