I hate Thanksgiving. Hate it. Loathe it. Despise it.
It started as child when I was forced to watch that annoying Macy’s parade. The inflatable balloons of Snoopy and the Red Baron, Kermit, or Papa Smurf looked miniature plastic figures swimming across my TV screen. The singers who showed up lip syncing to musical tracks while dancing on moving floats seemed like dozens of Milli Vanilli’s in a row. And while a marching band always moves me beyond belief in person, experiencing them miles away on my couch was certainly not as awe inspiring.
I could never get away from the Macy’s Day parade as it was on every channel. (We had only three at the time.)
Later in the day, I was forced to watch football. Born and raised in Cleveland, I rarely saw my Browns play on Thanksgiving Day. I was left to watch some other team lose to the Dallas Cowboys that Thursday. I couldn’t even be justifiably disappointed on Thanksgiving.
I was also forced to eat that awful food. Turkey. Yuk. What other time of year do you cook turkey? You don’t because it’s a nasty tasting bird. It’s full of tough meat that even the richest gravy can’t elevate to the lusciousness of prime rib or fluffiness of sea bass. Mashed potatoes, even with butter, are the equivalent of eating a thick potato milkshake. No texture. No flavor. Stuffing used to be my favorite, until cooking it within the turkey became the standard. Typically, I starve away the day on Thanksgiving sustaining myself on chips, fresh cut vegetables, and coffee.
Worse, yet, is the abundance of leftovers. Every Thanksgiving feast I’ve been at has been cooked for twice as many people as are in attendance. Each guest could go home with their own Tupperware containers of turkey meat and my refrigerator is still stocked with dozens of zip lock bags of turkey. I’m forced to eat it for the next week.
Last year, my wife finally let me cook the Thanksgiving dinner. I made Prime Rib, sea salted steamed broccoli, marshmallow crusted sweet potatoes, and butter sautéed mushrooms. Done in less than 90 minutes. Best Thanksgiving meal ever.
I think what annoys me most about Thanksgiving is I’m forced to be thankful. Why do we need a holiday to commemorate thankfulness? Being grateful shouldn’t be a forced requirement every fourth Thursday in November. As human beings, and especially as Americans, we should be grateful every day of the year. Grateful that when I turn on my faucet, water comes out. That the street I live on is paved. When it gets cold I can turn on the heat and when it gets hot I can cool down with central air. I can buy Star Wars tickets weeks in advance and use free wi-fi just about where ever I go. I can choose to like Donald Trump or I can hate him. And when it comes times to vote… everybody can. It doesn’t matter what genitalia you have or what your skin color is.
We should give thanks every day.
Even though Thanksgiving is my least favor holiday of the year, I’ll be grateful that day. But not because I’m forced to, but because I want to. But when my wife passes me the plate of turkey meat, I’ll politely say, “No, thanks.”
Wal Ozello is a science fiction techno-thriller novelist and the author of Assignment 1989 , Revolution 1990, and Sacrifice 2086. He's a resident of Upper Arlington, Ohio and a frequent customer at Colin's Coffee.