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If you're reading this blog, you've made it through another American Thanksgiving. Since many of my readers are outside of the U.S., however, I thought I'd explain what yesterday was all about.
We call the holiday "Thanksgiving" because it is based on a myth about early European settlers in America wherein the punch line is that they "give thanks." The story goes that a boatload of religious freaks who were run out of their homeland for pestering people with their intense self-loathing and superstitious nonsense, landed on this continent and built some cabins or whatever. The local inhabitants were all like, "Whatever, it's cool, there's plenty of space and resources for everyone. Just don't be douches about it."
When winter came, they all nearly froze and starved and the local natives felt sorry for them and helped them out. Then, when spring came, they decided to celebrate their survival with a modest meal with their kind benefactors, but it took them all the way until the next autumn to get around to doing it for some reason.
But then later the religious freaks did, in fact, become douches, as religious freaks almost always most certainly will, and they killed off almost all of the natives on the continent so they could steal their land and get rich and celebrate their "good fortune" each and every year for centuries to come. And what better way to celebrate such a humble story of survival and compassion than with a gut-gorging, bacchanalian orgy of fat- and cholesterol-injecting, artery-clogging, cardiac-inducing, gluttony? Millions of innocent birds are genetically modified, incarcerated, and brutally butchered to celebrate a handful of oatmeal salesman's good fortune 400 years ago. Sure. Of course.
For my foreign readers, the typical American Thanksgiving Day goes something like this:
Kids awaken and watch a parade on TV with gigantic balloon characters (representing products you can buy) floating above an alarmingly overweight crowd of Americans. Females are in the kitchen preparing far more food than their family and guests can possibly eat safely, males are watching football on TV. Food is served, large table full of already overweight people eat enough food to embarrass Henry VIII, family members argue, men nap, women clean and wrap leftovers, America increases its lead as fattest nation in the world.
You would think this would be scheduled for a Friday, to give people two days to heave, medicate, and sober up before having to go back to work, but instead, it is on a Thursday, forcing many uncomfortably flatulent and hungover Americans to suffer through another day of work before the weekend. Historians believe this is a remnant of the "self-loathing" part of the original oatmeal salesmen who started all of this.
Those who do not have to work on Friday, go to stores to make the gluttony and conspicuous consumption of Thanksgiving look like child's play compared to the supernatural uber-consumerism that will take place for the next solid month in honor of the birth of a Jewish magician two millennia ago.
I hope you found this brief historical account both entertaining and enlightening. Please direct your complaints to the comments section below. Happy holidays. : )