Aspects Of Thanksgiving
Turkey: Turkey makes you sleepy, because it has that chemical in it. That’s just science! Actually, that’s untrue, it’s not science at all. The chemical in turkey is not what makes you sleepy. You could look it up. But it’s cute that we had to make up an imaginary reason as to why we’d be sleepy after Thanksgiving. Because “traveling long distances, watching six hours of football, then eating three pounds of food, then having an excruciating hour-long conversation with your aunt” apparently wouldn’t qualify as a reason to be “sleepy” unless there was some sort of chemical explanation.
Honestly, just thinking about Thanksgiving makes me sleepy, and by “sleepy” I of course mean “quasi-suicidal.” Too much food and relatives and enforced conversation and–
Sorry, I just passed out for a second and my head collapsed onto my keyboard.
Anyway, turkey! Yay, let’s all gather together to eat a food that is universally acknowledged as being “dry” and “bland.” Thanksgiving slightly sucks, is all I’m saying. You don’t get to have sex like on Halloween, and you don’t get presents like you do on Christmas, and you don’t get a sense of Jewish guilt like I do on Easter. But hey, the side-dishes on Thanksgiving are okay… Grade: C-minus
Mashed potatoes: …Right, so, side-dishes! Mashed potatoes are good. There is nothing bad to say about mashed potatoes, especially if you leave the skins on, and throw some garlic in there or something. And mashed potatoes are pretty much un-f-ck-up-able. I know this because even I can make them. You boil potatoes, moosh them up, and toss in some milk and butter and salt and pepper. There’s no way you can screw that up. If mashed potatoes were a toy, they’d be that cup-with-a-ball-on-a-string thing. If they were a musical instrument, they’d be the triangle. Anyway, it’s good in life to have something you can’t mess up, even if you try. Or is that too profound? Anyway. Grade: A
Stuffing: For some reason, stuffing makes me think of a World War II scene: a bunch of American soldiers at war with bread. They’re trapped in a trench, surrounded by bread, and then the sergeant is like, “Well, boys! Damned if we’re not in a tight spot. There’s only one way out and that’s to fight our way out.” And then the bravest of them jump up and toss some grenades at the bread, and then pop down into the trench as fast as they can. …And when they emerge, several minutes later, stuffing is the result. “War is hell, boys. Now let’s sprinkle some sage and chopped onions around here, and then let’s eat.”
…Anyway, stuffing is part of the never-ending attempt to distract from how blah turkey is by surrounding it with other, better foods. Turkey is also like this very unpleasant conversational topic that you’re trying to avoid. In fact, if turkey was a conversational topic, it’d be you having to confess that you gave your girlfriend an STD on her birthday: awful. Okay, enough about how much I dislike turkey. Grade: B-plus
Candied yams: Wow, do we have enough carbs for this dinner yet? Do you think? Really, if your carb needs aren’t being met yet by mashed potatoes, bread, stuffing, etc., then adding something like candied yams isn’t really going to satisfy you either. Really, what you should do in this case is just quit your job, and become a wandering Carb Nomad, traveling from town to town in sackcloth or something. “BROTHERS AND SISTERS, DO YOU HAVE ANY CARBS THAT YOU CAN SPARE? PLEASE. JUST SOME CRACKERS OR ANYTHING. OH GOD I NEED CARBS; ANY CARBS.” Yuck. Grade:D
Cranberry sauce: There’s been a decades-long debate going on about cranberry sauce at my family’s house. My step-sister and I like the canned type, everyone else likes the homemade type. Finally we just compromised and had both kinds, in two different bowls. But god, it took years to get to that point. Years of painful alternation between different types of sauce. It was like the Thirty Years’ War of cranberry sauce, with one side always falling into utter defeat.
“What mighty contests arise from trivial things,” said Alexander Pope, and man, he had a point there. You can love and respect your family, and yet still get into the most excruciating debates over, say, sauce. Or types of milk. Man, we debated for years over milk. I like the two percent kind, but some people like the skim kind, which is just white-flavored water, as far as I’m concerned. And then some other people in my family like whole milk, but accidentally drinking whole milk from a carton leads me to have the following reaction: “JESUS CHRIST THIS IS WHOLE MILK, AAAH. WHY NOT JUST POUR MELTED BUTTER DOWN MY THROAT. AAAH. SPEW!”
So to return to the topic of cranberry sauce for a second. I preferred the canned type from little kid-dom, mostly because I was fascinated by the way that it emerged from the can in perfect can-form, even down to mimicking the wavy metal ridges in the side of the can. Fascinating. And then, you can slice it. What other types of “sauce” can you slice? None that I can think of, at the moment. Grade: A-minus.
Pumpkin pie: Pumpkin pie is delicious, but it also falls into that odd subcategory of “food that we’re only allowed to have for three weeks out of the year.” F-ck that noise. …Who decides these things? Some shadowy cabal of evil men somewhere? Like Alan Greenspan and Rupert Murdoch and Dick Cheney and Kobe Bryant and Freddy Kruger and such all gather in a board room with a long table and are like, “They shall have pumpkin pie for exactly this long, and no longer. Ba ha ha. Ah ha ha. Ah ha ha. Hoo.” …Also, I love Eggnog far more than I even love pumpkin pie, so don’t even get me started on that whole topic. Who is it that gives us eggnog and then takes it away from us again? We only get like thirty noggy days!
Anyway, I’m thinking of starting an Occupy Pie movement. I’m going to sit in a square in downtown New York and stay there until the fat-cats crumble and give us pumpkin pie all year long. …And to a lesser extent, give us mince pie all year long. I’m somewhat flexible on mince pie. Actually I might even end up using mince pie as a bargaining chip, to help release the pie that I truly want.
So, if you’re into this whole thing, then follow me at #OccupyPie on Twitter. …Nah, I’m just kidding. I would never use Twitter. Twitter is like Facebook for people who find the whole “interacting with other people and not spewing your own thoughts all day long” thing to be too taxing. …Right, so where was I? …Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Love you! Go eat some carbs and save me the wishbone thing. Grade: B-minus.
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If you’ve been looking for a chance to say something then this very well could be it.
I wish to God I’d had a list like this when I was 23.
Answer phones better than anyone else has answered phones before. Relay messages so brilliant, they bring people to tears. Turn the coffee run into the choreography of Swan Lake. Become best friends with every intern and every underling and every taxi driver you encounter.
I remember taking the pen and notebook from that woman outside the courtroom, flipping to a clean page in the book, and writing, JESSICA IS SAD in big, bold, uncoordinated letters. “My sister is going to be a good writer someday! Look at how nice her lines are!”