Thanksgiving: For What It’s Worth

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Published on November 24, 2014

Full disclosure, and I think a lot people can in one way or another agree or connect with this, Thanksgiving at my home every year is nothing more than a straight shit show that usually by its end has utterly evolved, or devolved, into absolute Hell on Earth.

This is not to say Thanksgiving is in itself a bad or unnecessary holiday, its just to say that it very well might bring a whole lot more tension to the table than food, that is also placed on it is actually worth and at my home is not just the one Thursday in November; oh no, at my home it is a vicious cycle that starts a week ahead of the actual celebration, if by the end you can even call it that and not a traumatic experience with really good food.

For me the terror begins a week in advance and always starts the same.  I’ll be gracefully walking through the halls of my home with no other motives or goals other than to make it to the downstairs bathroom. I’ll have opened the door, turned on the light and just nearly inches before I have closed the door behind me I hear the unearthly shriek, “Noooo!”. I then fall victim to the timeless speech of “I just cleaned that” and “it needs to be perfect for next week” and that ends with “don’t you dare you use it!”

For the next few days that follow I find myself always needing to remind myself to use only the designated latrines even when it is inconvenient and constantly paranoid and stressed to the point where I must look over my shoulder as to not let the parental unit find out I am doing my best to break this rule of the season.

After a week of this agony and discomfort the anointed Thursday of every November arrives and the real problems begin. It always seems to come to the attention of both my mother and grandmother after everything has been cooked or in the final process of cooking they have forgotten something; and of course if upon that moment my father does not immediately run out and retrieve this always pointless and forgettable ingredient, he will, according to my mother, “Ruin everything today!”

He does not argue back, he does not bicker or refuse, as his exhaustion and loss of will to fight or bring reason to this world has brought him to the pinnacle of pure apathy; he simply nods and carries on, leaving a son to think, “God help this man.”

Then comes the arrival of the greater family from all over Connecticut. You would think that a holiday which is centered around the idea of being thankful for what you have would bring out the best in people, but when you put  a bunch of people in a room together who have nothing left to prove to one another and don’t care what they think of one another and will say it out loud, you quickly realize people just don’t give a damn. Upon arrival Grandpa and Uncle Dan fight over who gets the reclining chair in the living room, Uncles Paul and Teddy discuss politics with one convinced the Illuminati runs the world while the other believing it is a society of Lizard people.  All of my aunts gossip and argue over who gets Christmas Eve and Day to host and of course all my little cousins run around the house freely and unrestrained, screaming and yelling as they play whatever game that is not tag or hide and seek, but thought up through a horrifying sugar high.

When everyone is settled in there is not much for us to do before we eat except talk or in all honesty, yell. Unlike most families football is not what is playing at my home every Thanksgiving, but instead the marathons of the entire Godfather film series on AMC is what we watch. From the time everyone arrives until the moment they leave the channel does not change, the volume is not lowered and The Godfather is the only thing to watch and hopefully drown out all the real fighting that is going on. It makes me wonder if watching members a family on T.V. kill one another in very violent fashion acts as an outlet of anger for my family so we don’t end up turning on one another.

After six and half hours of The Godfather, finally everything is ready and we can all begin to eat. It becomes a free for all of who gets what of the bird and how much of what else there is. Of course I must mention that there is never just one turkey but  actually two–as you learn when living in a house with a six foot eight inches tall, 260 pound giant you call “Dad,” you’re gonna need a lot more food just so you can compensate him and everyone else. By the end of the meal there are still always some left overs, but then begins the battle of who is going to actually take all of it home as no one wants to be the one with all the uneaten food crowding their refrigerator when they are home. “No, please take it!!” my mother repeatedly pleads to my unwilling aunts while my uncles try to convince them to accept.  Soon another argument that didn’t need to happen has already begun that leaves a bad taste in everyone’s mouth and in a grumpy mood as they leave the house.

This year I won’t have to endure all the bickering and arguing amongst my loved ones as I will being working and unable to attend the chaos at home. I’ll be avoiding all the tension and stress of having to take sides, being careful of what I take to eat, worrying about changing the channel of the T.V., and the horrible shrieks of my Mother for using the bathroom. And the truth is… I’m sad I’m gonna be missing all of it.