True meanings of many holidays have become so blurred over the centuries. For instance, Easter and Christmas are not associated with Christ. One is associated with a mutant 6-foot rabbit who strews candy all over the yard for boys and girls...essentially a littering crime. The other involves a fat guy dressed in a velvet suit (insert John Waters film credits here) who commits millions of felonious breaking and entering crimes across the globe. Both of which, depending on who's wearing the costume, could result in crimes of pedophilia.
And we wonder why our children have bad dreams at night?
Not Thanksgiving. This is a holiday that has always been associated with EATING. A commemorative feast celebrating the fact that the white man finally came across a group of people that they DIDN'T kill upon their arrival to the brave new world. I love Thanksgiving and I love to eat!
In New Orleans, being the health conscious city that it is, Thanksgiving feasts are taken to the extreme in that one traditional culinary treat is an entree called "Turducken." It's a turkey, stuffed with a duck AND a hen! Sort of like an Ornithological genocidal nesting egg.
As a point of reason, I'm not putting anything on my dinner plate with the word "TURD" in it.
It's been a couple of years since I've been asked to write a Thanksgiving column. It's not that I'm not a thankful person, I really am. I just don't like to craft holiday writings. I also don't like The X-Factor. One has nothing to do with the other with the exception of bad performances.
For instance, one song and dance routine is filled with deep feelings of underachievement, inadequacy, regret and animosity which takes place around the family dinner table surrounded by judgmental people and the other plays out on the Fox Television Network.
My editor regularly asserts that I seem jaded around the holidays. Quite the contrary. I fondly remember many wonderful holiday moments, like the time that I found myself holding the rites of passage torch by way of a distinguished honour in being asked to deliver the Thanksgiving dinner blessing...at age 7.
I bestowed thanks for typical items in the eyes of a normal seven year old. According to my mother, the prayer went something like this:
"Dear God, I'm thankful for my family, I'm thankful for the new shoes that Grandma got me, I'm thankful for the food today and that daddy isn't drinking and yelling at mom about money and having to be here at dinner today like he did all day long on Tuesday. Amen."
As I recall, an uncomfortable aura hung heavy in the air, swirling within the thick, decadent aroma of Turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole and candied yams. This seems to have caused dad to drink again later that evening as mom opted to sleep at my aunt's house until Sunday.
This year I find myself thankful for the little things in life. I'm thankful for my neighbor who begins her jogging routine with a stretching exercise each day between 8:05 am and 8:16 am, wearing painted-on, form-fitting spandex jogging pants. After completing a full broadcast career, I'm thankful for not having anyplace particularly to be on any given day, except between the hours of 4:00 pm and 5:00 pm when Judge Greg Mathis airs locally.
I'm also thankful for my friend Jeff, who recently helped me to complete some tedious home improvement projects.
I reluctantly recommend Jeff as a fine "catch" for the ladies. His handiness seems to leave an impressive stamp on the lady friends in his life, however, he tends to do little things which get him into trouble when he settles down with someone. He leaves the toilet seat up, tosses his laundry onto the bedroom floor, leaves dirty dishes in the sink, sleeps with numerous other women while in a relationship, etc.
I'm also thankful for the pilgrims, who fled England in order to establish a pure form of religious freedom without persecution which led to the creation of modern day American Christianity...and Alabama.
The pilgrims piled onto the boat, piloted by Captain Henry Fleischman, the only known Jewish Pilgrim, and fled their societal jail of religious oppression and socialized health care programs.
As a historical anecdote, Capt. Fleischman was not known for his stellar navigational skills, being somewhat of a moderate alcoholic. As the boat touched land in, what they thought was, America, the Pilgrims found themselves in the enchanted land of Nova Scotia.
During their stay, they restocked and took advantage of an unexpected opportunity to spread Christianity to Canada and warn them about Justin Bieber.
Being a typical man, Capt. Fleischman refused to ask for directions and boldly guided the Pilgrims south via horse and wagon. They finally ended up in the promised land of Philadelphia, where they were immediately carjacked.
After a quick tour of the Liberty Bell museum and Independence Hall, the pilgrims celebrated the first Thanksgiving dinner with their new found Native American friends at a lavish casino where they feasted on pizza and cheese steak sandwiches. Since it was an Indian reservation casino there was, of course, no alcohol...much to the dismay of Captain Fleischman.
Speaking of awkward situations...I'm also thankful for Pontchartrain Press' chief research monster and contributor, Eric from Philly.
Whenever I call on him I can always count on well thought out, accurate contribution to one of our books or articles...with a little extra.
We always communicate via text message rather than my proposed Facebook instant message suggestion. Eric somehow feels that using Facebook, as he puts it, causes one to "catch the gay."
Jim: Sorry I've been busy lately and haven't dropped you a line to see what's up. How ya' doin?
Eric: Well, my AIDS is actin' up again.
Jim: WTF? What's wrong with you??
Eric: Try telling someone that while holding your back. Even though backache has nothing to do with AIDS, the reactions are priceless!
Jim: I've heard enough. At least you picked something easy to spell. I always pick Leprosy. Actually, I think it's harder to contract Leprosy than it is to correctly spell it.
Eric: Speaking of things that are difficult to spell, that's why Chupacabra didn't make the list.
Jim: Is that covered by Obama Care?©
Eric: Not sure, but I don't believe in it.
Jim: Obama Care or Chupacabra?
Eric: Chupacabra...it's Mexican. I don't believe in Mexico.
Jim: Mexico is real, I assure you. Four Mexicans re shingled the house across the street today. BTW, I took Mexican in 8th grade. I didn't do well in that class but my teacher, Ms. Montes was hot!
Eric: I'm holding out for solid proof that mysteries would be solved in order of distance:
The Loch Ness Monster
Jim: I'm writing a Thanksgiving piece this year. Something fluffy and feel good so I can get into heaven. Anything YOU'RE thankful for?
Eric: Reese's peanut butter cups. Every year for Halloween I buy a metric shit-ton of them and, before I go to bed, I hang a "Registered Sex Offender" sign on my porch. Then, I eat them all uninterrupted.
Jim: Aaaah...Reese's, billed as the greatest, profitable retail accident in history...aside from Keanu Reeves.
Eric: I'm also thankful that I came from a different era. I'm a bit disappointed about the lack of assassinations these days though. Our parents had the Kennedy's, MLK, John Lennon, etc. On top of that, our war is lame, our music sucks our recession is one where everyone still gets a new I-phone every week...this generation is an embarrassment! So, what's your plan for Thanksgiving dinner?
Jim: Wild Turkey with cranberry juice and thoughtful reflection.
Eric: About what?
Jim: Where it all went wrong.
Eric: Cool. If you decide to eat a bullet after several drinks you should stream it with webcam. I'll save a video cap and make it my Christmas card this year. I was gonna go with a video cap of a girl I recently had sex with for the card.
Jim: What's the cap?
Eric: After we were done I realized I didn't have anything within reach so she could tidy up...towel, socks, shirt. So, I handed her a plastic grocery bag. I'm gonna title the vid cap "Happy Endings And New Beginnings." In honor of New Year's and all.
Jim: I'm sure that was a proud moment for her. BTW, you should opt for PAPER bags at the store. Now you've angered Al Gore.®
Eric: Every time I heard the crinkling of the bag I couldn't stop laughing.
Jim: What the hell is wrong with you?? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior? It's on my bucket list btw.
Eric: I don't believe in Jews.
Jim: Oy Vey...Gotta go.
Eric: Have a blessed holiday.
I suppose I have much to be thankful for, all of which escapes me at the present moment. But, suffice it to say, I'm thankful that I've never dated anyone Eric has had relations with for sure.
I'm also thankful for the Butterball Hotline ladies who have an admirable sense of humor each year when I call.
Butterball Operator: Butterball hotline, this is Carolyn, How may we assist you today?
Jim: I'm havin' a bit of trouble with this bird.
Butterball Operator: Where are you now in the process?
Jim: Fairly early actually.
Butterball Operator: What's that noise?
Jim: It's the turkey.
Butterball Operator: It's alive??
Jim: Yep. I'm on the front porch trying to kill it. I just don't have the moxie to do it. Since I don't own a hatchet, I figured a .38 caliber handgun would work. Actually I was hoping that I might be able to talk the bird into killing itself; I've never killed a creature. Since my ex-girlfriend is not available to guilt it into feelings of abysmal self worth and failure, I gave up on the turkey suicide option. My ex is in Ohio with family this week I think.
Butterball Operator: (indistinguishable talking and background laughter)
Jim: At any rate, all the neighbors seem to be on their cell phones staring over at my porch...maybe they're on with another one of your operators. I'll go see if they found any helpful information. Thanks!
I'm truly thankful for a handful of friends in my life who encourage, set examples and, otherwise, shape a fun, sometimes awkward and inappropriate, but always entertaining world in which I share with them.
It seems that I must now relinquish my "man card" after typing that...But, I still don't stop for directions, so perhaps that offsets it.
copyright Pontchartrain Press, 2013