How to Have a Safe Thanksgiving (Turkey Excluded)

  • Move the children’s table out to the tool shed.
  • Point obnoxious relatives, who expend potentially lethal particles while explaining why Trump actually won the election, in the direction of an open window.
  • Warm chestnut stuffing is very pliable. Still, covering your face with it is no substitute for a mask.
  • Always get tested before and after cranberry sauce wrestling.
  • During family Zoom gatherings, make sure the children leave the room before Uncle Jeffrey Toobin logs on.
  • Don’t share food or drink with anyone. As an added precaution, dogs should drink out of separate toilets.
  • Stay at least six feet apart from anyone who does not live with you. Stay at least twelve feet apart from anyone you wish did not live with you.
  • Avoid touching your mask, eyes, nose, mouth – unless you’re putting the moves on yourself.
  • Make the meal more of a shared experience by deciding which family member has been the biggest disappointment.
  • It’s okay to loosen your belt after stuffing yourself with turkey, yams and green bean casserole. It’s not, however, okay to maintain any social distance between you and your pants.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Generic Advice Column Answers

These should have you covered for any situation.

  • You need to get into counseling.
  • Maintaining a long-distance relationship requires extra effort. If you can’t afford airline tickets, consider flying as freight.
  • It may never be easy for her to accept you dressing as a woman. Try meeting her half way; go with a more butch look.
  • To calm your husband down, rub his belly.
  • To calm your dog down, rub his belly
  • Sending a wedding gift is not necessary if the bride’s family is responsible for you being deported back to Guatemala.
  • You really need to get into counseling
  • It’s unreasonable to ask your wife to remove tattoos of her old boyfriends’ names – especially if she took the time to list them in alphabetical order.
  • You’ll never have peace in your house as long as your mother-in-law is living with you. Have you considered moving her into a tastefully redecorated tool shed?
  • Being a bad cook is no excuse for ending a relationship. Insisting you buy your own stomach pump is.
  • You are not responsible for other people’s life decisions, even if you were driving the getaway car.
  • If your 88-year-old husband won’t stop chasing women, put a Denver boot on his wheel chair.
  • It’s never too late to find love and companionship. In fact, many people have found rich and rewarding lives with inflatable soulmates.
  • Unfortunately, in this superficial day and age, there are people who can’t get past a sudden 600-pound weight gain.
  • There’s no reason the voices in your head can’t get along. But if they don’t, all four of you most definitely need to get into counseling.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

College Alumni Notes That Didn’t Make the Final Cut

  • Emily Wells ’72 – After procrastinating for many years, I’m finally taking kazoo lessons.
  • Jacob Stein ’68 – I found my other pair of glasses.
  • Ernie Wallis ’10 – My wife and I joined a progressive political action committee which turned out to be a cult. It also partially explains why I’m writing this note with my own blood.
  • Cynthia Hastings ’12 – We adopted a beautiful Labrador retriever named Bailey and are now in a legal battle with its birth mother.
  • Nicholas Page ’78 – This year marks the twenty-fifth year our son has been living in our basement.
  • Nicholas Page Jr. ’91 – This year marks the twenty-fifth year I’ve been living in my parent’s basement.
  • George Stanky ’77 – My colleagues at the MIT Robotics department honored me with a lifetime achievement award. My wife, 38C-8D7 and I celebrated by taking a long-planned trip to Greece.
  • Alice Lerthy ’95 – Now that our last child has flown the nest, it’s just my husband, Lewis and I in our beautifully restored 20-room Victorian house. To give him more space, I’m building a 15-room she shed.
  • Tom Fortuna ’19 – I was honored by Subway for purchasing my 500th Footlong sandwich.
  • Ron Neel ’05 – I reconnected with Mary Strickland-Souza ’05 at our 15th reunion. Pending her divorce to Phil Souza ’05, we plan to move to Manhasset.
  • Phil Souza ’05 – I’m just beginning to get over the trauma of discovering my wife, Mary Strickland-Souza ’05 in Ron Neel ’05’s Holiday Inn room during our 15th reunion.
  • Ralph Willborne ’65 – I sold my company for 10 billion dollars. To this day, I still have no idea what we manufactured.
  • Lilly Tosh ’07 – Contrary to what you may have read in the news, our daughter Tiffany was accepted to our wonderful college on her own merit. Our $500,00 contribution to the school’s badminton program was purely coincidental.
  • Tara Tinsley ’15 – I’m currently on a book tour promoting my twelfth semi-autobiographical novel, “The Secret Life of a Lactose Intolerant Data Analyst.”
  • Steve Greely ’12 – I’m still living in my dorm room. This semester I will have audited my one thousandth course.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

What are People Wearing Masks Thinking?

It’s hard to tell to tell what people wearing masks are thinking. Here’s a simple guide to help.

“Yes, my mask matches my underwear.”

 

“Dear God, I should never have ordered the liver and onions.”

 

 

“Don’t you recognize me? We lived together for 12 years.”

 

“I feel like robbing a liquor store.”

 

“Now can I pee in the pool?”


“Doesn’t this make awkward silence almost enjoyable?”

 

“This isn’t fair. My upper lip is my best feature.”

 



“(Sigh) No offense, but my old boyfriend could really fill out a mask.”

 

“Maybe I should’ve just stayed home.”

 

“I think I inhaled a rhinestone.”

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and others. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

 

Bigfoot Talks About Struggling With Forced Isolation


At a time when people struggle with forced isolation, who better than Bigfoot, aka Sasquatch to offer insights on living alone like the plague?

I recently caught up with him, partaking in his usual regimen: fleeing civilization.

How are you holding up during the pandemic?

Aside from evading an increasing number of mask-wearing hikers, my life is about the same.

I imagine many of them are tired of being cooped up in their homes.

I understand, but, there’s a reason why no one has ever taken a blurry photo of me sitting in their living room. I respect their space. I wish they would respect mine.

Speaking of photos, I’ve never seen a picture of you with anyone. Would you describe yourself as a loner?

That pretty much sums me up. But I’m not antisocial. It’s just hard for me to connect with people and other creatures.

How so?

I try to fit in. When peering at people from behind trees or bushes, I want to jump out and say, “Hey, that happened to me too.” or “I know how you feel.” But it just doesn’t feel natural.

I’ve never enjoyed being the center of attention, so living alone works best for me. However, it doesn’t mean I don’t occasionally dream about kanoodling with a sexy young primate.

What advice can you give people for whom human interaction is normal and are currently struggling without it?

Non-stop socialization is overrated. I get it. You miss holding your grandchild or shaking hands with a car salesman. But you can’t tell me you haven’t dreamed about waking up by yourself on a crisp clear winter morning under a pile of leaves. If you feel you can’t go a few months without the familiar touch of a loved one, take a deep breath, close your eyes and embrace your inner hobo.

And that’s enough for you?

More than enough – especially if I’ve just been visited by a chipmunk won’t stop yakking about its vacation to the swamp.

I won’t lie to you. Being the world’s number one recluse is a stressful job. Sometimes I want to pour my heart out to someone, anyone. Most of the time, though, I’m at peace with myself. I couldn’t handle someone constantly asking, “What are you thinking?” or “When are you going to shave your body?”

What about people who, during these challenging times, feel desperate for any kind of intimacy?

I confess, on those rare occasions when I need some sort of human/semi-human interaction, I do online dating.

Really? I don’t mean to be insulting, but how do dates feel about your physical appearance?

I use a profile picture of James Franco, because I feel he best fits my personality. By the time my dates start to catch on, I’m usually exhausted from chatting about favorite Netflix series and 600-thread-count sheets. I’m ready to flee the cybercafe and head back into the wilderness.

To conclude, what is your number one advice for people accustomed to constant human interaction and contact, and are now struggling without it?

As the song goes, “If you can’t be with the one you love, honey, Love the one you’re with.” It can be your spouse, your partner or your old Farrah Fawcett poster. Even an annoying chipmunk that over-explains everything but has a cute smile.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and things. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Really Reaching Out – Hey, Remember Me?

During these challenging times, it’s important to reach out to friends, ask how they’re doing and let them know you’ve been thinking about them.

Lately, however, friends have told me, “Yes, I’m fine. I was fine when you called yesterday and the day before and the day before, and ….” So I decided to reach out to other people who might need some friendly words and support.

  • I contacted the kid who bullied me in the third grade. I think he still feels bad for stuffing my head in the boy’s room toilet, because he only halfheartedly professed not to have remembered the incident that forever emotionally damaged me. Interesting though, he now works for Roto Rooter.
  • I made a point of making sincere eye contact with a guy who lives one floor below me. We’ve never spoken to each other even though I’ve mumbled “hi” underneath my mask. I’m afraid I may have frightened him, because he reported me to the condo board.
  • I emailed a former workmate who I’m almost positive stole my yogurt from the break room refrigerator in 2003. She remembered. In fact, she immediately responded, “I didn’t take your damn yogurt. It’s time to let it go.” That’s the kind of toughness that will sustain her during these trying times.
  • I tracked down a woman with whom I had one Tinder date. I forgave her for not looking like her profile picture. She forgave me for accidentally posting a photo of Brad Pitt. We both wished each other well and told each other to stay safe.
  • I once threatened a high school acquaintance because he, not I, was voted Most Friendly in our senior class. I wished him well and told him we’re all in this together, as I was being arrested for violating a still-active restraining order.
  • I called my former dog walker and offered her a heartfelt virtual belly rub.
  • I gave an extra friendly hello to a Walmart greeter whom I had shunned after I realized I wasn’t the only person to whom he was being nice. I also plan to find out where he lives and greet him when he arrives home — from a safe distance, of course.
  • A few years ago, I crashed into a woman driving a car, totaling mine. The insurance company ruled in her favor, thus raising my rates for years. I called her, apologized for appealing the judgement 38 times, and assured her we’re going to be okay.
  • A few weeks back, a man in a public restroom got very upset with me when I noted he only sang Happy Birthday one and a half times while washing his hands. I never got his name, but I left a message on Craigslist saying I’m pulling for him.
  • And finally, I sent a warm note to a local actress I once saw portray Nurse Ratched in a community theatre production of “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” because we should support ALL our healthcare professionals.

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and things. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”

Things I’m Selfishly Thankful for During the COVID-19 Pandemic

  • I have enough toilet paper.
  • My wife and I are getting along even though we don’t always agree on disinfecting etiquette.
  • Since I’m an introvert, I’ve adapted easily to social distancing. Quite frankly, I was disappointed when I heard it was six feet and not six miles.
  • After being asked for lifetime, “How come you never smile?’, I love wearing a medical mask. It means I no longer have to lie and respond, “I’m grieving over the death of my pet ameba, Lewis.”
  • I’ve learned to appreciate food that most shoppers don’t hoard—like seagull-flavored gelato.
  • My political action committee has only been Zoom bombed once, by a lonely naked guy who has since become the only group member who truly gets me.
  • When listening to Bob Fosse musicals, my jazz hands are just as expressive with nitrile gloves.
  • Since I’ve always worked at home, I already have cubicles for me and my dog.
  • I live in a state which places more importance in increasing testing than reopening tattoo parlors and Waffle Houses.
  • Did I say I have enough toilet paper?

Ben Alper writes for late night talk show hosts, comedians and things. He is the author of “Thank You for Not Talking: A Laughable Look at Introverts.”