Fat and Freaked Out on Turkey Day

Then we're all agreed: Thanksgiving came along at exactly the right moment this year.

After the widespread anxiety and heaving uncertainty of recent events we needed a warm fuzzy holiday, an excuse to gather with loved ones around big tables creaking beneath the weight of carb-laden comfort food. A turkey so mammoth it could be mistaken for a succulent Great Dane flipped on its back. A trough of beets, yams pyramided to the ceiling, a bushel basket of dinner rolls, a full carrier group of gravy boats, giblets galore and a pumpkin pie topped with a dollop of mincemeat pie.

We strap forks to the wrists to prevent a crippling attack of carpal tunnel and windmill in the grub. There's no stopping until we hit tablecloth and then we suck the stains from our napkins. It is a frenzy that would mortify hyenas.

Afterwards, we shower the cook with praise and unbutton pants to let blood circulate to our throbbing digestive tracts. And right there, in that quiet moment as we begin to slip into a languorous stupor, that's when we have our Norman Rockwell epiphany.

We do a quick inventory of the familiar faces surrounding us, a Scorsese-style 360 degree slow pan around the room. Here are the most important people in our world, the people we cherish above all others. Our. Loved. Ones.

How is it then, that with seemingly no effort on their part, they still manage to drive us right straight up the freakin' wall?!

With just a well-remembered gesture or tone or phrase or inflection in the voice, they totally punch our buttons, torque us off and push us to the brink. They make us crazy! Grrrr! Which leads to the next question: just what kind of brain-numbing snake oil was that huckster Rockwell peddling anyway?

It's not supposed to be like this. United we stand, we're in this together, never go against the family, yada yada yada. Pundits are practically beating us over the head with the new post-terrorism tight-knit family unit. Oprah, Rosie and The View chicks all swear by it.

Is it us then, is it our problem? Why can't we achieve some higher level of squishy tolerance? Are we the shallow hals, sitting there, picking cranberry skins out of our teeth and taking offense at everything that gets said?

"You look good." Just what the hell does that mean? "How have you been?" We don't remember signing on for this kind of interrogation. "We miss you." Ah. Now it's clear where this is going. This is about the goat-sacrificing Satanist with the felony rap sheet we were living with over the summer isn't it? God, that is so over! Not that it's any of their business.

If they want to know, they should just ask, like normal people instead of prying in their benevolently tolerant way. Dammit, if we weren't oozing stuffing out of every orifice we would stomp off to our room in a huff and slam the door behind us. Except of course, that we're in our 30's and don't live here anymore.

Well, at least until we bring our belongings in from the car. And even then it's only for a few months. Just until we find another dot-com willing to offer us a fat signing bonus, lunchtime massages and a foosball table in the conference room. Then we are out of this dump. So just back off. You're not the boss of us.

What's that? Another piece of pie? Well, all right, a small one. Laundry? Sure, we've got some laundry that needs to be done. And you'll fold it afterwards and use fabric softener, won't you? Mmmm... softly fragrant.

Sleep in tomorrow? That sounds okay. Yeah, bacon and eggs and hash browns and waffles and fresh squeezed oj for breakfast sounds fine. And a little more of this pie couldn't hurt. Hey, maybe later we'll build a fire in the fireplace and play cards.

By the way, does anyone know how many days until Christmas?

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