Thursday, November 25, 2004

"Breast Ale" and Other Thanksgiving Tales

The Pilgrims drank beer for breakfast. The early American settlers faced myriad hardships upon their arrival to the New World, but water contamination was probably the most dire. Beer was the only safe liquid they had to drink because the water in it had been boiled. So, any time water was needed, they were forced to drink alcohol in lieu of it. The women even put liquor in the breast milk. We're talking 80 proof formula, here, "The Breast Milk in Town." And so goes the story of the formation of the Gerber-Jack Daniels Company.

But Thanksgiving is about so much more than booze for babes; it's about exhibiting our gratititude for our friends, families, and heritages. It's about eating until our knees can't support our weight, and we are forced to retire to the couch and watch the hideously orange-clad Chicago Bears get their sorry asses handed to them by the DALLAS COWBOYS, the very same Cowboys whose choices for quarterback include a geriatric Italian and a baseball player. Thanksgiving is about seeing people you only get to see once or twice a year. It's about sitting at the Big People Table for the first time. It's about appreciation and enjoying what you've got.

It's been a damn good day.

As a 22-year old young man, I experienced my first invitation to the Big People Table this year for Thanksgiving. Up until this year, I have spent my Thanksgivings with the other kids eating off a dirt floor in a small hut behind the house. Well, it was never quite that bad, but the wobbly card tables that have served as our dining areas are worthless. They couldn't support A-cup breasts, let alone a cup, a plate, silverware, and so on... They're about as sturdy as Jurassic Park. There's always that one leg that just refuses to stay up. You'd think a peg-legged pirate designed these godforsaken things. Regardless, they're not my problem anymore. I got to sit at a REAL table this year.

I hated it.

The adults are boring. They talk about lame things. Meanwhile in the back room, at the Leaning Card Table of Chebanse, I can hear distant rumblings of my brother making fun of my sisters. That used to be me, right there by his side, making fun of our sisters. I heaved a heavy sigh and shoveled my turkey into my mouth. Somewhat despondant and utterly discontented, I finished my meal, and tried peaking into the back room. But it was kind of like breaking up with a girl because you wished to pursue someone better, but then you realized the old girl was what you really wanted, but it's too late because you already gave broke up with the old girl. So looking back into that room, I got four "old girlfriend" stares from my siblings and cousin. Dejected, I crawled into a quiet corner of my house, mixed some applesauce with crushed sleeping pills, and was about to commit suicide until I realized that Spongebob Squarepants was on the television across the room. Spongebob is funny.

I survived the actual Thanksgiving Meal, and continued on with the rest of my evening. Kyle and I lost a movie trivia game for the first time in our lives, and the post-game interview questions were not the most fun to deal with. At one point, a reported asked my brother, "so what happened out there tonight?" Furious, he punched a reporter and threw a chair. I'm not sure if I want to make a Vibe Awards joke or a Ron Artest joke here. Both would probably suck and end up being cliche, but that's the way the cookie crumbles!

To conclude, I'd like to share a few things that I am grateful for: I am grateful for Mommy and Daddy. I am grateful for great siblings (I'm lucky to have three within three years of my own age). I am grateful that I enjoy my job and that I am running on (almost) all cylanders right now. I am grateful for great friends, and seeing Cole and He-Man this weekend are blessings! But the thing I am most grateful is inspired by the Pilgrims themselves. Several hundred years ago, they killed a turkey, deep fried it for maximum tenderness, and boiled some maize. Then, they layed out their feast and gave thanks to and for their brethren. But what toast can be accomplished without a fine ale? We raise our glasses on this day and give thanks to the early settlers for introducing the country to alcoholism.

God bless us, every one (I know that's for Christmas, but some people already have their tree and lights up, so dammit, I can use a staple holiday phrase a little early, too).

Happy Thanksgiving!

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