The Secret Life of
by Mad Dog
Thanksgiving dates back to December of 1619 when English
colonists gave thanks for their safe arrival in the Virginia Colony.
It’s in their honor that we moved the holiday to November and make
kids perform school plays about the Pilgrims.
||Now that the decade-long
2008 presidential campaign is finally over and we have a two month
window of peace, quiet, and political advertising-free TV viewing before
the 2012 campaign begins, we can turn our attention to tackling the
issues that really matter. You know, like how did the holiday season
creep up on us and how are we going to find a free trade, trans
fat-free, shade grown, free-range, preferably cost-free, vegan turkey
that will keep all of our Thanksgiving guests happy. Well, with the
exception of the one who’s heavily lobbying for KFC original recipe
which, come to think of it, is sounding like a better idea every second.
Yes, it’s Thanksgiving, the
kick-off to the holiday season. The holiday season, for those of you who
have been too busy wondering why you couldn’t vote for president by
text message since you do it for Dancing with the Stars every
week, is defined as the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s
Eve, even though it actually starts on Labor Day when the last remaining
pool toys and use-once-fall-apart Styrofoam coolers are taken off the
shelves to make room for candy canes, twinkling lights, and Santas that
wiggle the hula to Who Let The Reindeer Out? Who! Who! Who! Who!,
and lasts until the final Christmas gift is returned two days after the
exchange period has expired.
The holiday begins with watching giant over-inflated
balloons that barely fit between the buildings bob down the street in
the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and winds up with us sitting on the
couch feeling like one.
dates back to December of 1619 when English colonists gave thanks for
their safe arrival in the Virginia Colony. It’s in their honor that we
moved the holiday to November and make kids perform school plays about
the Pilgrims, who arrived in Massachusetts a year later but had much
cooler hats than the Virginia colonists, not to mention those nifty belt
buckles they wore on their shoes.
holiday begins with watching giant over-inflated balloons that barely
fit between the buildings bob down the street in the Macy’s
Thanksgiving Day Parade and winds up with us sitting on the couch
feeling like one, feigning sleep during the eighth televised football
game of the day so we don’t have to listen to Uncle Harry tell us the
“My mother swore it was a turkey but we knew it was the neighbor’s
pigeon” story for the fourth time in two hours, just as he does every
year. It’s the day when we spend five hours cooking a turkey that will
be devoured and turned into a burp in twenty minutes, the day
when—contrary to every other holiday, natural and manufactured—we
don’t even think about sending greeting cards, and most of all, it’s
the day for finalizing your Christmas shopping list, checking it twice,
then pulling out the Art of War so you can plot a strategy that
will allow you to outflank, outsmart, and outbuy everyone when you hit
the stores at 5:00 a.m. on Black Friday. You know, the day after
Thanksgiving. Or what the rest of us call a day off.
We give thanks
that we have a turkey on the table and—soon—not one in the White
But mostly, it’s a day of giving thanks. Thanks for our family and
friends, both the ones who are with us at the table and the ones we’re
glad aren’t. Thanks that the price of gas has dropped nearly in half,
even though the value of your 401(k) has too, which is why retirement
planning now consists of standing in front of a mirror saying, “Would
you like fries with that?” Thanks that they’re coming out with a
100-calorie Twinkies snack pack. Thanks that you won’t feel the least
bit guilty eating five packs in a sitting. Thanks that we have a turkey
on the table and—soon—not one in the White House. Thanks that we
live in the United States, where anyone can walk in a store and buy a
DVD of Little House on the Prairie, unlike in Finland where the
distributor didn’t want to cough up the bucks to have it rated so it
can only be sold to adults. Thanks that the election is over so the
phone doesn’t ring incessantly through dinner and your voicemail
isn’t filled with so many personal messages from Bill Clinton, Bob
from Wisconsin, and just about everyone except Spongebob asking you to
vote for their candidate, proposition, or favorite YouTube video of
Sarah Palin with her well-shod foot in her mouth that there’s no room
left for your mother to leave a message. Right, as if she would. Thanks
that Madonna is available. And you’re not. Thanks that the government
is trying to bail everyone out of the financial mess, even though they
rejected my application claiming they never heard of Amalgamated
National Mad Dog Bank and Trust. Thanks that scientists created a cat
that glows in the dark, though not half as thankful as the mice that
live in the lab. But most of all, thanks that the stores have shown
restraint and haven’t put out any Easter items as the Christmas
decorations leave shelves empty. Then again, there’s still time. It
isn’t even Black Friday yet.
©2008 Mad Dog
Productions, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
These columns appear in better newspapers across the country.
Read them while watching TV and feeling like a balloon in the Macy's
Thanksgiving Day Parade.