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)
“Okaaaay, whooo’s readyyy?” sang my wife.
The Twins stared back with tiny brows furrowed, still working out why the hell there was now a tree in our living room.
“We’re going to decorate the tree for Christmas!” she beamed. This is a tradition my wife and I look forward to every year–one we absolutely could not wait to include the Twins in. Although last year was their first Christmas, they were still about a month away from walking and even further from the precise hand technology required for hooking an ornament onto a tree branch.
However, this year would be different, as they now demonstrate proficiency in not only walking, but also running, especially away from Daddy while stealing his iPhone, and verify their accurate hand-eye coordination as they unlock said iPhone in order to delete apps and contacts (if your name begins with “M” and and you never hear from me again, it was a pleasure knowing you).
“Oh, look!” my wife chimed, pulling out the Inaugural Ornament of the 2012 Pseudonymous Christmas Season. She sat on the floor as the Twins rushed over. “This is a very special ornament that Grandma got us when you were still in Mommy’s tummy. See, these snowmen are our family. There’s a daddy snowman like Daddy, a mommy snowman like Mommy, and then a little girl snowman and a little boy snowman, like you!”
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.
It still feels strange to say this, but the Twins have started school.
While I have no doubt in my mind that my little geniuses could already slaughter Doogie Howser at Jeopardy (it would be legen–wait for it–dary), this first foray into the academic world is not related to their obviously high cognitive abilities, but instead an opportunity to begin their formal education early. You see, while they were still chillaxing in their mother’s uterine jacuzzi, we got them on the lengthy waiting list for a fairly exclusive toddler class conveniently held on my college’s campus, and we’d watched them slowly climb their way to the top ever since.
Thus, as the new school year approached, the all-important question as to whether they would be granted access to the program hung in the air like the faint, gaseous remnants of a diaper blowout. Our hopes high, we gathered with the other families in our District who had children on the waiting list for a public announcement of the class’s new students. As the odd, eccentric university spokeswoman took the stage, the tension was so thick that it needed to cut carbohydrates from its diet.
But as luck would have it, our progeny were both selected, punctuated by thumbs-up-shaped balloons falling from the rafters and commemorative t-shirts emblazoned with bow-wearing stick figures being shot into the masses. The Twins had been chosen!
We should have known better.
I don’t know why we expected our son to make it all day on an outing to Santa Monica Pier without a flip-out. With t-minus two days until our big trip to California, he had spiked a fever and started barking with croup, but we didn’t have any choice but to go with it. Bags were packed, hotels were booked, and my wife’s vacation days were locked in.
And so here we were at the Pier, fielding a high-decibel complaint from him as he refused to walk, be carried, or sit in the stroller. My wife and I took one look at each other and knew what needed to be done–get the f*ck out of there and get him a nap.
But first, we needed to calm him down so as to mobilize him.
As is customary, we looked for “Ruh-Ruh” (a toddler pronunciation of “Ruff-Ruff,” which is what our son calls his favorite toy, a stuffed Pluto). Surely, I thought, his go-to plush canine would again bring balance to The Force. But when I reached for its usual place in the diaper bag, I came up empty-handed. I dug through each pocket and checked the storage pouches on each umbrella stroller, but still no Ruff-Ruff.
“Hey,” I projected to our caravan of travelers, including my wife’s mother, stepfather, brother, sister, and grandmother. (We’d taken turns pushing the Twins’ strollers all day, so anyone could have had it.) “Where’s Pluto?”
I used to laugh at my mother.
It would begin with her getting on the phone with a customer service representative. (Keep in mind that this was back in Ye Good Olde Days before Al Gore singlehandedly invented the Internet, when instead of yelling at ambiguous, unhelpful websites or cussing at incompetent live-chat reps in all caps, the only game in town was to actually haggle with a real person about bills, warranties, and Hooked on Phonics.)
While my mother attempted to insult the intelligence of whatever dolt she was dealing with on the other line, some semblance of the following events would transpire.
My two younger sisters, who were a year apart and constant playmates, would be “Doing a Story,” their name for playing out an improvisational narrative with a star-studded cast of Barbies, My Little Ponies, and whichever Legos their brother failed to hide well enough. In choosing which playthings each of them would voice, the oldest of the two would always weasel her way into First Draft Pick.
“I’ll be Malibu Botox Barbie.”
“No! You got to be Malibu Botox Barbie last time we Did a Story!”
“But this is the sequel. I have to be Malibu Botox Barbie again or else we’ll tank at the box office. The fan base expects me, not some young, up-and-coming no-name. Here, you can be Especially Flamboyant Ken.”
“Girls!” my Mom would hiss. “I’m on the phone!”
Fully engrossed in their heated casting session, their battle would rage on without even acknowledging my mother.
“Then be Less-Exciting Sister With the Arm Missing Stacie!”
“Why can’t I be one of those 20 other Barbies?”
“Because I’m Barbie.”
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.