For the last several years, I’ve written about the Thanksgiving experience. They’re not necessarily my own experiences, but more a compilation of those I’ve heard about through my quarter-century on this planet.
For example, one year, I wrote about things I should have thanked people for a long time ago, but didn’t. Another year, I called out the habit of people posting ridiculously obvious things on Facebook that they are thankful for. I mean, how hard is it to come up with “good health” or “family?” You are going to have to dig a little deeper than that to get any likes from me. On the other hand, if you post that you are grateful for your loving husband who takes your socks off for you when you’re too drunk to reach your feet, I’m going to be impressed! I might even give you a “love” instead of a “like.” (Note: The above example is purely fictional and not intended to represent the author.)
Speaking of husbands, mine loves Thanksgiving because it’s all about the Fs: family, food and football, and not necessarily in that order. But I have a strong affinity for Thanksgiving because of a few things it doesn’t have: religious hypocrisy (love thy neighbor, unless I disapprove with whomever he or she might love, in the biblical sense) or strange rituals (hunting for eggs laid by rabbits).
This year, for some strange reason, I want to be helpful. The following are some tips that might help things run more smoothly for you and yours on Thanksgiving.
My first tip is to start thinking about Thanksgiving now, if you haven’t done so already. It’s the time to consider options, from menus to which flavor of pain you are in the mood for this year. Host the dinner or travel? In-laws or immediate family? Siblings or cousins? Neighbors or workmates? Ham or turducken (a turkey, stuffed with a duck, that’s been stuffed with a chicken.)
Once that’s all settled, it’s time to work out the details: Who is the most likely troublemaker? Will he or she wait until dinner to create the beastly moments (BMs) or will they get the ball rolling early, before the numbing juice has been sufficiently dispensed? What form(s) will the BMs take? (the presidential candidates, global warming, Russia, etc.) Which amount of wine goes best with Donald Trump, not enough or too much?
Finally, wherever you may find yourself on Thanksgiving, do not forget to establish an SOS list. That is, the person(s) you can count on to run interference should a BM land at your feet. For even with all those glorious Fs, Thanksgiving would not be complete without BMs, and a solid SOS list.
And why is that? Well, like most get togethers, holiday or otherwise, Thanksgiving group gropes always include THAT person who likes to push buttons. But Thanksgiving is special, because you’re trapped. You can’t leave early. And it’s not a matter of IF the BMs will be launched, it’s a matter of WHEN, which creates a weird tension in the room. For four or five hours. This year, BMs will be brought to us by the fine folks at both political parties. However, as much as I’d hoped to, one thing I won’t hear is, “Trump really got a raw deal in that election. It was totally rigged; you do know that, right?”
Still, regardless of which way you wanted the election to go, no Thanksgiving is complete without a big helping of verbal turducken: An ill-informed point, wrapped inside a lie, shoved inside a jackass. Verbal turducken cannot be countered; there is no winning. Once you’ve got a bite in your mouth, you must chew the turducken slowly, twenty times, before swallowing. Use this time to smile and nod. Sip. Sip once more. Rinse, repeat. Imagine a bowling alley, and a super slow-moving, 17-lb bowling ball (the BM), rolling into the pins. You’re that one pin that topples, spins, and sits there. You don’t get knocked away, off the lane and into safety. Instead, you lay there whispering desperately for the lane clearing machine to put you out of your misery: “Please, metal sweeper; get me out of here. I’m suffering.”
And that’s when you make eye contact with your SOS person, widening your eyes slightly to convey the torture of the BM that you are currently experiencing. If your SOS person turns away, you’re in trouble. But if they respond by somehow bailing you out, you have found your soulmate. Marry him or her immediately, even if it’s your long-eared coonhound, Flappers, or your same sex cousin and neither of you are gay.
Just think of all the turducken it will provide for years to come.