What happens if I leave L.A. for a few days? What if a Taco Bell commercial needs a “harmless-looking early 20s guy with improv background” and I’m 3,000 miles away? The world may never know. And that’s because I refuse to leave Hollywood until she gets a restraining order against me. So, rather than attending one of the nearby Friendsgivings, I took the holiday off entirely. This was a huge error in judgment, as these points will illustrate. Although Thanksgiving dinner doesn’t perpetually occur throughout the holidays, perhaps you’ll identify with these phases of spending a holiday entirely alone. Forever.
1. The Late Start
As a child, every Thanksgiving morning I would rush to my next door neighbor’s house for homemade cinnamon buns and the Macy’s Day Parade. This year, it was already in the P.M. when I awoke and NBC was probably already airing a series I never booked. Anyway the first thing I do when my “You’ve Made It Another Day” alarm goes off is check my phone to make sure I haven’t missed a call from Harvey Weinstein or my grandmother (whose maiden name was Weinstein too). So as I checked my phone, I saw a slew of heartwarming Thanksgiving snapshots on Instagram. Friends, family, food, and fun. I thought it would be funny to ruin peoples’ feed with my face, so I took a selfie, added whatever that first Instafilter is, and then immediately deleted it—which is pretty on par for any day actually.
2. The Wardrobe
The next thing I did was cover up my six pack abs in a shirt. I usually wear a grandpa sweater on Thanksgiving to make my grandma happy, but since I was alone I realized I could wear whatever I wanted—and by wanted I mean owned. In retrospect, a nostalgic 90’s tee was clearly a callback to a better time, full of homemade cinnamon buns and parades and knowing who your neighbors were. One could say the 1990s were a time when every day was like Thanskgiving. It would be a weird thing to say, but one could definitely say it.
3. The Shopping
Now when you go grocery shopping on Thanksgiving for a party of one, the menu items will look a little bit different. For instance, as this soon-to-be-court-document shows, my famous holiday recipe involves two bottles of cough syrup and a cookie cake. Notice the lack of judgment from the cashier? Let’s try to emulate that attitude for the remainder of this list.
4. The Cooking
For my Thanksgiving brunch (that’s not a thing is it), I made myself Chef Boyardee. Sorry, let me rephrase that; I made myself genuinely nauseous for over an hour and a half. This photo pairs beautifully with all of the day’s other Facebook and Twitter pics of dining room tables across America. By the way, about what I said earlier—I am completely available to shoot Chef Boyardee commercials.
5. The Netflix
I remember that the way lonely people spend their time is by watching Netflix. My roommate was with his “family” for a “normal” “Thanksgiving” “celebration,” so I had his Netflix all to myself. What a treat! Since I could not watch the documentary “Mitt” for a literal fourth time, I tried watching “The Dick Van Dyke” show to remind me of home in suburban New York as well as my mother, the incomparable Mary Tyler Moore.
6. The Texts
While Dick Van Dyke was blasting on my TV—WOW THAT SOUNDS FILTHY—my phone was dinging off the hook. In addition to texts from friends with blatantly copied-and-pasted Thanksgiving greetings, I started getting messages from my family. They were all together as usually, having a great fucking time without me. My big brother texted me this one.
Now fully aware that I had made a horrible decision by spending Thanksgiving alone, I was too depressed to respond to all the sexts. Then I realized that was rude so I eventually started responding like the mensch Grandma Weinstein wants me to be.
7. The Substance Abuse
Speaking of Mary Tyler Moore, alcoholism sounded like the next course of action. I decided to walk to Hollywood Boulevard, where all dreams go to die anyway, and find a place to “eat.” This place had a two-for-one priced drink deal and hostesses who were also clearly staying here in order to attend Verizon commercial callbacks. Besides the large drinks and larger portion of Freedom Fries (a good way to counterbalance the effects of the morning’s Chef Boyardee), this place was great because they had the exact amount of television sets I needed. The problem was that each TV was turned to the same sporting event. I don’t know anything about sports but I think it was either the European soccer World Series or random clips from “Silver Linings Playbook.”
8. The Picture Messages
As I was pretending to try to enjoy the drinks, foosball, and freedom, more texts from the East Coast Thanksgiving Spectacular came my way. What’s more—they were now photos of what I was missing out on. Grandma sent me photos of her with adorable little old ladies that I didn’t even know were relatives of mine but were probably in my living room.
Some of the pictures featured older cousins with baby cousins I haven’t met. This text made me feel like a horrible dad, and I do not even have children.
Even my dog sent me a selfie from under the table. Brutal. And physically impossible.
9. The Redemption
I stumbled home in broad daylight and contemplated ending my life. I realized that it would defeat the whole point of me staying home for the holiday (ie. how would I book a Xanax commercial if I ceased to exist?) so I decided to remain on Earth and give Netflix another chance. As I watched Kenan and Kel give Shaquille O’Neal his tomato-less Goodburger, I began to smile from within. Indeed, I thought, there is a lot in my life to be thankful for.
Then I threw up.