By Paul Caputo and Jeffrey Carl
Our special editorial on what we were and weren’t thankful for, including Miracle Whip, happy Golden Retrievers and girlfriends who hadn’t dumped us. Written with all the pathos and earnestness that two callow 22-year-olds could muster at the time, which is frankly not much. But still kind of touching, actually.
Hi. We are Jeff and Paul. And just what are yams anyway?
Thanksgiving is as much a part of American culture as baseball and David Hasselhoff. It is a time to give thanks, (Get it? Thanks … give … ing? Clever.), a time to revel in the warmth of family, a time to reflect, a time to eat so much that you feel like you will NEVER EAT EVER AGAIN, until tomorrow when Taco Bell unveils its Border Light Leftover Turkey Soft Tacos.
It is a time for brotherhood and stuffing. Not necessarily in that order.
To truly understand Thanksgiving, we must go back to the story of the First Thanksgiving. Some historians (all right, one historian) believe that Thanksgiving was invented by aliens from the planet Pong. Another scholar (Rush Limbaugh) believes that Thanksgiving came into existence for bleeding-heart cry-baby liberals who wanted more turkey. (Although, Limbaugh doesn’t need any more turkey himself, if you know what we mean.) Both of these theories, while believeable, are, as the Norwegians say, “Wrong.”
If we recall our 17th Century History correctly – which we almost certainly don’t – the Pilgrims, seeking freedom and larger belt buckles, sailed to America, the Land of Opportunity, Freedom and “Miracle Whip.” They endured many harsh winters, caused by, um … Canada and the Treaty of Ghent. Just to keep warm , they had to burn witches. Then they met the Indians and wrote the Magna Carta. One Indian, Squanto, taught them how to plant “maize,” or margarine. This made them so happy that they arranged for a great feast, invited all the Indians and then shot them — including Squanto, whom they blamed for the terrible margarine harvest. This process (shooting Indians, not planting margarine) continued for several hundred years. We’re not sure what that means but we’re glad the pilgrims aren’t shooting us.
This theory may be “factually correct,” but it too is wrong. Actually, Thanksgiving originated when the first Indians played the first Cowboys in NFL football.
Perhaps we can understand Thanksgiving through our modern, updated observance rituals.
Modern Americans celebrate Thanksgiving by dressing their children in ugly pastel dress-up clothes and gathering at the ugly house of ugly Aunt Helen, who “hasn’t seen you since you were only knee-high to a weasel and ooooh how you’ve grown!” The men drink beer and watch football in the living room while the young cousins sneak outside with the enormous pot of Uncle Bert’s “special” mashed potatoes and play “Spackle Tag” in the yard. The women congregate in the kitchen, where they drink cooking sherry and talk about how thankful they are that football is on so that the men don’t try to help out with the food.
Football has always been a part of Thanksgiving because without it people would be forced to speak to “relatives,” people who are apparently, through no fault of their own, related to them. If men did not have the haven of televised Detroit Lions games, there would be endless violent arguments about silly family matters like who hates whose family and whose kids painted whose cars with cranberry sauce, blah blah blah.. With football, though, men can argue about important matters, such as why only an idiot would run straight up the middle on third and goal on the four yard line.
In most familes, there is a tradition in which the leading male figure (the male with the least hair) slices, or “trims” (Turkish for “hacks the crap out of”) the turkey that Aunt Helen has had in the oven since, roughly, last February. This tradition is allows males to be a part of it all without screwing up something that would ruin the entire holiday. In Paul’s family (True Fact!) it is his job to open the jars of olives (black and green). And he’s damn good at it.
Despite the fact that Thanksgiving’s mascot is the stupidest animal in the universe (turkeys often score less than powdered donuts and wood paneling on the SATs), it carries a serious message.
It is not our custom to be serious. In fact, Jeff has never done it before, and the only time Paul ever tried it he couldn’t eat solid foods for three weeks. However, we do have a lot to be thankful for.
We are thankful that our girlfriends have not yet dumped us even after reading several of our columns.
We are thankful for baseball fields on Sunday afternoons, for finding a decent song on the radio, for backrubs from the aforementioned girlfriends, and for the way that golden retrievers just seem to be happy about everything. We are thankful that you are reading this column, when you could be watching “Baywatch.”
Nonetheless, we are thankful for “Baywatch.”
We are thankful for Extra Value Meals.
We are thankful that Super-Sizing them costs only 39 cents (plus tax).
We are thankful for the Chinese food at Beijing Café.
We are not thankful that Bob Saget is still alive.
We are thankful that we live in a country where smart-asses like us can make fun of everything.
We are thankful that we all have so much to be grateful for – whether we realize it or not. And we are thankful that you are here with us to say “thanks.”
Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, from everyone at the State. And save your wishbones for us. All of us. Or we’re coming after you.