Thankfulness

Do not see meHere in the States we're gearing up for tomorrow's holiday, which is variously known as Turkey Day, Gobble Fest, Football & Yams, or simply Thanksgiving to the traditionalists. It's our most important holiday in some ways, because (1) we get to pig out with impunity, (2) it's a lot cheaper than the holidays coming up next month, and (3) we can begin to phase into Holiday Mode without actually mortgaging our homes, which we'll be doing shortly (see #2 above).

Most of our schools have been closed this week, which gives the kids a break from homework, or in some cases the opportunity to catch up on all the homework they forgot to do before and which is now the only way to avoid flunking out entirely. For the teachers—particularly those in middle-school exile—it's a week without drama and also offers the opportunity to check into rehab, or simply stay at home and self-medicate. For parents it's a week during which to reexamine the idea of holiday camp, which is exactly like the one during the warmer months, with the same benefits of peace and tranquility.

For many, tomorrow's holiday also marks the beginning of our traditional Festival of Watts, which is where we climb ladders in an effort to attach as many colored bulbs to our houses as possible. In this way, we (1) anger our neighbors, and (2) ensure lavish gifts for the families of our local utilities executives. It's also a time for contemplation, mostly by those languishing in hospital wards after falling from said ladders while discovering the cruel truth of Ohm's Law, which states that electrical current always takes the path of least resistance, notably through wet boots and gloves.

Probably the most important aspect of this holiday, however, is the opportunity it affords to get together with our families. The long lines we endure at airports—or the endless driving to other states—seem well worth it when we're greeted by the open arms of our loved ones. Sometimes the love lasts only as long as everyone is able to sustain the fa├žade, which may be anywhere from three days to three minutes, depending on the relative level of dysfunction, and rage. Grandma Oon may be a sweet old lady to most people, but that's only because they've never seen her blow the Thanksgiving turkey to bits with a shotgun after your drunken uncle cracked wise about her culinary skills.

But at the bottom of it all lies the real reason for Thanksgiving, which is, of course, thankfulness. A plate of food isn't an option for everyone, and some people don't have a place on which to hang lights at all. For many, the concept of family is something they read about in a book—something reserved for the fortunate others. And school isn't always a safe place to gather knowledge; sometimes it's a place of fear and misunderstanding. Those of us still capable of seeing a bit of humor in tomorrow's holiday are fortunate, because there sure are a lot of people who cannot.

 

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