The Washington Post

Thanksgiving: gluttony, hypocrisy and the original F-Word

There’s no holiday quite like Thanksgiving for denial.

Every year, we envision the idyllic drive to grandmother’s house, the warm and fuzzy love of family, and controlling ourselves while enjoying the perfectly-cooked, Cajun-injected fried turkey.

And then reality sets in.

That idyllic drive turns into an airport disaster that empties our savings account, we remember in vivid detail why “family” is the original “F” word. Sensible moderation turns into an overeating fest of (g)astronomic proportions.We return home to more denial.

The bathroom scale gets blamed for all the sweet potato pie, stuffed bell peppers and baked macaroni we shoveled in while trying to figure out how we could whack our ever-annoying idiot brother on the down low. Mom always did like that little jack wagon best. Grrr.

There’s so much about the traditional celebration of Thanksgiving that gives me the willies.

Before many of the most recent feasts I’ve attended, there’s this big, showy prayer that’s supposed to make everyone feel good, but it’s a sham. No one is reflecting on thankfulness. What they’re really doing during the prayer is figuring out how to get into the buffet line before Cousin Pookie because you know he’s a dog and will try to pick all of the shrimp out of the gumbo before anyone else gets a chance.

Lest you think I’m a Thanksgiving hater, let me say right now that I love the idea of Thanksgiving. Taking the time to truly reflect on how blessed we are to live free and in abundance is a beautiful thing. However, Thanksgiving – as it’s traditionally celebrated – is often no such thing. It’s a contest of who can cook the best, eat the most and tell the biggest lies to themselves the day after.

While I’m on my soapbox and high horse all at the same time, I’ll tell you what I’ll be doing this Thanksgiving. I won’t be feeding the homeless or giving out turkeys or anything even remotely praise-worthy. No, I’ll be traveling from house to house, visiting relatives, thinking how disgustingly full of fat grams everything is and then eating it all with impunity.

My hypocrisy knows no bounds.

If I had any guts (well, I do, but not the good kind), here’s what I’d really do on Thanksgiving: I’d wake up and thank the Maker for that before even getting out of bed; I’d give thanks for being able to walk, talk, touch, see and hear; I’d give thanks that I’m in great health and medicine-free; I’d give thanks for the health of my children and my family – even that shrimp-stealing criminal, Cousin Pookie; I’d pray to think about someone other than myself every once in a while; and, I’d stop griping and actually be thankful – for everything, all the time, good and bad.

But then, I probably should do that every day, right? Hmmm, being thankful every day? What a concept!

Happy Thanksgiving, y’all. Cut your idiot brother some slack, but tell Cousin Pookie I’ve got my eyes on him.

More on The Root DC

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