E-Mail Archive: A Thanksgiving Funny

November 20, 2007

by — Posted in Media, Personal Writing

I received this e-mail today if I knew where it originally came from I would give credit where credit is due.

A Thanksgiving Funny

In a few days, all America will be celebrating the holiday of Thanksgiving, or as it is known outside the United States, “Thursday.”

Families separated for months or years will reunite, and shortly afterwards they will remember why they separated. In a darkened gymnasium, Richard Simmons will run his revenue projections and consider buying a small Caribbean island.

Throughout the nation, those wretched souls condemned to the public school system will breathe a bit easier, eager in their anticipation of four days surcease from education.

(The students are pretty happy about it, too.)

Yet running through this gaiety is an undercurrent of bewilderment. In this decadent age we live in, far too many of our unlettered countrymen think Plymouth Rock a music style from the ’70s, or the Mayflower a potpourri ingredient. Accordingly, in the best traditions of journalistic public service and overweening arrogance, my column this frosty morn shall be dedicated to answering your questions about Thanksgiving.

Q. Gosh, you’re right. I, the average reader, am dumb as a post. What exactly are the origins of Thanksgiving?

A. Thanksgiving is, of course, a holiday invented by grocers and farmers to allow them to sell huge quantities of disgusting “traditional” foods that no one in his right mind would eat otherwise, such as squash. The average squash is a triumph of minimalism wherein Nature manages to convert mud into a plant without bothering to change its taste and texture. Attempts to improve the mud-like flavor of squash by the addition of delicate seasonings and spices have produced dishes that taste, at best, like delicately seasoned and spiced mud. A master chef, faced with the necessity of making a palatable squash dish, would throw in his funny hat and become a short-order cook at Denny’s.

Q. That’s quite a conspiracy theory. Where do the Black Helicopters fit in?

A. They transport the squash.

Q. I should have guessed. But seriously, what are the origins of Thanksgiving?

A. The first Thanksgiving was a celebration of gratitude by a group of early English settlers known as the Pilgrims. The Pilgrims were Separatists who had come to the New World to practice their religion without government interference, and since the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms did not exist at the time, they were allowed to do so.

Unfortunately, the Pilgrims neglected to acquire a few skills (such as elementary agronomy) before setting off on their voyage, and as a result they nearly starved. The local Indians, who at the time were practicing their ancient sustenance methods of hunting and fishing, took pity on the Pilgrims and taught them to farm the native flora. In a display of appreciation, when the first harvest was taken in, the Pilgrims held a huge feast and invited the Indians over for dinner, after which they all fell asleep on couches while watching football.

Q. OK, but when did Thanksgiving become a national holiday?

A. Thanksgiving Day was adopted as an annual holiday by New York State in 1817, marking the first official celebration of Thanksgiving as a regular event, and the last time a New Yorker said “thank you” for anything. In 1863, President Lincoln appointed a national day of thanksgiving, and every subsequent president has followed suit.

Q. Speaking of turkeys, is it true that Ben Franklin thought the turkey should have been our national bird instead of the eagle?

A. Ben Franklin was indeed a proponent of the turkey as our national bird. Since he was a member of the Hellfire Club at the time, though, his motives were somewhat suspect.

It must be kept in mind that the modern domestic turkey bears little resemblance to its feral ancestors. The wild turkey is a cunning and elusive survivor, a challenging quarry for the most skilled of hunters. Farm turkeys, on the other hand, have been selectively inbred for generations in an attempt to improve flavor and increase breast meat production. These efforts have had numerous side effects on the birds in question, including reduced intelligence, difficulty in maintaining balance, and the creation of the Spice Girls.

Q. Is there a final message you would like to give to your readers on this Thanksgiving Day?

A. Enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner. You can have my squash.

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