Best of 2022

Our Family Faces Many Challenges Inside This Closed Garage

Thank you all for joining me in our family’s idling minivan for what I hope will be a fruitful and mutually-respectful discussion of the many challenges we are currently facing here inside our closed garage.

First, as you all know, I’ve recently lost my job. That’s put a strain on the family budget. Second — your mother — my wife — has admitted to an affair with her meditation guru. She’ll be filling you all in on that situation and proposing a path forward. In addition, we’ve found drugs in Beth’s room, Denise is getting straight C-minuses, and Daniel refuses to pick up his Legos. Finally, the exhaust from our minivan is rapidly filling this closed garage with carbon monoxide, a deadly gas. So there’s a lot on our collective plate.

I’d like to begin with the situation regarding my job. Clearly the sudden loss of income is having a major impact on our ability to…. Yes, Denise?

OK, honey, we get it. You’re saying that the issue of the rising CO1 levels in our closed garage is very important to you. And we appreciate that you’re passionate about it. Try to remember that everyone in this minivan has issues that we care about and think are very important. They can’t all be first, so let’s take them one at a time, OK, sweet pea? Good.

Now, getting back to my unfortunate lapse in employment…. OK, well, I don’t know why saying “fired” would alter the situation in any meaningful way, other than to humiliate me in front of the children. Well maybe we’d be in better shape financially if certain people weren’t spending our money on secret hotel rooms for their beatnik lover! Furthermore…Yes, Denise?

Again, sweetie, I promise you that we are getting to that. We all agree that carbon monoxide is real and caused by engine exhaust. That’s settled science. What I’m saying is that the issue of toxic gas buildup in the garage is not what’s topping people’s agendas right this very minute. We have a major drug problem in this minivan, the budget is busted, and your mother and I could very well be headed for divorce. I think those are also important priorities, don’t you?

Now where were we? Oh, yes. Maybe if you weren’t out playing tonsil-hockey with Doug you would have noticed the prescription bottles littering Beth’s junkie den that….well, I wouldn’t have gone in your room if the stench from the unscooped cat litter…what is it, Denise?!

Oh, well I guess you know everything then! Maybe you haven’t considered the fact that everyone in this minivan is relying on a running gas engine for our air conditioning and interior lights; your brother is halfway through Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 on the built-in video screen; and your mother is charging her phone, which is currently at three percent and who knows when she might receive a very important text that I’m sure we’d all be delighted for her to share with the whole van!

Frankly, Denise, the rest of us in this minivan have had just about enough of your sanctimonious rhetoric and catastrophizing. It turns people off and makes them not want to listen, because what’s the point? We’re all doomed! Woe is me! Nor has it escaped my attention that all this time we’re spending arguing about who is or isn’t crazy for sitting in a running minivan inside a closed garage is time we’re not spending talking about your last report card!

No, I’m not saying that carbon monoxide poisoning isn’t important. I’m only saying that grades are important too, and if you want to avoid summer school, you might spend a little less time focusing on “saving the family” and a little more time on your studies. Maybe if you work hard and bring your grades up you can get into a good college and study science and then find a solution to the problem of families sitting in running minivans inside closed garages. You kids are the future! What?

OK, well, there are any number of possible reasons why your brother is unconscious. To pin any single event on something as complex and dynamic as the atmosphere inside this closed garage is what’s called “confirmation bias.” Look it up, you might learn something. Now if we could please return to the agenda, we might flabulously condither almardy tomoggan!

I admit that was concerning. And given the increasing anecdotal evidence and the fact that the garage’s monoxide detector has been blaring for the last 15 minutes, perhaps it makes sense to address the issue of the garage’s climate at this time. What I’d like to propose is a gradual transition that makes meaningful reductions in emissions, but doesn’t just cut off “More Than A Feeling” halfway through the song.

Well, I guess nothing is ever going to be good enough! It’s tiresome. I’m tired of it. So very, very… tired.

Meeting adjourned.