REPORTER: I’m here live with Ted moments after completing his first Thanksgiving dinner at the Grown-Ups’ Table. At only 12 years and 209 days, you are officially the youngest family member to get this opportunity. Were you surprised when you got the news?
TED: Well, I had a feeling it would happen eventually. I’ve been working hard at family dinners leading up to Thanksgiving, and I’ve just been trying to get better every day so I’d be ready if the opportunity ever presented itself. Tonight, I avoided childish mistakes like playing hide and seek with the little cousins. Instead, I watched the football games on TV and made a joke at the expense of the Dallas Cowboys’ playoff hopes, which was well received by the living room. Even Grandpa grunted in agreement, which is rare. At that point, I knew there was a strong possibility I’d be getting the call come dinner time.
REPORTER: It’s no secret that, historically, you’ve been seen as a picky eater, and some of the family was concerned that Aunt Linda’s yams would throw you off your game. I believe Aunt Linda was quoted saying, “Ted’s gotta be able to handle yams if he wants to eat with the big boys. If you want dino nugs, then stay at the kids’ table.” Did that make you nervous?
TED: Well, Aunt Linda is one hell of a cook and I have nothing but respect for her and what she’s been able to accomplish over the years. With regard to the yams, it’s true that when I was just starting out in this family, I thought they were yucky, and I was very vocal about it at the time. However, I’ve grown a lot as an eater since then and I’ve worked to mature my underdeveloped palate to handle anything that Aunt Linda or anyone else throws my way. Tonight, when I got to the table and saw a lineup of yams, I was able to lean on that preparation and get the job done.
REPORTER: Grown-ups hate phones, especially at the dinner table. How’d you prepare to go without your phone during tonight’s meal?
TED: That’s a great question. I knew I couldn’t afford any phone-related slip-ups. That would immediately put me at a disadvantage, and I didn’t want to be digging myself out of a hole for the remainder of the meal. Before dinner started, I placed my phone on silent mode and powered it down. This helped me clear my head before the meal and eliminate the risk of my phone sounding with a notification that my cousin Bradley is going live on Instagram again.
REPORTER: Let’s talk about Bradley for a minute. Many people criticize this family for bringing kids to the Grown-Ups’ Table before they’re ready. Some say this family doesn’t invest the time to develop their young adults, and they aren’t able to adapt to the pace and rigor of adult conversation. Your cousin Bradley was twelve last year when he made the move to the Grown-Ups’ Table. However, he couldn’t handle the unregulated mashed potato portions or the elevated discussion of his peers. He fell asleep at the table and had to be escorted off to bed by a nearby adult. He has yet to make a full recovery. Since then, he’s gotten detention four times at school, his parents have filed for divorce, and he was not invited to Thanksgiving this year. Were you at all worried you’d have the same issues?
TED: I’ve heard that story, but I don’t fixate on it. Bradley paved the way for future twelve-year-olds to get called up to the Grown-Ups’ Table, so for that I am thankful. Without him, I wouldn’t be here today, but there’s no defending his behavior last year. Bradley and I are different people, and I wasn’t going to make those same mistakes.
REPORTER: We have to talk about what happened during dessert. To the surprise of many, you teased Grandma that she was cut off for the night. Others your age would just be focusing on making it through dinner without embarrassing themselves, but you had the foresight to exploit the family’s drinking habits for a laugh. Where did you find the courage to try something like that?
TED: This was an opportunity to show that I’m not afraid to make a risky play call when appropriate, and luckily it paid off.
REPORTER: I want to commend you on your maturity when dealing with Uncle Jimbo. About four beers deep, he asked, “So, do you have a girlfriend yet?” What was going through your mind at that moment, and were you at all embarrassed by the question?
TED: We all know that in this family, you’ve gotta be able to roll with the punches. Obviously, this is not the kind of behavior you expect from an adult, but Uncle Jimbo is unpredictable, and I had to show him that I don’t back down. I said, “Yes, I have a girlfriend, and I don’t even pay for Tinder Premium like you.” It got the job done and Uncle Jimbo was a non-factor the rest of the meal.
REPORTER: Well, congratulations, Ted, and thank you for your time. Who knows? Maybe next year you’ll be invited out on the porch for the after-dinner cigar.
TED: Thank you. I’ll give myself a couple minutes to try and enjoy this win, but I’ve gotta stay hungry and build on this momentum. I’ve got my work cut out for me with Christmas in a few weeks. That’ll take a lot of preparation, so that’s what I’ll be focused on moving forward.