Thanksgiving Reconsidered

Hannah Meshulam, Opinions Editor
January 2, 2012
Filed under Opinion

Thanksgiving is the most depressing holiday of the year, and I’m including the Jewish holidays where you must repent in order to be inscribed in the book of life. Now that’s some heavy stuff. But it pales in comparison to the sob story that is Thanksgiving.
Firstly, on dear sweet Turkey Day, I always feel like there is something wrong with me. On Hallmark cards and television specials, the perfect families are depicted eating their perfect meals. Everyone fits around a nice long table, everyone is the same ethnicity, the food is steaming and mouth-watering, everyone is wearing fancy clothes, dining off the finest china, while Grandmother places the turkey in the middle of the table (which somehow, everyone is supposed to serve themselves from). Now let’s see what goes on in Hannah’s house on Thanksgiving. There are so many of us that we couldn’t possibly fit around the same table. There is a kid’s table, and an adult’s table, and somehow the most delicious biscuits never find their way to the smaller of the two. Some of us are dressed up to keep with the tradition, but most of us didn’t get the memo and are wearing K-mart brand sweats. Since we have little children and the elderly to take into account, we eat at two in the afternoon, which apparently is dinner time in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Once we’ve stuffed ourselves, it takes even longer to clean our plates and wrap up our leftovers than it did to eat the meal itself. Did I mention four dogs, a three-year-old, and a special needs eleven-year-old boy are running around, barking, blathering, and screaming, respectively, all the while coming dangerously close to spearing themselves as someone walks across the kitchen with a knife?
It’s headache inducing and not much of a vacation, but it’s Thanksgiving. I’m thankful that I at least have family to spend it with, and a Grandmother who can cook way better than that woman in the specials on television. When is ABC Family going to air a program that doesn’t make me feel like a freak for having a migraine on Thanksgiving?
Furthermore, I think we should be thankful all the time. Every day. Taking only one day out of the year to acknowledge the good things in our lives is ridiculous. Do we really need a special day to remind us to appreciate the things we have?
But what really gets my goat about Thanksgiving is how backwards it is. Why do we have those nice things to be thankful for, I ask? Because our ancestors killed off the native people who helped them live through their hardships. We have our nice things because our ancestors took what wasn’t theirs to take, and shipped the people they stole from to the smallest and farthest reaches of the country, where they could die off in number and present no threat to anyone. What are they thankful for? Have you ever wondered if the American Indians celebrate Thanksgiving?
The answer is, some do. However most also remind themselves of the hardships their ancestors faced. Think about that while you’re scarfing down your turkey this year. Perhaps on the list of things you’re thankful for, you can add: “my cruel, heartless forefathers, whose inhuman annihilation of the people who saved their lives resulted in my other forefathers’ ability to build chain store after chain store, so my mother could buy this expensive meal which I will now binge on to the point where my pants don’t fit.”
As the buttons on your waistbands pop this year, remind yourself that your pumpkin pie was baked from the blood, sweat, and tears of countless American Indians.
Happy Thanksgiving.

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