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Thanks, Thanksgiving

Done. Dusted. Plate licked clean. Just as fast as it came along, Thanksgiving now recedes into the past like F. Scott Fitzgerald’s boats against the current. Unnecessary literary allusions aside (and didn’t the Baz Luhrmann version just suck?), not only did it make the stomach ache, it also made the mind think.

Being from the land of Harry Potter and David Beckham’s right foot (and David Beckham’s left foot, come to think of it), it’s not very easy to find holidays in the US that are connected positively with being British, and that is obviously our fault. Let’s face it, we were awful. Nevertheless, I find it extraordinary that there is universal acceptance and affection for a holiday that is, at first glance, so sullied by its history. Then of course one remembers that the founding fathers were essentially saying “Thank the Lord we got the hell out of there” and it all makes much more sense.

It is, frankly, an awesome holiday. This is clearly a regurgitation of pretty much every conversation that I’ve wandered into in the past ten days, but it is. It’s like Christmas but without the admin! Hurrah! You get the food, family (though this feels like exponentially less of a plus as the days wear on), time off work, an excuse to ignore Field 2 prep, projects, term bills, exercise, personal hygiene (just me?), and the chance to treat the gin like it has offended you in some way and the only reasonable punishment is to imbibe it. All of it.

Seriously, you eliminated the downsides of Christmas! You don’t have to do all that tree-based shenanigans (don’t even get me started on the needles all over the floor – it just kills my vacuum cleaner). You don’t have to go and embarrass yourself by singing in public. You don’t have to demonstrate your yearly progression towards social and familial ostracism by panic-buying presents that not only mean you don’t understand the person you’re buying for, but also convey the message that you actively despise them in some way: “Peanut chocolates!! I love them! …. Although, you do remember I’ll get a Grade IV anaphylactic shock and die in a pool of frothy saliva if I open this bag, right?” Ordeal-free gluttony is so much more sensible a way to go.

Nevertheless, there is a fairly singular incongruity between the events of the Thursday and Friday. The orgy of consumerism that exploded all across the ceiling on Friday morning was pretty frightening. What the hell was that? Watching that video of Wal-Mart in North Carolina recalled World War Z, or 28 Days Later. Zombies moving really fast, basically. At least the movie zombies have an excuse! They no longer possess their critical faculties! They act on instinct to gorge on human flesh! Trampling, shooting, punching, gouging, and otherwise assaulting your fellow man in order to get your $100-discounted-TV, without the zombie excuse, should be a cause for serious concern.

In any case, let’s not allow this to spoil it. It’s a holiday that inspires Americans to help the dispossessed through food drives, that encourages them to open their homes to people from faraway lands and not berate them for their colonial past, that gets families together from wherever they may be through some of the worst traffic imaginable. It is a holiday that speaks to your best nature – kind, loving, uncomplicated, reflective, fun. I for one am thankful I got to experience a Thanksgiving on good ol’ American soil.

December 9, 2013
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