Happy Thanksgiving! I know that many of you are very busy and/or really depressed today. Some of you are alone, and many, many more of you desperately wish that you were. So, rather than tax you with a challenging or insightful essay, I thought I’d take this opportunity to clean up my inbox and answer a few of the questions that people have asked me recently.
By this time of day, I’m supposed to be basting the turkey for the fifth or sixth time so it will be golden and delicious in time for our Thanksgiving feast. But I haven’t even defrosted it yet, because I spent all of yesterday watching Benny Hill and drinking the rum I bought to make rum raisin bread pudding. (I also ate all the raisins, which is a separate problem.) So now I have eleven guests coming in a matter of hours, and all I have to offer them is 22 pounds of solid turkey ice. I can’t even get the bag off. I think I may still actually be drunk. I’m so ashamed. What can I do?
Signed, Filled With Regret
Dear Filled With Regret,
Lucky for you, I’m an avid historian, so I can save your sorry hide with my expertise! It’s a little known fact that turkeys aren’t even an authentic Thanksgiving main course, so it’s actually quite acceptable to serve something else. Forget that boring old bird. Instead, call yourself a purist and dish up what the original Pilgrims probably had for their main course: a couple of juicy wild eagles. If no eagles are available, swan is an acceptable substitute. Just don’t forget the traditional eel-and-poopberry compote for a side dish. And they drank hot tar from wooden cups. Hope this helps, and bon appétit! Or should I say (since French had not yet been invented in Pilgrim times), Huzzah!
I’m eleven months old. My mother is fairly useful, and I’ve gotten accustomed to her smell. She can even be kind of funny sometimes, like with that noise she makes when I grab her lips and twist them around. But she has one really bad habit, and I don’t know if I can tolerate it anymore.
Sometimes, when I’m awake, she puts me down. On the floor. For minutes at a time. She does this even though she knows perfectly well that the floor is a completely inappropriate and demeaning location for someone of my social standing (I basically run the household). Also, it’s harder to bite her nose when she’s not holding me. I’m at my wit’s end. What do you suggest?
P.S. Also, she sometimes tries to put socks on me. Socks, in November! How am I supposed to deal with this level of idiocy?
The main thing you need to keep in mind is that your mother really loves you and is trying her best, but that, because of the demands of her current schedule, she has the physical prowess and mental acuity of a damp Kleenex. She knows, deep in her heart, that putting you down is the wrong thing to do, but she feels that she can’t help herself.
What she needs is someone to help snap her out of her pathetic, self-pitying state. Have you tried screaming? If that doesn’t work, have you tried screaming more? I really think you should try screaming, followed by some more screaming. Good luck!
P.S. Don’t forget that thing you do, where you put your little head down and then look up with your big, brown eyes. Once she reassembles herself from the puddle she instantly becomes when she meets your gaze, she will want to pick you up, because you are a cutie wootie wootie, oh yes you are, and Mama loves you very much, oh yes she does.
We’re having relatives over for Thanksgiving. We are polar opposites on just about every issue, and every other year, the feast quickly devolved into a screaming match, and everyone went home furious. Grandmama has convinced us to patch things up and get together again this year. We’ve already agreed not to talk about politics, but there are so many other divisive topics of conversation. How can I be sure that we will have a peaceful and pleasant day?
William Makepeace Crackery
Don’t underestimate the healing properties of just the right menu. Here are a few recipes that might just do the trick, and will give you the happy, quiet holiday your battered soul needs.
Leaving the office in a few minutes. Will meet you at Mom’s. Thanks for making all eleven kinds of pie. It’s so much easier to choose which one I want when I can actually see them, you know? Oh, some guy was selling puppies out of his trunk, so I picked up a few. You’re so good with words — you can name the one with bowel problems. See you soon!
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In order to avoid being placed on a permanent block list, please reconfigure your message so that it includes no puppies, and more gin.
[This post originally ran at the National Catholic Register in 2012.]