Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Hunger Daze

Too easy.

I've little doubt that all ya'll got tryptophaned the fuck out Thursday night. Your bellies are probably still full, your bodies are probably still stretched out somethin' unseemly across your mother's couch, and your sweatpants' stretchbands have no doubt done seriously tested their load capacity. To top it off, USA Network was forward-thinking enough to schedule a Law & Order: Criminal Intent marathon so Vincent D'Onofrio's creepy ass could infiltrate all your drunken dreams of sales black and cyber. Yeah, Thanksgiving did you right. If you're being honest with yourself, you know it always does.

Thanksgiving is the undisputed world heavyweight champion of Western white heavyweights' holidays. It is, without question, my favorite holiday of the year. It's the only one I even anticipate during the months preceding its arrival. Were it not for Thanksgiving, there quite frankly is at least a 40% chance I'd forget Christmas was on-deck (a figure that would be much, much higher were it not for the complete cultural saturation of Christmas shit ushered forth by corporate America come mid-summer). Hell, I like Thanksgiving more than I like my own birthday (which, coincidentally and revealingly enough, is on the most-forgotten, other holiday in November). So every year I am dismayed when people I might otherwise respect get all self-indignant about their aversion to this most mildly cherished of days. I've never been able to make a whole lot of sense of it.

I like Thanksgiving because I'm an adult, and it is a holiday that caters pretty unabashedly to adults.  That is to say that the features I find most enjoyable - cooking, driving a good distance to shoot the shit with people I see sporadically at best - are things I viewed in my youth with the same rueful displeasure I resented all chores. However, just as I eventually exchanged OJ for black coffee and soda pop for beer, at some point receiving presents became much less important than passing around the bottle of CC with the elders on the back porch. Until this point, though, until you are recognized as capable-enough and are welcomed at the adults' table, Thanksgiving just doesn't offer you a whole lot outside of stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy. Absent are the frilly, superfluous features of the ensuing season that I can (and prefer to) do without, though it's certainly not for a lack of trying by the Walmarts and Best Buys of the world. Christmas' leftward march through the calendar has been noticed and lamented as far back as the original airing of A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving. Yet, in spite of every attempt to reduce it to a corporate cash cow, Thanksgiving remains stubbornly low maintenance and boring. It continues as the only tradition with enough historical bona fides to mandate unaltered observance and preclude Black Friday sales from starting the day after Halloween or Labor Day.

Thanksgiving also rules because it's so thoroughly American. As far as holidays worth their hype are concerned, you'd be hard-pressed to find one that more prominently extols values universal across all the assimilated ingredients of our melting-pot society. At the very least, it is more inclusive if based on nothing more than the fact that it is not called Christgiving. Seriously though, name another holiday where you can start drinking at like 10:30 ante meridiem, and the only wary glances received are from people wondering what the fuck took you so long. Name another where you can eat a weeks worth of food in one sitting and then watch the New England Patriots and the New York Jets reenact the untold story of Thanksgiving (you know, the one where ghostfaced pretty boys basically slaughtered all the brown people and sold the survivors into slavery). I mean, there's a reason football and overeating are not included in the Summer Olympic Games. That's our shit. There's no competition. America, fuck yeah forever.

So next year, fret not the colonialist origins. Fret not the forced encounters with your tax-assessing second cousin or your inability to properly cook a turkey with strength. Especially spare me your despair or disparaging remarks, your indifference or irreverence for a holiday that's actually worth the time and energy put into it. Celebrate the life lethargic, instead. Bask in the glory of impending postprandial somnolence. And for God(?)'s sake be thankful, because December is still a week away, and you're about to get really fucking tired of Christmas music.

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