Thanksgiving is rolling around again which means it’s that special time of year. It’s time to eat. More than that, it’s time to get uncomfortably full. Yams, turkey, all the mashed potatoes – if you don’t hate yourself afterward, you simply didn’t do it right. It’s time to stuff yourself beyond all hope and reconciliation. The times will be good, indeed. Or so you keep saying.
Thanksgiving is going to be rough, let’s be real. Sure, you wanna believe that it’s gonna be great this time around because you’re nothing if not optimistic, but that’s just because you forgot about all the things that drive you nuts about Turkey Day. Things like…
Last Minute Grocery Shopping
“It won’t happen this year,” you wrongly tell yourself, “I’ll get to the grocery store early this time so I won’t have to deal with the last second silliness.” It’s a noble goal. One that you’ve had every single year since you were old enough to start roasting turkeys of your own. You’ve had that thought before, and you’ll have it again, but that doesn’t mean you’ll do it. You mean well, of course. No one’s questioning your drive or your tenacity. You fully intend to get there far in advance. Maybe around Halloween this time. That’ll show ‘em!
But we all know you’re going to end up sprinting to the store the night before, juking and elbowing elderly shoppers as you make a mad dash, with hundreds of other panicked people, for the last turkey. Or worse, you’ll end up driving around town for hours on Thanksgiving Day searching in vain for an open drug store that sells cans of cranberry sauce. The tired and grumpy store clerk who drew the short straw and was forced to work that day will judge you silently when you ask him if they have any. And you’ll know you deserve it, too.
Ah, the holidays. Time to kick back and relax. Ah, yeah. This is the life. Are you relaxed? Good! Keep relaxing. Are you relaxing still? Excellent. Now what? Good question. Suppose you could always relax more. At the great risk of undue hyperbole, it’s really not a stretch to suggest that a bunch of free time is going to get old after awhile. You don’t believe that. You’ve been working hard. You’re worn out. You’ve been looking forward to a Thanksgiving break for some much deserved food coma time. But let’s review the options for entertainment that are available to you that day, shall we?
10 – Noon: Wake up and snack a little (breakfast is a risky affair on Tday)
1:30 – 3:30: Nothing
4:30 – 6ish: Unreasonable Hunger
6ish: All of the Food
7 -11:30: Nothing
And so goes the typical Thanksgiving. Ask yourself: how are you going to fill all those blocks of nothing? You could try watching TV, but all you’re going to find are terrible Thanksgiving Day specials. Sure, there’s Netflix, but you’re probably already mostly caught up on your favorite shows, and it won’t be long before you burn the few good movies on there before you stumble into the dismal badlands of Mortal Kombat and Bear Force One. You could always try giving the NFL a go because everyone acts like they love watching football all day, but you’re going to quickly discover you are not one of those people after hour two of whatever configuration of teams that don’t have a shot at winning the Super Bowl this year.
Just face it, there’s nothing about Thanksgiving leisure that’s particularly enjoyable besides shoving pounds of food into your face, and that’s gonna go by quick in a blur of feverish gluttony and self-destruction.
If you’re one of the more responsible members of your household, you’re going to be in charge of the actual cooking and, no pressure, but literally everyone in your home cares more about how the food turns out than they do each other or you. Especially you. People have been starving themselves for this meal. They’ve been looking forward to this meal for an entire year; from the moment the leftovers were cashed from the last go-around.
Get it right, and you’ll be a hero. If they turkey ends up dry, you’ll never hear the end of it. You probably won’t have to worry about a full scale uprising at the dinner table, but you’ll see it in their eyes. The disappointment. The crushing sadness. You’ll feel it. The evacuation of hope from their souls. The destitute. And all because you decided to go rogue and leave the marshmallows out of the sweet potato casserole. It may be best to just improvise.
If someone asked you what the best part of your date was and your answer was, “the food” odds are you probably didn’t have that great of a time. Now here you are, at a table filled with families members (see item 3), trying to keep things civil when the news headlines are being dominated by bombings, racial tension, an ever widening political spectrum, and not to mention a full blown presidential campaign. Things are going to get tense in a hurry. At best, it’ll be politely awkward as everyone does their damnedest to keep things light with small talk. But you can only talk about the weather and the latest Internet meme for so long before someone accidentally says “Donald Trump” and everything goes to hell.
But hey, on the bright side, turns out that sweet potatoes without marshmallows are pretty great after all.