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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

Be a patriot: spike your thanksgiving turkey

Published: November 18, 2005
Section: Arts, Etc.

November once again comes to a close. We say goodbye to it with puffy eyes and a tear dripping down our noses, because by this point in the year it is way too cold not to suffer from constant outpourings of perpetual nose-drool as I do. I dont know about you, but I for one can quench the thirst of several small nation-states such as Monaco and Djibouti with the volume of nose-drool my glands synthesize every day.

And yet, there is something else that is intimately connected with the end of Novembermore intimately, even, than nose-drool itself. This, I know, is hard to believe, but we must accept this fact with candor. All who are hungry come and eat! Thanksgiving approaches! Plug your nose and dont drool on the turkey.

Thanksgiving is a holiday that is unnecessarily confusing to many, mostly due to the fact that it never falls out on the same date. This is markedly unlike nonconfusing holidays such as Christmas, New Years Day, The Day After New Years Day, The Day After That, Groundhog Day, and April 31st. For example, Christmas always falls out on December 25th every year without fail. This is because the date of the first Christmas was impeccably documented. Say, if you were to go back in time to Judea during the very first Christmas and ask some random guy on the street what the date was, hed inevitably tell you, Its December 25th, 0000 you numskull! Where the heck have you been? We just started the common era! You would then proceed to feel like an idiot, wallow through Jerusalem head down in a sunken posture, and bump into an impetuous Roman legion that would sever most of your limbs for not watching where you walk.

Thanksgiving, though, does not follow this logic. It had to be a prissy little holiday and fall out on the last Thursday of November every year, a date that continually changes. As a result, nobody ever knows when Thanksgiving actually is, which leads to mass panic and riots every year, maybe. I mean, if I were you, Id riot. It seems like the only right thing to do in this situation, especially when our government cant even decide on a single date for its own holiday.

The reason for this is one fold. It is this: During the first Thanksgiving, the Indians, who did a lot of drugs back then during their worshiping ceremonies, spiked the Turkey with peyote. The pilgrims got so messed up that nobody could remember the date anymore. The only thing they knew was that it was probably a Thursday, and that The Spiked Turkey would be a great name for a strip club. That is why, to this day, nobody really knows the date of the first Thanksgiving.

None of this historical jargon, though, solves any of our problems. When, indeed, is Thanksgiving, and how can we ever know when it actually happens? In order to figure this out, a few simple rules must be considered, and then probably thrown out because theyre too complicated. Regardless, one can use these simple rules to calculate the date of any future Thanksgiving from the present day until the extinction of turkeys.

Rule Number One: If the 26th of November falls out on any day between Thursday and the previous Tuesday, Thanksgiving will probably occur somewhere between the 22nd and the 30th.

Rule Number Two: If its December and you havent celebrated Thanksgiving, there is an 85% chance that it already happened, and that if fell out on a Thursday.

Rule Number Three: If the last Thursday of November happens to fall out on a Sunday, there is no Thanksgiving for that particular year.

Now, many of you may be scratching your heads. I recommend a moisturizer to help alleviate head itching. Some of you, though, will assume forthright that I have no idea what Im talking about. Nothing could be further from the truth. On the contrary! I have a fairly good idea that what Im talking about doesnt make much sense.

As for what happens on Thanksgiving itself, if one is ever able to figure out when it even takes place, there is much to consider. In essence, Thanksgiving is really about giving praise to the Almighty Whoever He May Be by testing the boundaries of American profligacy. This is because God thrives off of wastefulness, or so Im told by my own crack team of theological researchers I put together yesterday. Not all of them wanted to be part of the team, per se, or even understood what I was telling them to do, but in the field of theological research, it doesnt matter whether or not you know what youre talking about. What matters is the quality of your stage presence and propensity to scare people by telling them theyre going to Hell.

The holiday begins with a feast attended by a mass agglomeration of family members that dont even know each other in the slightest, at an agreed upon place (usually the house of a fourth or fifth cousin you never knew existed), at a preordained timesometimes Thanksgiving, unless Thursday falls out on a Sunday again or everyone missed it. Everyone says hi, apologizes for not keeping in touch with you this past year, asks you your name, how youre doing in school, and you tell them youre failing out while they stare at the food with eyes more glazed than the turkey itself, clearly not paying attention to anything youre saying.

Sooner or later, all attendees realize that the fact that you all had a common great great aunt that lived in Romania in the 1850s does not make them care about you enough to keep talking to you at the expense of wasting valuable eating time. This is when everyone simultaneously converges on the turkey with only the most optically fit surviving the battle with the reflective glaze long enough to start carving the thing. The rest of the family is on the floor, temporarily blinded by the turkey glaze, groping for the nearest table-leg in hopes that they can climb up and find the turkey once again. You might recognize this as the fifth principle of Darwinian Evolutionary TheoryOnly the Strong Survive to Eat Turkey.

You may ask what any of this has to do with giving thanks. You may be ignorant as well. Any real American knows that the actual thanksgiving only takes place long after the meal, during the football games. Allow me to illustrate:


Dont let this cursory description of Thanksgiving be exhaustive. What I have just described here is merely the typical family Thanksgiving celebration. I have left out many other versions, one of which I will quickly mention here. It is the Thanksgiving celebration of the diehard American patriots who settle for nothing less than full reenactment of the historical Thanksgiving that took place in 1620. True patriots that they are, they spike the Turkey with a full complement of Indian hallucinogens until they no longer know what the date is. All patriotic family members than share in the patriotic expression of violently seizing on the floor.

No need to worry. They still know its a Thursday.