Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Tomorrow in this country, is a little holiday that we like to call thanksgiving. It is a day that leaves dead turkeys and bugling waistlines everywhere.  A day where the 'tradition' is to collectively cook enough food to feed Norway for a week, and individually eat enough food to feed Oslo for a week. It is a day that people like Jenny Craig exist because of.  The tradition of the day is supposed to be, as far as I understand it, to thank god for the bountiful harvest that keeps us able to shovel food down our greedy gullets at Rabelais-like rates. Some pilgrim/Indian deal that I wasn't a party to, and cannot fathom why I have to celebrate.

Truth be told, I don't celebrate it, as a card carrying agnostic, I find that giving thanks to 'god' is a bit over the top, and I certainly don't need to spend an entire day eating myself into a coma. I am already tubby enough thanks. But it is tradition, I hear you cry, we HAVE to get together with family, eat until we are struggling to breathe, then go out after with our friends, get drunk, and complain about how crazy Aunt Jessica has become since the last time we saw her (which was last thanksgiving). 

That is the tradition and we all have them, there are sports traditions, like the President of the US throwing out the first pitch on opening day of baseball season, kicking the ball out of touch when a player is injured in football, social traditions like lawyers wearing wigs, and military officers wearing spurs, and not double dipping a chip. Traditions abound, you cannot swing a overly dry turkey leg without hitting a tradition. It is the way things have always been done, and by jesus it is the way we are going to keep doing them, whether you like it or not, and if you don't like it then we will make you sit at the kids table again this year.

Of course there are an increasing number of us non-traditionalists that buck that tread. We aren't cool, we aren't trend setters, and we aren't powerful individual with enough force of personality to tell the world to 'go fuck itself'. For the most part we are just assholes that what to be left alone, that figure this tradition stuff is bollocks, and can't be bothered to pretend to care about Uncle Earl's gout acting up again. Trouble is when you tell people that your plan is to sit on the couch in your spiderman underwear, eat Krystal's burgers, and read a really good book, they go through two stages of reaction. First, they say 'oh you don't have an family here?' and give you a pitying look, then they look at you as if you are a leper, and mutter something about 'well to each his own I guess.'

Those are the kinds of questions and looks that are the precise reason I have the (non) plans I do, not a fan of people. Another problem, though not one for me, is what if you have conflicting traditions what if one of your traditions clashes with either another one of yours, or with someone else's? Who wins that clash of the titans? Do you draw lots? Play cards? Flip a coin? The conflicting traditions must be resolved right, or the Earth may spin off of it axis and go hurtling into the Sun, and that would be just awful.  However this conflict is resolved, it is more than likely going to disappoint someone, and that is one of the rubs of tradition, just because we've always done it this way, doesn't mean it was right. It was bollocks a hundred years ago, and it is just as much bollocks today. 

Sometimes that conflict can't be resolved, and feelings are hurt all around. Compromise, that dirty little word, must be reached but sometimes just the NBA lock out, both sides dig in their heels, and refuse to budge. It is possible for the conflict to create a, brand new, first time for everything, tradition, but usually it isn't a pleasant one.  The choices you make with regards to tradtion are your own, and whether you choose to 'tow the party line' or to be an outcast is up to you. Just remember next year we will be in the same fucking position again, and I hope you enjoy your choice because you are stuck with it. happy turkey day!

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