Let’s face it, family gatherings can be very stressful. Even if you get along with your family, difficult conversations can pop up out of nowhere like, “Why are you still single” or “ When are you going to go back to school” or “Why were you alone with Paul next to the gorge the night he went missing?” Yes, these questions and others can be tough to have. And yet, petty debates about nothing are almost more annoying and prevalent. So whether you’re trying to be the rebel in your family or you’re bringing home someone who loves to argue, here are the correct answers* to many of the debates your family will needle you about.
Which Way Should the Toilet Paper Unroll?
This topic has been the catalyst of many a broken home. Do you place toilet paper so it unrolls from the bottom? Or from the top? Let’s ask the guy who patented modern toilet paper, Seth Wheeler. Just kidding. He’s long dead. But in his stead, he left a drawing of how his product is supposed to be used: By unrolling it from the top! 70% of people already do this, so I’m confused how it’s even a debate. To try and unroll from under is just so much more work, and it often leaves your roll with a little tale instead of a perfect cylinder. I’m not saying people who unroll toilet paper from the bottom are evil, but they are working too hard.
Is New York City All Five Boroughs? Or Just Manhattan?
The only reason someone would tell you Manhattan is the whole of NYC is because they’re a coward who’s never ventured into the great beyond that is the other boroughs. Brooklyn is hip, Queens is vibrant, The Bronx has heart, and Staten Island has a fun little boat ride. The other boroughs are what make NYC, NYC. If it were just Manhattan, then the Yankees and the Mets wouldn’t even be their baseball teams anymore and that’s just anarchy.
What’s the Right Way to Eat a Pringle?
The right way to eat Pringles is to not eat them at all until the Kellog’s Workers have received significantly better working conditions. Once the strike is over, you have to either do the thing with the duck lips or eat them in stacks of five to eight chips at a time. But if you do have to eat Pringles one at a time, you should do so the way they came out of the can for maximum flavor absorption. However, eating them one at a time means you’re a serial killer and you will be punished to the fullest extent of the law.
Shoes On or Off in the Apartment?
Take your shoes off. You were raised better than that. Unless you’re a college student going to a party. Then, for the love of all that is good, keep your shoes on, lest you get a foot disease. Otherwise, pop those bad boys off. Even if your feet stink, your shoes touched the sidewalk and the sidewalk has dog poop on it. Also, why do your feet stink? Wash your feet, you animal.
Cereal or Milk First?
I cannot believe this is a commonly asked question. Do you like splashing milk everywhere? Cereal first. Obviously. A friend of mine recently told me he pours milk halfway up the bowl and pours cereal one or two spoonfuls at a time so his cereal stays crunchy. I gave him a hug and told him everything would be okay, even though I knew it was a lie. If the fool wants his cereal crunchy, he should just pour a bowl of dry cereal and a glass of milk. I’m just saying, work smarter, not harder.
Cats or Dogs?
Who Pays for the First Date?
This one I might get some hate for, but my duty to speak the truth: Whoever asked should pay for the first date. Think about it: You walk up to a person you hope to get close to, ask them to do an activity, and then get mad that they aren’t paying for the thing that was your idea? That’s dumb. At the very least, split the bill. But you can’t ask someone to go out and then demand they pay for you. That’s just a gentle robbery. “But, Russell, what about chivalry?” We’ve evolved as a society.
Is Soap Clean or Dirty?
I truly don’t understand who’s googling these questions. Is soap clean or dirty? You just don’t get how soap works, pal. Soap is fat that makes your body slippery so germs and dead skin cells slide off your body when water washes it away. It’s neither clean nor dirty. It just is.
Is a Hotdog a Sandwich?
NO! A hotdog is a hotdog. Sometimes things just get to be their own things because that’s what makes them special. “But it’s meat between two pieces of bread!” I don’t care! A hotdog is a hotdog is a hotdog. We’re not trying to chart evolution here. Let things be their own things. Pizza is not an open-faced sandwich, Pop-tarts aren’t dessert calzones, and hotdogs aren’t sandwiches. They’re just hotdogs. Get over it.
Is Water Wet?
Okay, I’m sick of this. I’m going to the conclusion.
Time with family is sacred and special, even when they’re driving you crazy. These debates can sometimes devolve into actual fights that can tear relationships asunder. When that happens, remember this sage advice I’m offering to you: Stop it. These arguments are silly and are supposed to be fun. Even though I have answered each of these questions 100% correctly** there’s always room for debate. After all, this is America, the land of free speech and ideas. Debate is part of the culture, and we must remember to respect one another no matter what the other person might think. Unless that person has their toilet paper unrolled from the bottom. That’s literally the only section I cited a source for, and yet some people are still going to do it! It boggles my mind.
*Answers are subject to criticism.
**Seriously, these answers should be subject to criticism. Don’t listen to me on any of these matters. I’m a weirdo.
Russell is a writer and comic based in New York City. His plays have been featured at Penn State’s Cultural Conversation’s Festival, The NYC Thespis Festival, and Imaginarium’s Inaugural Theater Festival. Follow him on TikTok and Instagram @pooleparty528