Thanksgiving is one of our country’s oldest and, not surprisingly, boring holidays. Basically, it’s not all that different from any other day in 21st century America: excessive eating and watching TV. I will enjoy its gravy soaked excess until my last breath. I love the home-cooked spread, news stories about people going out of their way to help others, and the day off from work in the middle of the week.
Like any holiday though, Thanksgiving brings with it certain traditions that will remain awkward no matter how much turkey and booze you consume to forget.
1. Thanksgiving Parades. I’m not sure how the first Thanksgiving parade started, but I’m guessing horrendous lip syncing wasn’t part of it. Since 1924, we’ve been subjected to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade and a handful of other televised parades that nobody’s watching except for high school band parents — sad really. Each year we get roughly two hours of Al Roker’s bad jokes in between INSERT TEEN IDOL NAME HERE, marching bands from Anytown, USA and giant balloons of Garfield and Clifford. Consider it your piece of awkward nostalgia.
If you can’t wait til Thursday, you can watch the entire thing from last year on YouTube (please don’t though).
2. The Dark History of Thanksgiving. Surprise, kids! Your grade school teacher may have left out some Thanksgiving history while you were making that construction paper Pilgrim hat. We all know the story of Squanto helping the Plymouth Pilgrims survive winter with his revolutionary corn growing technique. What you might have missed is the part about Squanto having previously been captured and sold into European slavery by Thomas Hunt. How he didn’t go Charles Bronson on their asses when he got back to the new world is beyond me. What he did do was work as a translator between the new settlers and Indian tribes, before dying of small pox along with 90 percent of the other natives in the area.
Enjoy that extra side of white guilt with your potatoes!
3. Your Weird/Annoying/Racist Relatives Are Coming For Dinner. C’mon, there’s like two people in your extended family you give a crap about, and the others might as well be carnies that you’ve tried to prevent from ever meeting your significant other. They’re all present at the dinner table: racist grandma, thrice divorced drunk uncle, uniformed 20-year-old with one year of college under his belt, etc.
4. The Detroit Lions Play. The Lions have been playing/losing this game since 1935, and the tradition continues this year against the Packers. Anybody remember that overtime loss the Lions encountered last year after the coach threw a bogus flag? I’m betting Kid Rock still cries about it at night into the boobs of whatever stripper happens to be in his bed. If watching the Lions play wasn’t depressing enough, we’re also forced to watch John Madden stuff his face before leading up to a halftime performance by whoever got knocked off The Voice that week. I can only pray to be passed out on tryptophan by then.
5. Black Friday Hordes. I like a good deal on electronics and jeans as much as the next guy, but I’m not willing to be pepper sprayed by a soccer mom for it. It didn’t use to be this way, but in this world of Gangnam Style homicides, we’re lead to believe that happiness will only come with that shiny new appliance at “too insane to be real prices!” Nothing ruins a post-Thanksgiving turnkey and stuffing sandwich like news headlines about folks getting trampled at Urban Outfitters.
And just because, here is the Hitchcock of turkey frying videos. The tension.