As my parents have fled the country yet again this year, I am free to have any Thanksgiving I damn well please. For the 2nd annual Jon-a-thon I will again play video games, watch a James Bond marathon, and eat whatever is available in my fridge. I will also avoid showering and moving off of the couch. I will brush my teeth, but not my hair.
While I feel that avoiding obligations is the greatest form of holiday, most people that I encounter think that spending a holiday this way is not a holiday at all. Some even get really irritated and tell me that I can’t be alone on Thanksgiving. They even go so far as to inform me of what I must eat, as well. I usually just humor these people, as fighting a war of words against tradition is an uphill and fruitless battle.
Most of the people with the strongest opinions of what is required of me on holidays are women. Men actually get doe-eyed and say things like “No way,” or “I wish.” One woman surprised me, though. She had obligation after obligation on Thanksgiving. She posed the question to me, “Why should I have to go to visit people just because someone declares it a holiday? I mean, if I want to visit someone, I can on any other day.”
I was stunned. I have always felt that the obligational aspects of holidays actually ruin the holidays. Instead of being about relaxing, it’s about bustle. Instead of doing what you want, it’s about doing what you have to. I’ve never heard that sentiment vocalized before, and certainly never from a woman.
So, for the second year in a row, I have done what a lot of people dreamed of this holiday: Absolutely Nothing.
If someone tries to tell you that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, ask them how stuffing yourself until you are sick makes you thankful.
The times when I am most thankful for food is when I have been without it; for health, after I have been ill; for friends when they have been away.
History is written by the victors, and we all see what we want to see. The first Thanksgiving might have been declared not in 1630, but in 1637, not to party with the Indians, but to celebrate a massacre of 700 Pequots.(More). Or in 1676 (More). Or in 1869, or 1941. The more you look, the more elusive the truth becomes. Oy.