Talking turkey on Thanksgiving
Published 12:00 am, Friday, November 17, 2017
Thanksgiving is early this year.
I’m not sure who is coming to our house yet. If the past is any indicator it will be a last-minute mix of family, friends and at least one person who afterward everyone will wonder who exactly he was connected to.
There is something a bit weird about the Thanksgiving meal dynamic. It begins with the seating. If the seating is assigned, you have no choice but to accept your fate. No doubt the hostess has spent many hours working on a plan aimed at eliminating conflicts. It is doomed for failure. Nuclear disarmament treaties are handshake deals compared to the average Thanksgiving table seating chart. If there is not assigned seating, then one is forced to fend for himself. This calls for making split-second decisions that can have major repercussions, particularly in terms of digestion.
The options are:
The sibling who drinks too much.
The cousin who talks too much.
The teenager who doesn’t talk at all.
The family friend who hums when he eats.
The overly perfumed aunt.
And the uncle who, well, let’s just say the farther you are seated away from Uncle Beano the better.
Once everyone is in place, an inordinate amount of time is spent discussing the turkey. This is probably because it is a safe topic. Who doesn’t love the bird? Did you know that turkeys have their own organization? It’s called the National Turkey Foundation. The fact that some 46 million turkeys find their way to the platter every Thanksgiving I think is an indication that the group’s leadership is not working in their best interest.
Anyway, once the discussion of the turkey’s weight, color, price and drumsticks has been exhausted, the devouring begins. In terms of turmoil, this is the safest part of the gathering, unless, of course, you are seated directly across from the person who talks with his mouth full.
(Note: When setting the Thanksgiving table, napkins the size of beach towels are not overkill.)
Most people come to the Thanksgiving meal hungry to the point of starvation. They do so in hopes it will provide them with extra room to accommodate the overindulgence. The average person consumes 4,500 calories and 229 grams of fat at Thanksgiving. This is twice the recommended caloric intake for an entire day. This estimate is also on the low side. I mean, just looking at the gravy bowl adds 1,500 calories.
In regard to Thanksgiving weight gain, it is possible to actually increase your pants size while you are still sitting at the table. For this reason, suspenders are always a better option than a belt, with sweat pants being the most practical fashion statement.
While it is great that families gather together at Thanksgiving to give thanks, the question of just what we are being thankful for has become clouded. It used to be about our bounty. Now it seems to be more about the iPhone X. Consumerism has crept up on Thanksgiving to the extent that many people now think of the holiday more as Black Friday Eve. And what better way to celebrate the night before the start of the Christmas shopping season than with an after-dinner trip to the mall or the computer?
If you go, you won’t be alone. The National Retail Federation estimates more than 150 million people shop online over the Thanksgiving weekend, and 40 percent of all holiday spending occurs during this time frame.
Thankfully, for those off us who would rather be trapped in an elevator with Uncle Beano than shop, there is always football. Football is the background music to Thanksgiving Day. Nothing goes better with the post-meal nap than the soothing sounds of grunting behemoths colliding with each other.
Thanksgiving Day, how can you not love it?
Jim Shea is a lifelong Connecticut resident and journalist who believes the keys to life include the avoidance of physical labor and I-95. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and on Twitter @jimboshea.