As the wonderful time of turkey slaughter is here, I’ve noticed that people are concerned that the spirit of Thanksgiving has somehow been twisted. With hashtags like #clapback, it’s evident to me that many believe that the true meaning of this holiday has been shrouded by discord, veiled insults, and familial betrayal. Well, I’m here to tell you that those people are wrong. Thanksgiving tradition has never been so alive. In order to prove that, I will recount what happened at the First Thanksgiving.
Something like 35 million years ago, in order to escape religious persecution, a group of people came to America in small rafts made with stale baguettes, Elmer’s glue, and some rope. After arriving at Plymouth, they soon realized that they wouldn’t survive by just chewing on whatever rafts were left. Even worse, the raft that had held all the farmers and botanists collapsed midway across the Atlantic. In hindsight, grouping them all together was a rather stupid idea, but Arthur, who had a way with words and a grudge against the agriculturally gifted, insisted. And now, the pilgrims were starving.
Thankfully, the nearby Wampanoag tribe of Native Americans decided to not let them starve. They were hesitant at first because they’ve been hearing rumors that other raft-people were claiming ownership of the land, stealing resources and just generally being assholes. But they felt bad letting even potential assholes starve, so the Wampanoag tribe helped the Plymouth pilgrims with their crops. After a successful harvest of bacon-wrapped asparagus, oven-roasted turkeys, and Kraft mac and cheese, the pilgrims and Native Americans sat down together for a plentiful feast, giving thanks for the food, survival, and newfound friendships.
Except for Arthur. He died of mysterious circumstances.
Most reiterations of this First Thanksgiving ends here. However, in doing so, these retellings are missing the core traditions that make Thanksgiving so special. They are forgetting that soon after the pilgrims learned all that they could about living on the land, they proceeded to drive the Native Americans from their homes, kill those who stayed, and claim the land as their own. They handed out smallpox blankets for good measure. You know, to be thorough.
You can just imagine how tense it was at that first Thanksgiving dinner. How the pilgrims seemed to put an unnecessary emphasis whenever they commented on how fertile their land was or how they rolled their eyes and muttered under their breaths when passing the mashed potatoes. Or how they gave purposefully vague answers when asked about the pile of blankets people kept coughing on.
So you see, when your uncle declares loudly how successful his son is while staring pointedly at poor, unemployed you, or when your grandmother advises you to try to avoid drowning everything in gravy, all they’re doing is carrying on the long-held traditions of disparaging the ones around the dinner table. Contrary to popular belief, barely disguised contempt of those who are supposed to be your friends and family is a treasured custom of Thanksgiving and should be welcomed with open arms and a solid understanding of property laws. Don’t take it personally and fire back with allusions to your cousin’s impotence and whisper loudly of retirement homes around your grandmother. They’ll be proud of your celebration of the Thanksgiving spirit.
Just be careful, should you stay overnight at a relative’s, of the blankets they give to you.
All jokes aside, I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with wonderful food and even better company. Despite my cynicism, I know I have a lot to be thankful for. I made a list of just some of them.
- My family.
- My friends.
- The last bit of food on the plate that everyone else refuses to take.
- The used book section at the nearby Barnes and Noble.
- No heavy snow yet.
- Honeycrisp apples.
- Airplanes and their individual TV screens for each passenger.
- My plethora of Boston College gear.
- The growing support for the legalization of marijuana.
- When my phone battery is about to die, but I’m just able to reach a charger in time so that I don’t have to turn my phone back on like a loser.
- Racism being over since 2008 when Obama was elected.
- You, for reading my blog.