Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. There is time for family bonding, no school, a ton of delicious food, a parade, no school, time to watch TV, no school, and, best of all, a Thanksgiving Day parade of delicious food on TV so you can bond with your family while watching it because there is no school.
Is that all Thanksgiving means to us today? Has it become commercialized and fattening, just like every other holiday save Halloween, which is commercialized, fattening, and ludicrous? No, of course not. Thanksgiving has maintained an air of dignity throughout it all. Haha. Who are we kidding? It certainly has.
It used to be that if you wanted a good feast on Thanksgiving, you would have to put in some elbow grease. And I mean that literally—the Pilgrims didn’t have any other type of grease to cook with back in the day.
You had to load up your rifle, bow and arrow, or cannon, and go out to actually hunt down a turkey. Now this isn’t hard, because a Turkey is essentially a walking, feathered, gobbling entrée. It doesn’t fly and it’s got a huge body, so it’s difficult to miss, even with a cannon.
But still, in the 17th century, when you killed that turkey, you felt the connection to nature. You had turkey guts all over your arms (hand gloves were not invented until the global cooling scare of the 1700s, which spurred the 18th century world into action, increasing carbon dioxide emissions to prevent an ice age).
Today, you just walk into a supermarket and pick up a turkey. The thing I want to know is: is it a turkey? Few of us have ever seen a turkey other than this plastic-wrapped hunk of bird at the supermarket. Most of us can’t picture a turkey outside of the two-dimensional clichéd one with a hat. For all we know, the supermarkets are giving us large chickens, or guinea pigs, or something.
The point is that the meal is too easy. You can buy mashed potatoes already mashed. You don’t have to grow your own corn. Thanks to advancements in genetically engineered farming, your pumpkin grows from its seed into an already-labeled can! What more can you ask, for the entire meal to come frozen, awaiting bombardment of radioactive particles in a microwave? Then I’ve got news for you.
The people at the first Thanksgiving were very close to nature. They were so close, in fact, that the entertainment largely consisted of watching people vomit up the meal, since the turkey had been served raw and the pumpkins had been eaten whole.
Nowadays, all you’ve got are examples of greedy corporate infiltration, via TV advertising and the NFL. Sure, you’ve got the almost-historically-accurate Cowboys versus Redskins game, but think about it: Patriots versus Jets? Sure, it’s very realistic to have the American Patriots (who were probably too busy having tea parties to bother with a Thanksgiving meal) fight not one, but multiple Boeing 747s starting in 1621.
But wait—there’s more corporate entertainment! In between plays of those same football games, you can watch 30-second clips of smiling people waking up at 2 AM to go to sales. The commercials show you a few reasons to go to the sales: one, who needs sleep when you can buy a coffee-maker 40% off; two, you can increase your chances of being trampled to death if you attend; and three, well, the people in the commercial are obviously very happy, meaning that you’ll find joy in getting no sleep, waking up still full enough to explode, and driving to a store with 700 other dangerously-full sleep-deprived people, any one of whom could mentally snap and strangle someone at any moment.
Just getting to your Thanksgiving destination has become a journey not to be undertaken by the faint of heart, the young, the old, the clueless, the lazy, the weak, the frail, or anyone with a last name of “Bieber.”
In 1621, the most you would need is a horse, some sort of path, and a saddle with some really good shock absorbers. It was a simple journey to whatever your destination was, and although you could die of cholera or hypothermia on the way, it was quite tranquil.
Not so today. You must follow a strict set of travel regulations, and you must also plan for your plan to be “slightly” delayed in the range of 6-19 hours. If you’re driving, then it’s slightly better, but you’re more likely to get lost. Thankfully, few pilots confuse airports with tennis courts, although it does happen.
In 1621, at the first Thanksgiving, I’m sure that the attendees had a crazy good time. Or at least I’m sure that they would have, if having a “crazy good time” wasn’t against their religious customs.
In retrospect*, though, I’m thankful that we’ve progressed from the original Thanksgiving. After all, you’ll notice I never mentioned dessert, which is the only thing (aside from the whole “no school” part) that really matters. That’s because our desserts are undoubtedly much better than the sweet-tasting tree bark and maggots, which used to be the only option.
*or circumspect. Or prospect. I have no idea what any of these words mean, but one of them sounds right when placed there.
So, for whatever reasons, be thankful for something this Thanksgiving. Sure, that’s the first time that idea has been introduced in this post, but you’re probably so used to hearing it that you didn’t notice until I mentioned it. So, I’ll say it again: velociraptors make good chefs. Okay, fine, I didn’t say that previously either. You caught me that time.
I might as well end it where we started: Thanksgiving is a wonderful holiday. You just have to be able to look past the fact that it is nothing like it used to be.
But maybe today’s Thanksgiving isn’t completely changed. We still preserve certain mealtime traditions, as explained in “Our Thanksgiving Traditions Come From Teens,” published at Thanksgiving of last year. Why a turkey? And how did anyone come up with stuffing? All that–and more–is revealed.