Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored!" Do you have in-laws? Do they drive you bonkers?
No, they don't drive you bonkers? Don't play the lottery, because you've already maxed out your good luck.
FAMILY PICNIC A SCRATCH
Introduction: Caller #1 lives in Baltimore. Caller #2 lives in Philadelphia. Over a period of five days, they plan a picnic for a family member who has just earned a master's degree.
Caller #1: We'll have a really nice time. It will just be your family and theirs. I'm making potato salad and baked beans. We'll grill some hamburgers.
Caller #2: Oh, that's great! Our family hardly ever gathers, just us. The kids will love it! What would you like me to bring?
Caller #1: A cake, maybe. And some fruit.
Caller #1: Oh, I guess I should tell you. They've invited Sally and her five kids.
Caller #2: That's fine. The kids all get along.
Caller #1: Maybe you'll want to make some cupcakes or something, for the kids. And bring some kid stuff. You know, chips and pretzels and cookies.
Caller #2: Okay.
Caller #1: The party starts at five. There's your family and their family, Sally and the kids, Jim and Jessie and their family, and a few other people.
Caller #2: Wait a minute. The party starts at five? And now Jim and Jessie are coming, and maybe some other people? We thought it was just going to be our two families, an afternoon thing! We can't come at five, it's too late! Mr. Johnson has to work on Sunday.
Caller #1 (huffy): There's plenty of daylight left at 5:00! What's the matter with you people? I'm really angry!
Caller #2: Okay, I'm sorry if you're angry, but we can't do an evening party. Mr. Johnson has to work on Sunday...
Caller #1 (huffy): Well, if you invite people over at lunchtime, then you wind up having to feed them two meals!
Caller #2: Oh! The clothes dryer just beeped! I don't want to waste any energy! Better go get those clothes... Bye bye! (Click.)
I suppose it's uncharitable for me to not want to attend a party 100 miles away that begins at 5:00 p.m., especially when I was led to believe it would be a small family event and was told at the 11th hour that it had morphed into a typical big-group affair. But I'm tending to think that the people who invited us knew darned well we would balk at the start time and back out. It's just a hunch.
I'm not going to bother "Dear Abby" with this one.