Ah, Thanksgiving, when my kids, who don't get along with each other, have an entire week off school to fight and complain that there's nothing to eat in our house, then leave dirty dishes to the contrary. Which brings us to what Thanksgiving is really about, coming together as family and friends to nag the ones we love while trying desperately to overlook their really annoying qualities. All while being really thankful that Thanksgiving is only one day out of the year.
It all starts way before Thanksgiving. With who you actually want to invite to stuff their face and drink cranberry margaritas with and those you don't, but are contractually obligated to invite, usually because you're related to them. But, sometimes that obligation is your boss who started hinting at Halloween that he'd be eating a frozen burrito alone instead of turkey with all the fixings for the third year in a row. And since you'd really like that Christmas bonus, it seems like an investment that could really pay off.
That's when the complicated planning involving math comes in. How many people are coming, how many are ditching your house for other plans that came up and how many pounds of turkey and bottles of booze does that equate to? And in the end does it even matter? No. But, you'll worry about it anyhow. As you will every other detail. Like should you clean the baseboards in your dining room? I say no. I'd prioritize taking potentially embarrassing things out of your medicine cabinet in the bathroom. Because statistically, at least one guest is likely to snoop in there while they're taking selfies in your bathroom. Unless they're hiding from your drunk Uncle Ned.
Most people think the biggest tragedy on Thanksgiving is that something will go awry with the turkey. It won't be cooked in time, cooked with the giblets intact, undercooked, overcooked, eaten by the dog while resting unattended, dropped on the floor or the carved by someone who cuts themselves with the electric knife and bleeds all over it. But, the importance of the turkey is really a misnomer. The booze is much more important and you can even buy the cheap ass vile Barefoot brand wine, no one even cares. Because everyone will be so uncomfortable, dressed up in their Thanksgiving Day best, waiting for taboo topics of conversation to arise. Worrying they're going to be the perpetrator.
Though you've briefed every guest individually on what not to talk about to whom this holiday season to try to maintain peace, it's inevitable. Even if you make place cards on who sits where at the dinner table to try to keep the peace, the list of forbidden topics is too long and too seductive to avoid. The most obvious verboten conversations are religion and politics. But there's also food. Don't start inquiring about how the host prepared the turkey and comment how your mom's method results in a juicier turkey. Also, no one cares you're vegan, eat the dry, overcooked turkey and shut up already. And don't use that to transition into how you do CrossFit to establish your superiority over every other guest at the table. Or that your kid is an honor student while you pass around his gift wrapping fundraiser sign-up sheet for his fencing team that won the state competition for 8 years straight. No one wants to hear anyone else brag.
But, no one wants to hear anyone else complain either. Thanksgiving is not the place to lament you didn't get that promotion you thought you were a shoo in for. Or your sciatica, psoriasis or rheumatoid arthritis is acting up. Don't grumble that you're still single. It's just going to make the married couples start griping about how they hate their spouse's driving, sleeping habits and that they load the dishwasher wrong. Which you've only had to hear about it for the last 15 Thanksgivings. Which always transitions into complaining about how entitled and ungrateful kids are these days. And how much better the world was back in the day. Which is going to shift to stories of when they were an altar boy and Reaganomics. Right back to religion and politics.
Thanksgiving is a time to pretend that everything's fine.
While eating your feelings.
Just like every other day.