This holiday season, we pledge patience. Like long-disbanded rock groups on a reunion tour—say, Sly Stone and his people—extended families are coming together for the good of the group. Surely, the initial veneer of kisses and goodwill be dissolve through the hours, wasting away to reveal long-standing tensions; the tinder of long-dormant feuds will once again have a spark. As a group, unwieldy masses of humans, connected tenuously through wisps of genes or affinity, will have to decide what movie to see, whom to pick for touch football, and whether what Grandpa has said is virulently racist or just misguided. Through it, remain calm.
In dark moments, think of this gag photo. For one, it’s deeply goofy. That borzoi is thrilled; that tidily-coiffed aristocratic lady is having not of it. What an odd couple! It’s also, forgive us, instructive. You’re the serious lady with the skeptical eyebrows; your family is the borzoi. Say the borzoi wants to drive—well, that’s ridiculous, and illegal, and dangerous. You’re a better driver than the borzoi! Still, wouldn’t it make the borzoi happy to wear the goggles and palm the wheel? Plus, if you never left the driveway, no one would get harmed. If you can loosen your girdle, be emotionally generous and let the borzoi sit in the driver’s seat, you’ll have a happy borzoi. And a happy borzoi means a happier you.