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Thank God . . .
Every year it comes around, sneaking in with the cold weather and a whopping pile of dead turkeys. Ooops, that’s the dead giveaway right there. Now who on earth first decided that turkeys should be sacred to Thanksgiving? You hear “turkey” and your brain hotwires itself into Thanksgiving mode, right up there with “mashed potatoes” and “cranberry sauce.” Did the Pilgrims even eat turkeys? In elementary school, I was under the impression that they were choking down lobster antennae and gagging on big globby hunks of seal blubber that fateful Thursday in November.
Oh, yeah . . . they didn’t even celebrate Thanksgiving on a Thursday in November, did they?
Thanksgiving chugs in each year dragging a thousand and one traditions that originated who knows how who knows when. Of course there’s the elementary school pageant, where all those cute little first through fifth graders don the armaments of war in the form of broccoli headdresses and construction-paper pilgrim hats and duke it out onstage, man versus food.
And we can’t forget the family reunion, where all the extended family from twelve different states down to your cousin’s sister’s aunt’s mother’s daughter’s boyfriend’s ex-wife shows up at your door with nothing but rumbling bellies and whale-sized appetites. The men congregate in the living room with beer bottles glued to their hands and yell profanities at the TV as they steadily get drunker and drunker. The women get a free spa-session as they sweat it out in the 110 degree kitchen making enough food to feed half the penguins in Antarctica. There is a national crisis when no green beans can be found in the pantry. The world just about ends then in a nuclear explosion when Great Aunt Vera claims her pumpkin pie could kick butt over Great Aunt Stacey’s apple crisp any day. We face the Apocalypse when Spot gets his nose in the turkey stuffing and contaminates the whole batch with his poisonous dog snot.
But finally the dinner table sags beneath the weight of a mountain of food, steadily growing concave beneath the horse-sized, steroid-pumped, genetically engineered turkey in the center. Everyone gathers in the dining room and prays a brief three-second prayer before heaping football-field-sized plates with food. They eat until they feel sick and Grandpa Bernie’s belt buckle snaps and hits Cousin Marge in the eyeball. Then all the slender model cousins go and present an offering of vomit to the Porcelain God, all the fat, lumpy cousins succumb to a frenzy of self-degradation and end up slicing zebra stripes up and down their arms, and all the middle-aged matrons rush to Barnes and Noble and purchase the latest version The South Beach Diet.
Are we thankful that the hectic Christmas season is now just a hop and skip away? Are we thankful that in the morning we get to charge off to all those killer Black Friday sales at three a.m. and run over the competition in our lethal, iron-plated grocery carts?
This is not a national holiday; this is war!
Yet even amid this annual crusade against the deadly turkeys of death, this raging conflict against the extended family set on obliterating the global food supply, this noble struggle to gorge ourselves until we explode and our bloated corpses are left rotting in the semi-winter weather . . . is there not something to be thankful for?
Thank God we now eat turkey instead of seal blubber.
Thank God we actually have families to argue with and push around.
Thank God for schools where we can put on pageants and run wild around the stage.
Thank God for more food than we know what to do with.
Thank God for the thousands of turkeys who selflessly give their lives each November for the good of a national holiday.
And most of all, thank God that Thanksgiving comes only once a year! :)