Maybe it’s just me on this one, but I’ve noticed for the last couple years that I’m really uncomfortable telling people “Happy Thanksgiving.”

Consciously, I know Thanksgiving isn’t a religious holiday, and if you’re in the U.S., even if you’re not a citizen—if you’re a tourist just showing up, day one—you’re probably going to celebrate it one way or another. Thanksgiving requires no commitment. Hell, you don’t even have to eat turkey if you don’t want to. All you have to do is say, “Happy Thanksgiving.”

And me: “Enjoy the holiday.”

I’ve tried this year to stop, but I can’t seem to bring myself to say “Happy Thanksgiving.” It’s not like “Merry Christmas,” where there’s a legitimate chance the person you’re talking to doesn’t celebrate it. I’m emailing publicists and record label people and, what? They’re not going to celebrate Thanksgiving? Like if you’re in the music industry you’re not Thanksgiving-observant? It makes no sense.

I’m not big on holidays in the first place, and I enjoy capital-letter The Holidays even less, but I don’t think that has anything to do with it either. I can’t really explain it—it’s like saying Happy Thanksgiving puts you in some right wing, beige-toned, hetero-normative vision of America, like mom and dad and the two-point-three kids all sitting around a 1950s supper table, dad carves, everyone is thankful to be white and middle class and it’s not at all messed up that the local grammar school put on a play with kids in headdresses eating with kids in paper pilgrim hats and then shopping happens and fucking ugh. The whole thing is atrocious.

But that has nothing to do with what Thanksgiving actually is. The reality of it now. Sure, it and the country are built on the lie of coexistence between colonial oppressors and the native people they destroyed. Granted. But now, you get together with your family if you can, and if you can’t, you get together with whoever you can get together with, or you sit at home with your fucking cats if that’s what you want to do, and you be glad to be there. Pretty simple premise. What’s not to like about that?

Beats me, but if you sent me an email this week and you were from the States—you’d be amazed at how much of what I get isn’t; so many Nigerian princes to answer!—you still probably got a “Enjoy the holiday” instead of a “Happy Thanksgiving.” Maybe it’s just naming the holiday. I don’t really know. Is that a P.C. thing? Has the “War on Christmas” opened up a new front?

Because that would be kind of awesome if it was true. Christmas would never see the war coming on its Thanksgiving flank. But I don’t think it’s the situation. I think maybe I’m just an awkward jerk who’s long since lost whatever minute ability he used to have to talk to human beings and actually convince them that he’s one too. Also sometimes I speak in the third person. I really try not to do that. The Thanksgiving thing is small potatoes compared to that one in terms of “makes me sound like an asshole.”

Anyway, whatever you’re up to this week, be it cooking a hormone-fed bird so you can have a tryptophan-induced couple hours of sleep before you get up to be at WalMart by 3 a.m. or actually enjoying being around your loved ones, or if you’re the relative who shows up and gets egregiously drunk, I hope you enjoy it as much as you can. Eat mashed potatoes and stuffing. The rest will work out.

Happy Thanksgiving.

JJ Koczan

jj@theaquarian.com

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