I think my roommate Laura may be right in thinking that Thanksgiving is the best all-around holiday. It’s not confined to any specific religion, and it’s not as stressful as holidays which require any kind of gift giving or country loving. I’ll admit I do know a few vegetarians who aren’t particularly enthusiastic about the whole deal, and it certainly leaves human/turkey relations at an annual low. But unless you’re in the first grade and are forced to make hand turkeys, or put on guilt-absolving pageants where you dress (with as much style and realism as construction paper affords) as Pilgrims and Native Americans who link arms and present each other with dried ears of corn, Thanksgiving has by this point been boiled down to its most basic and delicious element: Eating yourself into a Goddamn Food Coma and then Passing Out on the Couch. The day itself revolves around dinner; its preparation, presentation, and consummation. Traditional recipes are resurrected, winced at, and then dutifully followed, resulting in such all-time family favorites as yams covered in marshmallows, and green beans topped with crunchy onions. (I never said I came from a background of class, just innovation.)
You’re home for just long enough to get a taste of your family without having to settle into a spirit-crushing, role-reassuming routine with them. Hell, you may even enjoy a round or two of Scrabble with the relatives without anyone screaming, knocking the board over, or getting cut out of The Will. This is partly due to the fact that for perhaps ninety percent of the time you spend with your loved ones over Thanksgiving weekend, either everyone’s mouth is full, or a Cuisenart or some other kitchen appliance is working full blast, both of which prevent awkward questions like, “So, do you have a real job yet?” and “You still seeing that Bozo?” Tensions are also reduced by the fact that your visit lasts three or four days at the most before you get to leave again, with an extra bag full of leftovers and your coat pockets full of hot rolls if you’re lucky, or sneaky.
All right. I’ve got to mention that at the moment, I’m so full of food, I don’t really know what I’m saying. I don’t even know where I am. I do know that I’m going to try and keep writing, either until I reach my goal of 500 words, or my stomach bloats past the length of my outstretched arms and I can no longer reach the keyboard. Whichever comes first.
Having just moved to Honolulu the month before, I spent last Thanksgiving visiting a friend of mine at a hippie commune on Maui. We hung out on a black sand beach, hacked through the dense undergrowth with machetes, picked and ate fruit I’d never heard of right off the trees, and a local introduced himself to me while I was using an outdoor shower. It was a pretty hard Thanksgiving to top.
But fortunately, this Thanksgiving, I had cable. And when the blood from the rest of your entire body surges to your stomach, VH1’s Top Fifty Most Awesomely Bad Something-or-Others is a comforting evening companion. That and a reheated piece of pumpkin pie, maybe with a little ice cream on the side.