This post isn’t about the false education we were told about Thanksgiving when we were in school. Yes, the Pilgrims pretty much screwed themselves over in the early 1620s and are lucky they survived. The Indigenous Native Americans save their asses and the first celebration was temporarily a truce before the smallpox-infested blankets and the massacres by the American military of tribes and the Trail of Tears that would come later that we just covered up to make us look like the good guys.
But it’s no surprise, a holiday that has its roots in two sides later engaging in centuries of bloodshed has led to some of the most aggravated times for Americans. It’s almost a wonder why we celebrate this holiday since it’s full of headaches and problems. On a recent CBS Sunday Morning episode, Steven Yeun was discussing his latest movie The Humans describing Thanksgiving and he said the problem with the holiday with him is he’s seen as a son to his family.
This leads me to this first point.
You Can Never Go Home Again
Let’s face it, there’s a reason a lot of us got the hell out of the towns in which we grew up. Having to return for a Thanksgiving dinner immediately makes many of us frustrated. Many people live hundreds of miles away and don’t have the means to travel such a distance just to be treated like a 11-year-old again even if they are 34.
I’ve noticed this is a growing problem with Boomer parents. They don’t see their grown children as grown and that’s part of the problem. There’s a lot of things Boomer parents should immediately stop doing and this is one of the biggest problems. If you’re in your late 20s, 30s or even 40s, going to a dinner where all your elderly relatives still expect you to be seen and not heard is insulting.
Times have changed. You don’t have the three days off that you used to while going to school. And just because your parents had it at their last job, that was 15 years ago. The toxic work environment requires people to work on the Wednesday before, the Friday after and even the fucking Saturday because you took Thursday off. There’s no point in driving 150-200 miles for a dinner that lasts two hours, maybe three, and then have to turn around and drive back to your home, only to get up bright and early the next day to go to work.
Even if you’re visiting for longer, there’s a good possibility the bedroom you’re stayed in growing up is no longer what you think. If your family invites more people, you know the older relatives have to crash on a couch or futon so they can have your bed. And the suggestion of getting a motel or hotel room seems to offend some family. Why not? You’re only 41 and got the spouse and kids. You traveled across three or four states so your kids can hear your uncle or grandfather’s racial slurs, why not just crash on the floor with sleeping bags.
Going to Grandma’s house isn’t a thing anymore because there’s a good chance both have since deceased. Your parents have since divorced after the empty nest syndrome set in and they realized they couldn’t stand each other. They don’t need their kids making them feel better. They need to realize why no one wants to be with them.
There are some people who still closer to where they grew up or, God help them, in the same fucking towns. I can understand if you’re living in a bigger metropolitan place where highway congestion keeps your parents from thinking they can just pop in any damned time they please. This leads me to my second point.
Traditions Must And Always Do Change
In Christmas with the Kranks, Tim Allen and Jamie Lee Curtis play Chicago suburbanite yuppies who realize they spend too much fucking money on other people. Their daughter has gone off to join the Peace Corps and they decide to go get soused in the Caribbean on a cruise. Unfortunately, they live in the suburbs where you have to homeowner associations rules that make the Gestapo look like a Mr. Rogers/Bob Ross hybrid.
When their annoying daughter thinks she can surprise them with a boyfriend and expects them to go out and have the same party, even though the dumb broad told them she’d be gone for Christmas, they go into panic mode trying to make a perfect Christmas for her.
This is why people hate the holidays. These stupid traditions that need to be stopped before the kids start collecting their Social Security. And let’s face it, Thanksgiving is just a dinner. You should be able to spend it with whoever you want especially as an adult. You got a spouse or partner and they do things differently, try it out. You may like it.
Your fucking great Aunt Gertrude had 91 Thanksgivings to eat at 12:30 p.m. sharp. She needs to chillax. Not everybody needs to come see her because it might be her last Thanksgiving. There’s always someone at Thanksgiving who has to take charge and nothing can be changed.
And now someone is 29 and they’ve been seeing someone for four years and they have to do two Thanksgiving dinners on the same day because Gertrude may die at 5:30 a.m. the day after Thanksgiving. You shouldn’t be expecting people to wait until until 7 or 8 at night to eat because another family had their Thanksgiving dinner at another place earlier. This is very rude. It’s favoritism.
This goes back to what I said earlier. Parents don’t see their kids as grown adults. It’s a Boomer thing. Many Boomers were cutting the turkey and/or ham at the head of the table when they were in their mid-30s but they expect their kids to still show up and spend the whole fucking holiday weekend there where they watch The Weather Channel all the time.
Like I said, many Gen Xers, Gen Zers and Millennials don’t have the luxury of having a five-day weekend. But yet they’re expected to use two of their vacation days to visit the same awful town they spent 20 years trying to get the fuck out. And for someone who grew up in the south, there’s better vacation spots on my bucket list than Panama City Beach and Gatlinburg. Keep those PTO days for when you want to use them.
Dine And Dash
This is another problem with the holiday. Gone are the days in which some June Cleaver wrapped an apron around her waists, got up at 5 a.m. to cook a big meal for her family and friends. Like I said earlier, people have to work the day before and the day after, they don’t want to spend their only day off cooking for people who won’t even help set the tables up.
Right after they eat, they either go to sleep or turn the station to whatever foos-ball game is playing so they can spend the next three or four hours screaming at a TV set. The notion of asking people to help even in 2021 seems lost on people.
While most Thanksgiving dinners are planned with people brining a lot of items, you know almost certainly, someone is going to bring something not a lot of people are going to touch. Green bean casserole takes a lot to make. So, if you’re making it just for one or two people, you must really like them. As for mashed potatoes, you need to use Russett potatoes and a lot of butter. If you’re not using butter, it’s like unsweetened tea. Also, mashed potatoes don’t reheat well, so you’re basically making an item that will be thrown out if it’s not all eaten.
The wasting of food and time and be frustrating, especially if relatives are still living in archaic times in which women are expecting to do all the cooking and cleaning.
Black Friday Madness
Only America could come up with Black Friday, a maddening time in which we expected retailers to sell us merchandise they’ve already marked up outrageously for a “discount.” Black Friday is a capitalist nightmare. And why people are still bitching and griping about freighter ships not being unloaded in harbors, it’s just goes to show people don’t give a fuck about anyone but they’re own circle.
Yes, Thanksgiving, that day in which a bunch of immigrants came to a land they had no business claiming as their own and nearly died from illness and the elements has no become a “Gimme that! It’s mine!” level of entitlement. How many TV sets do you need? Are you possessed by the spirit Elvis Presley and feel the need to shoot the TV every time you see something you don’t like?
If you got even a four-day weekend, take the damn Friday off and rest. I remember back when the companies having the Black Friday sales used to mock how silly their customers were. Thankfully, with the Internet, people don’t have to wait out in the cold to get items they really don’t need. But again this goes back to what I was saying earlier about people who work in the retail business being forced to work.
And as people complain about stores being open on Thanksgiving, no one really has pushed back. Target has recently announced they’re going to be closed on Thanksgiving maybe for good (or for a few more years until some new management comes in and undoes it). Regardless, at least people don’t have to work on Thanksgiving, at a glorified Wal-Mart/K-Mart. I like Target too but it’s really just the lesser retail stores for MILFs in yoga pants and people who actually care a little of their appearance before heading out.
I was once at a Thanksgiving party where the host had sales papers galore and told us to go through and find something we might like. I didn’t know they expected us to stay at their house until they went out in the wee hours of the morning. I’m no dine and dash person but eventually, I just want to leave some get-togethers sooner than later.
Foos-ball Is the Devil
Thanksgiving is probably is the only holiday that is trumped by football. It totally ruins every Thanksgiving holiday weekend, especially if you’re not a fan of the sport. Not only do you have to endure people gathered around a TV with a turkey leg and gravy dripping down as they watch the Detroit Lions or Dallas Cowboys play, but it’s the peak of football playoff season at the high school or college level.
I remember when I was in school growing up I was in the marching band. I really only did it to help my extracurricular activities. I actually never did care for football or any sports. If you have a talent for music, why not use it? But it seemed the football team would always win the early rounds of the football games and then pork it during the Friday after Thanksgiving game, which was always in the same Bumblefuck Egypt Georgia town. Granted my hometown is the epicenter of that crazy psycho hose beast Marjorie Taylor Greene, but these towns only had football going for them. There were the epitome of football towns so naturally, they’d always win.
Maybe it was the fact that the football players from my alma matter were too tired from eating too much. Or maybe it was that the other team was better. The problem was we’d always sit on a bus for about 90 minutes getting there just to watch the team suck. I think my last time on the field, the band director just told us to play instead of march. Apparently, a lot of parents were able to get their kids out of going. It was the last game of the season. Everyone knew our team wasn’t going to win.
But I really didn’t care. After I graduated high school and went to Georgia Southern, they had played in Division I-AA at the time which is different than the Division I-A teams which usually compete at bowls. This one followed a playoff bracket. And Georgia Southern lost that game over Thanksgiving weekend. The oddest thing happened when I returned to campus. No one talked about it. There was no grumpy people ranting. Everyone just went about their normal class schedules to prepare for their finals. I thought maybe it was just an insolated incident.
Until I went into the journalism field. I’ll never ever, ever work for a news medium where anything has to do with football. And I mean I have gotten to the point where I am literally Kathy Bates from The Waterboy saying, “Foos-ball is the Devil!”
I hated having to go cover these playoff games during the Thanksgiving weekend that I was actually relieved when the team lost earlier in the rounds. I know it was hard on the kids who played, but I told myself they should’ve played harder. I know it’s a harsh way to think, but the towns of Americus, Ga., and Wagoner, Okla., are football towns. And to cover football in these towns, you have to be an outrageous fanatic.
What sucks is at this level, the games had to be played a neutral spot about halfway between both towns, meaning you could be on the road two or three hours one way to some bad Oklahoma town. And my supervisors wanted a story posted ASAP, which usually meant I still had to write it when I got back to my office, which was sometimes in the middle of the night. It sucked big green donkey dicks.
Worse was when it was on a Saturday and I had to still pull a five-day work week Monday through Friday. No bullshitting, but I once worked 60 hours a week because of this make-up. And I didn’t get paid much for those extra 20 hours. All those people who complain about working on Thanksgiving day or defend them don’t give a shit about how much football screws up what’s supposed to be a relaxing extended week.
It’s only a two or three day work week? A lot of people wish that was the case.
If it really was a holiday to give thanks and appreciate what we have, we’d do the same for everyone. I understand we still need people in the healthcare field or law enforcement and emergency response working, but really it’s just another divider between the haves and the haves-not. If you get a four or five-day weekend, consider yourself lucky and fortunate. There’s a lot of people out there who aren’t.
Because in America, we’ve taken what should be a simple holiday and turned it into one of the most frustrating times for people with sale items, events that could easily be rescheduled or postponed and overall frustration. We’ve made it so harder for people to even enjoy having a decent meal that doesn’t come out of a frozen box or ordered through drive-through and turned it into something more difficult than it should be.
By the time the holiday weekend is over, people are more agitated and frustrated they carry that shit through Christmas and New Year’s. I don’t know why we have to do this to ourselves, but if it’s become something we get annoyed at, why the hell do we still celebrate it?