To win this award you have to receive the most votes following a year long nomination process by adult family members on a closed family website. Some nominations are taken on award night. You may be nominated if you do something really dumb that makes others in the family perceive your action as “dumb & stupid,” and say you are a dumb ….awww, what were you thinking? The younger children believe it to be the “Dumb Stupid” Award. No one under 21 can attend the nominating event, vote, or be nominated. They younger ones are entertained with special activities, games and events.
This event is looked forward to by our adult family as being one of our more hilarious outlets, which can lead to opening up discussion about the problems and challenges that faced all of us during the previous year. The taunting and teasing can actually help put a stress relieving and funny spin on it; and perhaps some loving, if loud, family perspective on it. Fierce denials and defense have even led to phone calls as late as midnight to try to bring a witness testimony in to insure your story is heard and believed. Absentees who could not make it due to illness are often lying ill, feverish or just wanting peace and quiet, but there is a skype-like or open phone conversation being sent to insure “all” are in attendance.
It is a unique experience to present the nominations and hear the protests of the nominee. There are always some who just won’t turn on the other. My husband and our daughter-in-law will never support the vote against one another. Year before last year, they all turned on me after an impassioned plea from my hubby. It was not because I had done something that stupid, but because my normally quiet husband who is so serious, really presented a passionate nomination speech. They were so shocked, they supported it. (We are not allowed to tell the details outside the nominating about what stupid stuff we were nominated for. It stays with the family, and I believe blackmail may be the real reason.)
Another rule is that the winner must display the trophy prominently in their home for the entire year, until we gather again. Usually it goes in the living room, or in the case of our son Steve, it is prominently displayed in his library right next to his pictures with noted political leaders who adorn the room and walls. And I should mention that my son and my Wisconsin son-in-law have won it multiple times and therefore will soon be inducted into the new Hall of Fame for DS nominations.
Yes, we’re sorta strange, and I guess we have a little “white trash” still hanging on in our family. But you know what? It is so much fun, and such an ice breaker to stir up conversation about the “hard and challenging” times of our year. That is important. With growing families, geographical changes which have us living in so many different states, we now only get together all at one time, once a year. After all there are now 25 core members of our family that gather in Iowa at our son’s home for our celebration.
Other friends are in shock and awe when they learn of the award. All I can say is you can take the redneck out of the family, but you can’t take the family out of being redneck. (With apologies to our daughter in law). It is also a great litmus test for new perspective members of the family who are “significant others”. If they survive the D.S. Award presentation and still want to be a part of the family, then they are at least “a contender”.
Awarded annually at the family gathering following the official celebration and exchange of Christmas gifts, the D.S. Award was created by the Patriarch of the family (My Hubby). In the early years winners were just announced and laughed about, but now there is the beautiful light oak trophy that boasts a full regalia of hardware as seen above. Nestled in between two oak columns is the small naked statue of a troll with bright shocking yellow hair. and on top, well, look and what you see is what you get . (The artistic achievements of our Patriarch stand unrivaled by anyone. Probably for good reason. )