BOULDER, CO–Easter Sunday is the only time of year the entire Powell extended family gets together. Over the years, the four siblings — Mike, Colleen, Grace, and Austin — have scattered across various areas of the country, making families and living totally separate lives. It’s no secret that they have their differences, including divergent political views. This used to be more of a problem when the Powells were younger, but they’ve grown to understand that they can’t change each other and appreciate the limited time they do get to spend together.
As everyone gathered at the home of the Powell family matriarch, Elaine, they were met with news of an unexpected change of plans. Their estranged cousin, Troy, would be joining them for Easter brunch this year. None of the Powell siblings had seen Troy in a while. He doesn’t come around to family functions often, and the age gap had always been a barrier with the other cousins, but his reputation preceded him.
Troy holds some strong and outdated political opinions, and he’s not shy about making his thoughts known. Gatherings with Troy usually involve disagreements, and they are rumored to get pretty vicious. To make matters worse, Troy found his extended family on Facebook and Instagram during the pandemic. None of them spoke with him directly, but his wacky, racist, and straight-up delusional views were on full display. Every day, Troy shares misinformation, gets into comment section fights, and exercises his free speech in exclusively inflammatory ways.
Fortunately for everybody’s sanity, Troy went silent over the past 40 days because he gave up talking about politics for Lent. It began as a healthy exercise, but Troy was boiling up with opinions the entire time. Troy frequently posted to his story, alluding to the things he’s not allowed to say. Each day was a struggle to keep his political thoughts repressed, and everyone knew Troy was bursting at the seams to let everyone know where he stands on anything remotely controversial.
From the time Troy arrived for Easter brunch, everyone was walking on eggshells. Nobody wanted to bring up any topics that could trigger anything political whatsoever. They could see Troy was pent-up and looking to go off on anybody dumb enough to open that can of worms. People kept their interactions with him to pleasantries and Fear Factor — Troy’s favorite show. He loves talking about Fear Factor, but waiting for an opening to discuss his takes on current events made Troy sweaty and twitchy.
During the brunch, the Powell family struggled to maintain a prolonged conversation without triggering any of Troy’s thoughts. This led to several awkward pauses at the table. During one quiet moment, Troy decided he had reached his breaking point. He cleared his throat, loudly declaring, “I’ve got some thoughts to share about recent events in the world. The First Amendment affords me this right. Family, if you’re easily triggered, then I suggest taking your brunch to go.” The whole family froze up. They were all too afraid to follow up on his declaration, clearing the stage for Troy to launch into an unobstructed diatribe. He weighed in on just about everything from President Biden to Wuhan, Will Smith’s slap, gas prices, Ukraine, Taiwan, One America News, Twitter, Kanye, and liberal college brainwashing.
In the end, nobody could be bothered to refute any of Troy’s claims. Also, the breakfast casserole was served cold. It was another terrible Easter.