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Five Christmas Dinner Conversation Starters (Courtesy of Pops)

6:32 AM EST on December 21, 2017

Many people like to bring a sixer of cold specialty brews to holiday dinners and festive get-togethers, passing them around and getting their liquid courage on, a dinner table must when it comes to around-the-table conversations these divisive days. Meanwhile, the teetotalers are often left high and dry, forced to drink water or coffee or God forbid, that two-liter of warm, flat Diet Coke that’s been in the pantry since Thanksgiving.

That’s where I typically come in, bringing a fully-loaded six-pack of frosty sodas, typically of the easier to find Mexican variety but, with the installation of a Pops somewhat down the street, I was able to pick up six-packs for both sides of the border. Especially for you, the TLO reader, here’s six different sodas that can spur on six lively topics of conversation and debate where you’re in charge of the narrative and the refreshments for once, hoss.

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“Mom, dad…meet my non-white boyfriend…”

There are few better times to introduce your new boyfriend from the wrong side of the tracks to not only your parents, but the rest of the family, like Christmas Day. Sure, it’s usually a smaller affair, but there’s far more of a forgiving Christian sentiment in the air than there is at Thanksgiving, with many white parents being generally more accepting of fact their nubile lily-petal of a daughter is currently experiencing the organically multi-tasked world of decidedly non-Caucasian physical romance and possible extreme bi-racial impregnation on the daily. Let them gently know you’re the Donna to her Richie by passing out a six-pack of rock and roll legend Richie Valens’ Soy Capitan Cola; it’s a true dark cola with the bite of pure cane sugar, that will not only remind them (and their socially liberal tendencies) about how much they loved the movie La Bamba and the mixed-race relationship struggles of that film, but also the unique flavor of the beverage in their hand. For bonus points, hand out some leftover Ted’s chips and salsa to really drive the message home.

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 “Pastor Jeff said that we’ve been called to build a new Utopia…”

We all remember the first time we joined a religious cult. Hell, some of us are lucky enough to still be in one, the blanket of peace and love enveloping our very being at all moments while this Earth just burns away into spiritual nothingness. So when it comes time at Christmas Dinner to let everyone know this is the last holiday you’ll be spending with them—in this earthly meat-based encasement, at least—pass the stuffing and then around a few Ponchatoula Pop Rouge Swamp Pops, a sickly-sweet strawberry soda straight from the Louisiana wetlands, giving them a living example of the holy beauty that come out of even the most hellish of landscapes while concurrently showing them pictures of the jungle compound just outside Tacloban where you will make sneakers for Pastor Jeff and wait for The Sign.

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“There’s actually a lot of positives about a  Socialist society…”

 There’s that old adage about never discussing religion or politics at the dinner table, but we all have those blowhard family members, especially as of late, that simply have to turn everything into some sort of far-fight Infowars-based argument about how some misremembered pop-culture fad from 20 years ago is the moral fall of America. Meanwhile, as you sit there, quietly and respectfully, one button gets punched too many times and then, without thinking, you finally say it: “There are actually a lot of positives about Socialism and an American-based Socialist government would benefit us all, especially when it comes to health and education. May I loan you this book Imagine: Living in a Socialist USA to help better elucidate such ideas?”  Perhaps before passing around that brilliant collection of essays, maybe pass around a few shared, equal swigs of Fidel Castro’s Havana Banana to loosen them up to the idea, with its sweet jungle flavor that rules with the best-intentioned people’s guiding hand of unexpected deliciousness and overwhelming sweetness. Right on!

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“So…I’m thinking of moving to New York City to dance…”

 We all have dreams and convincing dad that attending the OCU School of Dance seemed, at the time, the total cumulation of yours and was probably the result of many hours of compromise and promises that, let’s be honest, you’ll probably never live up to, especially as long as you stay in a little league city like this. Listen up, Gene Anthony Ray: you got big dreams? You want fame? Well, fame costs and to truly hit the big time, you need to go for broke by finally moving to New York City so all the world can see your important, precious talents. Break the news to dad gently and gingerly that you’re not only quitting school but are going to need to borrow a couple grand for living expenses and new Capezios over an old-fashioned man-to-man with a couple of leftover slices from Empire, tickets to a Yankees game, a new gun with the serial number filed off, a magical rat named Randy that grants wishes and, to top it off, an ice-cold pair of Manhattan Special Espresso Coffee Sodas on the front porch. He’ll come around to that New York state of mind. Eventually.

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“This pie is delicious mom. Also, I think Grampa touched me once...”

 One of life’s most important lessons is learning to take the sweet with the sour, so when it comes time to confront family members over horrific secrets they’d much rather stay buried, pair a slice of Grandma’s famous cherry pie with a chilled Frostie Cherry Limeade Soda. What better way to prepare for the cold reception from those familial elders as they try to clumsily change the subject of your latest unrepressed memory while the sweet cherry and tangy limeade help to temper the boiling cauldron of emotion inside that is starting to spill over as you desperately need to have your voice heard once and for all. No more secrets!

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And I wonder why no one invites me to dinner. Follow Louis on Twitter at @LouisFowler.

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