Thanksgiving is upon us. I never liked it much. It joins the list of other holidays I never liked much. We don't celebrate Labor Day because my husband always has to work on Labor Day. We don't celebrate Veterans' Day because I'm a pacifist and it weirds me out. I don't celebrate Columbus Day because I think celebrating imperialism and genocide is gauche. Likewise, I'm not into Thanksgiving. Kind of a crappy holiday, don't you think? First off, we have the historically insensitive Pilgrims and Indians theme and since, as I've mentioned before,I'm not into a celebrating genocide, I'm not about to give my children a sanitized version of history. This makes sharing the story of the first Thanksgiving an exercise in perennial liberal rage.
And I'm not especially thankful this time of year. It isn't that I'm not thankful, it is just that I'm not especially thankful in November and I see no need to pretend that I am. You can't make me be thankful. (This gives me the same morbidly violent sensations I feel when some chipper person says to me, "Smile!")
The entire thing smacks of corporate and political manipulation. I don't want your damn candy corn nor your cornucopias made in China. I'm not interested in nationalism, or patriotism, or jingoism, or candied yams. And if I didn't spend time with friends and family earlier in the year, there was probably a reason.
It isn't that I'm against a celebration of plenty. I'm all into folk traditions. I enjoy ancient holidays arising out of the natural and agricultural cycles, but here in NY, harvest is well over. My family and I celebrate the harvest in August which is much more timely and therefore much more satisfying.
And then there's the whole "Turkey Day" thing which offends me as a vegan. You can imagine that as a pacifist vegan Pagan, I'm not so much into the butchering of living creatures to celebrate the implantation of the genocidal Calvinists into New England.
We could do Tofurkey. But then the other problem with Thanksgiving is the whole gender issue. Being female, I've watched the women in my family knock themselves out every year trying to make everyone happy. The house has to be clean. Everything must sparkle. The tablecloth and the center piece and the matching dishes for a bazillion surly, aggravating, conservative relatives who will not notice either the table cloth or the centerpiece but who will make a comment about my diet, my clothes, my child rearing style, and my politics. In the end, some long-suffering female person who normally is a community activist or a scholar will break down. "Oh my God! I've forgotten the effing squash!" No one needs that.
What is going on with this holiday that turns us into bitchy monsters? We're thankful so that means that the women work like servants all day so the men can sit around and fart? No. I don't think so.
And it isn't like the men want us to act like servants. It isn't like they even care. They would be completely content to have us join them in the farting and football watching. My husband, who insists on traditional food, is just as happy if it comes out of the box and if he's the one who prepares it. He doesn't care if I made the pie from scratch. The guys didn't ask for our servile behavior and obsessive compulsive interest in making the perfect cranberry sauce (which no one will eat anyway). We bring that on ourselves. Each year, generations of women who normally could giving a flying...er...fig...about cooking gather together to just "whip together" a banquet which of course stresses us out beyond our capacity for rational thought. Somehow, despite generations of feminist sentiment, we revert to this Victorian angel of the home mentality on holidays which can only carry us so far before we begin making snide comments to each other regarding who is doing the most work and whether or not the carrots are cut in the proper manner.
Imagining our sensitive, feminist husbands as Neanderthals who don't appreciate our domestic labor, we scurry around the house yelling at children who leave toys around. Happy frickin' Thanksgiving. Pick up your toys! Were you brought up in a barn?! And where is your father?! Then, in a paroxysm of martyrdom, we drag ourselves into the living area, flushed from the hard work of cooking and yelling at children to talk to the farting men as if they are infants, or as if they hated us or why would sit there farting when the effing squash is missing g@ddammit! And it doesn't matter anyway because I can't eat any of this because I'm so fat. I'm fat, right? You can tell me. You think I'm fat, don't you!? Bastard.
So some time ago, we decided that as rational human beings (most of the time anyway) with college educations and concerns that move us way, way beyond our kitchens, we would make peace with Thanksgiving and our remaining bewildering gender issues by ordering take-out food. We used to order Chinese take-out but now all the restaurants are closed on Thanksgiving. Now what will be do? Here's my solution to the entire holiday. I say screw Thanksgiving! Let's just skip it.
(The above is an exaggeration. We don't really ever get the house sparkling clean).