A nontraditional Thanksgiving
November 25, 2016
I was talking with my son the other night, through the miracle of a free online video chat gizmo, when he asked about our Thanksgiving plans. Until that moment I had no idea that Thanksgiving was this week. This is particularly shocking because Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and it's always been my belief that you cannot overdo your Thanksgiving celebration; it never occurred to me that I would miss it completely.
This is not my first Thanksgiving spent overseas. I spent more than I care to count deployed when I was in the Navy, and they always fed us something resembling a turkey dinner and something they claimed was pumpkin pie. If you closed one eye and looked at it in just the right light, that mealy grey pie filling could look almost orange. It wasn't home but it was Thanksgiving and it made me appreciate the ones spent at home all the more.
Thanksgiving became my favorite holiday because of the three Fs; family, food and football. The best Thanksgivings are spent surrounded by loved ones, feasting (another good F), playing some touch football with the kids in the yard before going inside, loosening my pants and watching some football with a grandkid on my ever-widening lap. Good times.
Part of the price I pay for being an international humorist (which sounds cooler than a slacker whose wife has an apartment in Italy) is that the Italians don't do Thanksgiving here. We are nine time zones from our family, grocers don't sell turkeys at the store and I'll probably fall asleep before the football games start.
Rather than writing off my favorite holiday altogether, I've decided to concentrate on actually giving thanks this Thanksgiving. I realize it's a novel concept, but I'm a deep cerebral kid of guy who looks for real meaning in holidays and, more to the point, there isn't a pumpkin pie for miles.
I'm thankful for email. I realize that sounds trivial, but seriously I would have never known that there were hot Russian women looking for dates or that I could save 80 percent on erectile dysfunction medication if I buy right now from a Canadian pharmacy. I'm guessing that once all of those Americans election refugees arrive in Canada, their demand for Viagra will skyrocket when those fools start dating the hot Russian women and the prices will go up. Thanks to my email, I'm now aware of these important social-economical developments.
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I'm grateful for TV shows like "Everybody Loves Raymond." These shows have systematically lowered the expectations of American women toward the behavior of men to the point that we can get away with almost anything. I'm living proof that you can sit around in lounge pants claiming to be a newspaper columnist, whine consistently, be a chronic underachiever just like Raymond and somehow the women in our lives not only tolerate us but also actually love us.
I'm very thankful that this year is almost over. Between sweating out the drama of the Olympic Ping-Pong finals, the never ending childish mudslinging nonsense of election-year politics and that extra day in February, leap years can be exhausting. I don't know about you, but I'll be happy to see it all in my rearview mirror.
I'm more than grateful for modern medicine. I know it's trendy to bash our healthcare system and complain about how they just write prescriptions to make pharmaceutical companies rich but I don't see it that way. I don't remember the last time a doctor came knocking on my door trying to sell me a prescription. I'm a 59 year old cancer survivor who lives on milkshakes, red meat, chili cheese fries and any other self indulgent craving I might have despite what the doctor tells me; but she still takes care of me and I feel fine…. and thankful.
I'm thankful for my grandkids and not just for being cute and smart and perfect, they are all of that, but also for reminding me that it's important to go out and play. Whether it's my oldest granddaughter playing softball or my youngest grandson running across the patio in his walker, they are happiest when they're playing outside and so am I. Granted, I need two Percocet and an icepack when I get done but the point is still valid.
Finally, I'm grateful we'll be home for Christmas! I foresee a turkey dinner, grandkids and extra pumpkin pie this time next month … I've got to be thankful for that!
Rick Seley is an award-winning humor columnist. He may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.