It’s that time of year again, O Loyal Reader. The most important holiday of the year is upon us–the one people wait for all year with bated breath. It’s just a mere few days away, and I can hardly contain myself. I just can’t believe it’s almost Black Friday again!
Just kidding. I couldn’t care less about Black Friday or Cyber Monday or Max Out Your Credit Card Tuesday or Buyer’s Remorse Wednesday. While in my mind Christmas will forever be the King of All Holidays, there’s still a lot to be said for Thanksgiving.
Of course, I haven’t really had a moment to say anything about it because I’m: 1) in the middle of (FINALLY) running a research study for my dissertation; 2) organizing another study as a research assistant; 3) battling a terrible viral infection that has struck my entire family (including my dog and this one scorpion I found blowing snot-rockets in my backyard); 4) fathering the Dynamic Duo; and 5) trying to figure out where I can get a good deal on a partridge in a pear tree on Max Out Your Credit Card Tuesday.
It’s no secret I’ve been a little short on blog posts here lately. I am reminded of this every time I leave my house when I have to shoo away the protesters who stand constant vigil on my front lawn with signs demanding, “More Crappy Stick Figures!” and “What do we want? Mildly clever pop culture puns! When do we want them? Now!”
Luckily, I happen to have written one of my favorite Twincidents about Thanksgiving one year ago. While I’ve never done the whole reposting thing before, I feel like this one has a message worth repeating, so I decided to carefully dust off the text file character-by-character and present it to you in this newly-restored, digitally-remastered, platinum edition, which now includes an afterword with B. A. Baracus himself, the one and only Mr. T. With this more-than-sufficient amount of ado, I give you:
Don’t Have a Happy Turkey Day (Deluxe Digitally Remastered Edition)
I’m not going to lie. When I’m wished a “Happy Turkey Day,” I cringe.
It’s not that I have anything against turkey–I find it to be delicious and consume it regularly throughout the year. And I don’t have anything against Thanksgiving itself. In fact, I love it, which is precisely the reason the moniker “Turkey Day” irritates me.
The problem with saying “Happy Turkey Day” is that it puts the focus on the day’s superficial elements and off the idea of giving thanks.
To my knowledge, I did not attend the First Thanksgiving, but I did attend American public schools, which means I am an expert on the topic (especially tracing my hand to draw a turkey), and from those thirteen years in historical academia, I gathered that the original reason for the celebration was the relationship between the Native Americans and Pilgrims.
The Pilgrims (who chose their name due to their enthusiasm for John Wayne films) left England in search of a better life, one of religious freedom and less tabloids about the Gallagher Brothers. However, when they arrived in America, they continuously failed at living off the land because there was no Starbucks or Wi-Fi anywhere. There were no apps on their iPhones for growing corn or not dying from scurvy. They’d already run out of duct tape while building a cool fort on the Mayflower, and thus had crude shelters unsuitable to withstand El Niño. They were dropping like flies shot by a proficient fly marksman.
Avast, ye scurvy lubbers! As ye know, me crew set sail a fortnight ago in search of the Lost Treasure of a Freaking Break from Reality, rumored to be buried in the waters of the Hawaiian Isles.
Alas, while on this voyage, me crew and I be staying at a pirate timeshare on the island of Maui, and a loud plight fell upon the crew’s youngest male while his sister be napping, so I, as Captain, had to stifle this mutiny before it spread.
“Aarrrrgh you kidding me?” I growled softly, so as not to rouse the sleeping maiden. “Here be pirate stickers, Lad. Make your Captain a treasure map.”
The boy accepted the stickers with a toothy grin, as if to say, “Aye, Captain.”
“Aarrrrgh,” I muttered, this time victoriously. He be a good lad, methinks.
Returning to me swashbuckling practice (it be important to stay sharp, me hearties), I quickly be interrupted again.
After a plaything inventory over the weekend, we decided that
Mom and Dad the Twins were growing bored with our current toy selection, so we took Double Trouble for their first ever visit to Toys “R” Us. (Don’t worry, I was sure to alert them to the store name’s grammatical usage error. Papa is not inclined to raise any fools, you all.)
I had not been to a Toys “R” Us for years, and as I crossed the threshold, was promptly reminded how much I don’t wanna grow up. Although I’m quickly closing in on three decades of John, one of the perks of parenting is the justification for purchasing badass toys without appearing to be The Simpsons’ Comic Book Guy. So many groundbreaking advances in toy technology have been made since I was last in the market for toys years ago, and I attribute this to Toy Succession, a principle I am just now making up, positing that toys are improved as each generation grows up and applies changes they wish they had when they were children, ultimately allowing already-awesome toys to become uber-awesome.
For example, when I was a child Legomaniac, there were only three Lego genres on the market: Town, Castle, and Space. Now, a glimpse at the Lego section of a toy store features too many to count, including Star Wars, Harry Potter, SpongeBob Squarepants, and even Ninjas! Gone are the days of having to imagine that a black space helmet is a ninja mask. Just as the iPhone probably has “an app for that,” Lego has a piece for that.
During the course of the We Are Toys visit my wife and I got separated, which is easy to do amidst such fine merchandise, especially as a new parent fueled by the excitement of sharing it with our kids and getting that genuine, unbridled ear-to-ear smile we parents feed off like addicts. I was flying solo with the shopping car, while my wife was rollin’ hard with the double stroller and thus, the Twinfants. When I finally caught up with the rest of my family, I found my daughter glomming intently on a Sesame-Street-themed piece of cardboard packaging, with the back side facing up. “What’s that you have there, little girl?” I asked.
For those who are not parents, this is a fun thing we do when requesting information–directing the question to the baby who cannot reply sufficiently while the other parent (who actually knows the answer and, as an added bonus, can verbalize it) is in earshot.
My wife spoke for my daughter. “A stuffed Elmo. I showed it to her to see if she liked it and she just grabbed it and started chewing it.” As mentioned previously, the Twins, like legions of other half-pints, are card-carrying members of Elmo’s Army.
“Cool! Can I see it, little girl?” I inquired, reaching for it.
My daughter’s eyes welled up as I approached the package, and I heard the slow, growing rumble of a tiny freakout. “No, don’t!” My wife hissed. “I already tried to take it. She flipped out. I think we need to take it home.”
I know it’s still early to say this, but I don’t plan on being one to cave just because my kids will cry if I don’t buy them something. Having survived their first colds and the recurring perils of teething, I’ve become relatively desensitized to crying. I’m not saying I’m immune–it’s been scientifically proven that a crying baby upsets anyone–both parents and non-parents. All I’m saying is my adventures as a stay-at-home dad have granted me the power to keep a cool head, even in the face of tears in stereo. On this particular day, both kids happened to be teething hard, so I had no problem with my daughter gnawing on this item–whatever it was–as long as it would quell the day’s tenth tantrum.
“It’s that one,” my wife continued, indicating a colony of “My First Elmos” on the shelf.
I’d already resigned myself to purchasing Her First Elmo, adhering to the axiom of “You break it, you buy it,” or my favorite incarnation of the saying, which we found on a poorly-translated-to-English sign in an Asian restaurant a few years back:
I checked Elmo’s price tag and found a dollar amount to my liking–in fact, I would have willingly bought the toy anyway. No harm, no foul.
However, we came close to a meltdown when wrenching Everyone’s Favorite Monster out of our daughter’s clenched fists as choke-able cardboard/saliva flakes peeked from the corners of her mouth. With a swift, Indiana Jones switch, I thrusted a wad of toy keys into her tiny fingers just after extraction, with limited tantrum-mercial interruption, while my wife inspected her mouth for debris.
Having reflected on this occurrence, particularly my wife’s reasoning, I got to thinking about its implications.
On a completely unrelated note, there is a possibility that tomorrow, I will spontaneously decide to take the Twins to the Apple Store at our local mall. If, during the course of the purely-for-browsing-purposes-only excursion, I happen to show my teething daughter an iPad “to see if she likes it” and “she just grabs it and starts chewing it,” it will not at all be my fault, but I will tragically and begrudgingly be forced to purchase the item, as the pristine Feng Shui Apple packaging will surely be ruined.
Don’t tell my wife.
But if she does happen to get word, I will have the landmark decision of Daughter v. Board of ElmoCasing as a precedent.
As an added precaution, I may or may not slip my daughter the receipt post-purchase.
After all, I wouldn’t want her to make a scene. It may upset the Geniuses.
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If not, wow! Check out this piece of cardboard! That looks pretty tasty.