I think Thanksgiving sucks major butt. This makes me unpopular, because most people (including you, probably) think this particular holiday sucks minimal butt, or perhaps even no butt at all. Well, everyone is wrong. I am right. This nonsensical cholesterol festival has to go -- not because the only thing larger than America's obesity rates are Americans themselves, but because it's hackneyed, agonizing, and laden with anxiety-inducing obligation. In other words, The Holiday Formerly Known as Thursday™ sucks major butt. Here's why.
It's hard to schedule around...
Can I take Wednesday off completely? If not, what time can I totally check out on Wednesday afternoon? Do I need to be available on Thursday morning before meal-time? No one's doing anything on Friday, right? Is that a holiday too?
(This is an email to my editor that I copy/pasted into this story because he hasn't responded yet. But it's all totally relevant to my point, too.)
... but you're still expected to travel. Far.
Like so many non-native New Yorkers, I hail from somewhere else. Somewhere far. Somewhere called North-Central New Jersey. Have you ever seen Penn Station on the Wednesday night before Thanksgiving? It's like that scene from I Am Legend, multiplied by that scene from World War Z, divided by your happiness, and raised to the power of eleventy-bajillion grumbling Garden Staters. You could do one -- no, several -- murders in the middle of that seething horde of baggage-draggers and no one would ever know because it's f*cking Thunderdome in there.
Turkey is like non-alcoholic beer: it'll fill you up, but you'll hate yourself.
All this sounds like whining, because it is whining. But here's where it gets crazy: that unbridled sh*t circus is still way, Way, WAY better than most folks' Thanksgiving travel plans. Some people have to drive hundreds of miles. Other people even fly at this time, the most voluminous travel moment of the year. (Those people are masochists.) The point is, people go farther than I do, and it sucks for them. "During the six-day Thanksgiving travel period, the number of long-distance trips (to and from a destination 50 miles or more away) increases by 54 percent," reports the US Department of Transportation. Translated into normal-person terms, that means "Why the hell do I have to cross half the country twice in under a calendar week to eat dry bird and drink with intentionally estranged friends?!?" Which brings me to my next point...
Your family wants to see you
No offense to people who don't have families of their own. That legitimately sucks and I don't mean to disregard your struggle to find firm footing in this ever-changing world. I am lucky enough to have a family, and they are beautiful creatures of light and truth who have supported my dumb "hopes" and "dreams" every step of the way. So no offense to them either. But everyone has their horror stories, and the reality is that, as different people, your family members have different interests. This is why you moved out of the house to begin with (if you still live with your parents, no offense to you either). So you may find yourself locked in an interminable conversation about the Middle East, or the price-hike on cauliflower at the local grocery store, or worst of all: your hopes and dreams... and why you aren't making swift progress towards their accomplishment.
Wednesday at the bar: torturously awkward
Let's say you went home on Tuesday night because your editor answered your email and was all, "Sure, take the week, bro!" By Wednesday afternoon, you'll have spent nearly 24 hours in close proximity to your parents, which, for reasons outlined above, means you'll need a breather. And alcohol. Mostly that, actually. So you'll call up your high school friends, who have also returned home for this compulsory butt-sucking affair. But here's the thing -- you don't really talk to your high school friends anymore, and as it'll turn out, you won't really have much in common to talk about. Again: alcohol. So onward to the one bar in town, to participate in the only annual American tradition worse than spending eleventy-bajillion dollars on the defense budget: Thanksgiving Eve.
Your friends will use dumb hashtags, like #reunitedanditfeelssogood.
Thanksgiving Eve is the night that you'll run into every single person you knew for the first 18 years of your life. Baggage-draggers of a totally different sort. Obviously, the funny rom-com way of dealing with this would be, yet again, alcohol. But your life isn't a rom-com. This is real life, and in it, the bar is insanely, morbidly packed with all those horrible people. You'll get two whiskey-gingers over the course of three hours and realize you can't hear anything your friends (barely) have said. Then you will call your Dad to have him pick you up because your town's only cab service is pulling triple-duty ferrying home all the other people who had the exact same experience. This will go down as the darkest, most miserable night of your year. Yet, you'll do it again next year anyway. The alternative is arguing about Syria with your uncle, who was in the National Guard and has necked way more than two whiskey-gingers.
Football scheduling is all screwy
If you don't care about football, this is your nightmare, because that's all you're watching all day. If you do care about it, this is also your nightmare, because once you get past the imminent maul-show that is Lions-Bears, you've got two impossible hurdle games to handle. First up is Eagles-Cowboys at 4:30pm, which would be a great match-up if it didn't kick off smack in the middle of feasting. To those of you in less important timezones than the Eastern Standard, and who do catch the game: I defy any of you to look at Jerry Jones' eyelids for more than three seconds without vomiting. Then you've got Seahawks-Niners at 8:30pm. My East Coast-centric ass isn't staying up for more than half of that game because I just took a week's worth of food straight to the facehole, and if I'm in a food coma, nothing you're doing matters. Speaking of which…
The food is (mostly) terrible
My Mother is an excellent cook (#blessed), but as Guy Fieri probably wrote somewhere in his actually-good cookbook, a cook is only as good as his/her ingredients. And no matter what you do to turkey, it's still the non-alcoholic beer of caged fowl. It'll fill you up, but you'll hate yourself. But don't take it from me -- take it from Chrissy Teigen, a beautiful person with whom I apparently have much in common:
See?! I didn't even know she felt that way. But she does, and it is. Now, stuffing is unassailable in its excellence -- even I can admit that. Commandeer as much of it as possible, because there's never enough, and this is war. Cranberry sauce isn't bad, but you don't miss it 364 days a year, so is it good? Chew on that. You know what not to chew on? Anything else on the table, because it's just going to get in the way of dessert, which is the only truly good component of this godforsaken meal.
Conversations about tryptophan still happen
Please. No more. We've been doing this for over a decade. It is no longer news. It's barely even fact. Just stop.
Remember how much you hated yourself after O'Doulsing all that bird? That was when it was hot. Now there's eleventy-bajillion pounds of turkey sitting in your parents' fridge, and no one is allowed to consume anything else until it's all gone. Welcome to hell.
Black Friday is a lethal sh*t parade
Remember how I was joking about the relative ease of doing murders amidst Penn Station’s Thanksgiving throngs? For the record: I was. But Black Friday is anything but a joke, because actual people actually die on it, trampled to a pulp beneath the merciless feet of the deal-seeking hoi polloi. It’s easy to become desensitized to this story because it happens pretty much every year, so again: holiday shoppers hunting half-priced juicers get the life squeezed right out of them. These deals are not “to die for”, and yet people become dead anyway. That’s pretty messed up, you guys. Why do we celebrate a “shopping holiday” when it’s a grotesque parody of consumer culture (at best), and a lethal sh*t parade at worst? We sure as hell shouldn’t. BAN CAPITALISM! (Kidding… or am I? I am.)
The Monday After
Hey there! The weekend is over and you're back at work (unless you don't have a job, in which case: no offense). The butt-sucking has come full circle, and you are miserable. But guess what?! Someone in your office is going to be impossibly chipper. Most likely, this is due to the fact that this person was smart and didn't go home, opting instead to see his/her family over the Christmas holiday that's coming up in three weeks. But anyway, this bright-eyed coworker will probably be glad to tell you about all the #uhmaze #deals available on the biggest e-commerce holiday of the year. You will have no money because you just bought an insanely expensive train/plane ticket, and are therefore unable to participate. Bummer, dude.
Being lavishly public about your thankfulness on social media
Throughout this postmodern frightfest, everyone you know will take to social media, where they will diarrhea saccharine humblebraggy photos all over your feed. They will use dumb hashtags, like #reunitedanditfeelssogood. They will generally behave in an entirely predictable and vexing manner, and it will make you wonder: do people actually enjoy this? Am I just a tremendous curmudgeon on whom fellow-feeling & compassion are lost? Will I ever find firm footing in this ever-changing world?
Actually, this is just what I end up wondering after Thanksgiving. Take it from me: it sucks major butt.