Thanksgiving is a holiday that could only exist in America. This is patently obvious because, well, it does only exist in the united states. The concept and celebration of the holiday could only exist here. The holiday is a remembrance of when the fresh of the boat Europeans were graciously helped by the native peoples who lived here already. They feasted together in show of communal spirit and brotherhood. Then the Europeans repaid this debt by stealing and decimated those that helped them. They showed no mercy for the people who altruistically made sure they survived. No good deed goes unpunished evidently. Woo! America!
Currently we celebrate the feasting meal held by the natives and the Europeans as a day to recognize that which we are thankful for as well as the unity of men and women. Nothing wrong with that. We do this in the most American way possible. We indulge and overindulge like only we can. We put as many unhealthy things in front of us and shove it down our faces numb to the aching hole we are filling with food. We cram this down ignoring our aching, blocked arteries and scream for more pecan rolls. Then we have the brilliant idea with spread butter on the pecan rolls because fuck it, it’s the Holidays and we convince ourselves we’ll start that diet next week. The diet doesn’t come and we cry into the pumpkin pie tomorrow.
Ok, forgive the bleakness. Maybe that was an exaggeration. Except for the butter on pecan rolls. My brother totally did that. I encouraged him. Also pecan rolls are my one weakness. They best my self-control. Well, okay it’s one of my multitude of weaknesses. I love pecan rolls but we can’t be seen together my waist gave me the ultimatum. My pants size won. I wish you a joyous journey with another person. Hopefully they appreciate your gooey bounty as much as I. I’ll never forget you…
This thanksgiving there wasn’t enough table to fit the massive amounts of food heaped in front of us. We had an appetizer round that took up some of the table but the main course took up so much room we had to constantly shuffle things around. Also when there are small children around and you’re the adult the things being said are totally different. For instance, “can you fit this all your mouth,” kinda different. Being a reasonably intelligent man I said nothing and held back my smirk and chuckles. This was no small task. I giggle like an idiot every time I hear a fart, simulated or otherwise. Yes, I am a grown man with a big boy job but fart noise are funny and don’t you dare take it away from me.
Another reason why Thanksgiving is super American is the whole family dynamic. Adi and myself split thanksgivings. One year with my family the other with hers. Totally different atmospheres. Both Jewish, well educated suburbanites with a gay male in the family but still very different. It reminds me of the constant culture clash and turnover in this country. The traditional versus the non-traditional. The generation issues become readily apparent. It terrifies me that my generation will be running things soon. I don’t think any of us quite expect to be adult anytime soon. But time is looming. I’m very much at the adult table talking about politics and jobs and hiding my own in the conversation. I don’t feel like an interloper and want to wander back to video games and frivolity. But I digress on that point. This is a time for family but it points out fractured and unified families at the same time. Many people I know are making multiple trips. Dinner with mom then sandwiches with dad. And that’s just one side of the family. The effects of divorce really become apparent now.
I don’t know if Thanksgiving is as much of a drinking holiday as other but we’re in America and we are good at turning most holidays into excuses for drinking, eating and shopping. Thanksgiving is very much about food and shopping. I’ve been getting emails non-stop from various stores enticing me with early pre black friday deals, online specials, extended deals and all manner of consumer enticement. I like buying stuff. It’s part of being American. We have a need to buy things we don’t need. It’s part of the reason why I think we say we are thankful for certain things like family and friends but we’re really thankful for the 50 inch LCD hanging on the wall. We worship at the altar of the shiny new iWhatever (patent pending). I can only complain so much on this as my wife is out shopping while I mind dump these thoughts onto the page. I know she enjoys this family bonding time so I encouraged her to buy herself something frivolous with my credit card. I don’t entirely regret this decision.
So we have multiple version of consumption (food, alcohol, buying stuff) but we also have perhaps now the most American of sports playing prominently: football. You could argue that baseball is more American but fuck you. Baseball is all about patience and statistics. Football is all trench warfare. It’s more violent than baseball (‘Murika), it has dancing half naked women (‘MURIKA) and the biggest event for football, it’s raging culmination, is half about the stupid commercials selling you crap (MERIKAH!!!).
The only way thanksgiving could be any more American is if it stole the explosions from the fourth of July and got into a bar fight afterwards. I would call it Thanksplosions. That’s my word so don’t go using it without permission.