It’s a fact well established in both my mind and in print that I think holidays in general are bullshit, and maybe I’m just getting old, but this year, I find I don’t really have a problem with Thanksgiving. Yeah, it’s a completely arbitrary celebration based on hideously glorified imperialism, but seriously, what isn’t? As holidays go, it’s probably the least offensive of all.
Think about it: It’s a feast. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day are nothing more than card sales. Labor Day, Veterans Day and Memorial Day are tied into a weird fascist/patriotism thing that has nothing to do with veterans, memorializing our war dead or being appreciative of the labor unions that travailed and in some cases died on behalf of workers’ rights. July 4 is bullshit too. And Xmas (spelled thusly because I’m an agent of the liberal East Coast media elite trying to destroy everything you believe in) has no more right to be a federal holiday than Kwanzaa. Separation of church and state? Fuck that. Give me the day off.
Thanksgiving, though, I’m basically alright with. In terms of the holidays that have been warped past their original intent and morphed into something completely different—à la the civic ones noted above—Thanksgiving has become relatively benign. Even the Christians have mostly left it alone, and it’s not like the newly Republican lower chamber of Congress has us giving thanks for the wisdom of the autumnally-hued John Boehner, so what the hell? A day dedicated to being happy for what you’ve got, recognizing that you’re lucky to have it and maybe drinking some wine while eating a good meal with your family? I can get behind that.
Don’t get me wrong; I’m a bitter bastard, and when it comes to the origins of the holiday, I think they’re pretty disgusting, but Thanksgiving at this point is no more about celebrating the “peaceful union” between early settlers and the native people they killed for the land than it is about coloring eggs and hiding them in the garden for sugar-crazed children to find. It’s about the food, the togetherness, maybe a little light jazz in the background. Mingus or someone like that. Did I mention wine?
I’m not saying life is ideal or that we should forget the world we live in is still the kind of place that sits idly by while Haiti shits itself to death with a cholera epidemic curable with Gatorade. Not saying that at all. No, really. At all. But if we as Americans take a couple seconds to recognize our fortunes while eating our factory-farmed meats and wearing our sweatshop jeans, well, at least we’re not shooting anyone. That’s the level of okay I’m talking about. It could be much worse. It could be Valentine’s Day.
Whatever you’re doing for Thanksgiving, whether you’re spending it with family, friends, by yourself or with people you don’t even know in either some awkward social arrangement or bizarre twist life handed you that you never could have planned on, I hope you get some good food and the chance to enjoy yourself for a little while before the real world kicks back in with its sundry bullshits. Our opportunities to step back and put our existence into some context are few and far between, so if you get a second when you’re not putting things into or taking them back out of the oven, setting the table and the rest of it, I hope you like the way the math adds up.
And if you don’t, that’s okay too. The stuffing will still be delicious, and there’s always next year.