Thanksgiving: A Microcosm of New Year’s Day


True, Thanksgiving is not supposed to be about resolve. It’s supposed to be about indulgence. Too much food. Too much booze. Too much gladiatorial football. All under the blessings of gratitude — thank you, Lord, for my excesses and the carte blanche to celebrate them at the altar of semantics.

For me, though, T’day is often a microcosm of the New Year. I find myself resolving not to gain 3 pounds in one day by exercising discipline. It always starts off well enough. I always run a “turkey trot” race on the morning of the final Thursday of the month. Empty stomach. Strides by sides of others. A little sweat and fun and delusion, mostly that the weekend will last as long as the Christmas break, which is a cruel ruse.

After that, however, it’s downhill. Because I know there will be plentiful turkey and stuffing and breads and vegetables in wolves’ clothing (read: greens gussied with cream, cheese, and fat), I vow to fast until the Norman Rockwell moment.

That resolution isn’t worth the air it’s spoken in. In fact, it goes down faster than Russian jets over Turkish air space. After all, what’s a little yogurt, just to take the edge off? And OK, considering I’m on my second coffee, I might dip into that pan of sticky buns our guests baked and brought through the doors of resolve (hint: the doors had screens for windows).

I get ahold of myself for a few hours, avoid the kitchen, move to the family room and situate myself in front of the TV for an exciting Detroit Lions football game (final score: Lions 78, Eagles 3). Some evil jinn brings in a super bowl of pistachios at halftime, however. Suddenly, it dawns on me: shelling pistachios is much more fascinating than watching Eagles roll over. Who knows? Maybe the flight to Philly was cutting it close on their dinner schedules back home.

Pistachios are as addicting as texting and cellphones appear to be (I watch that game from afar). Thumb, split, eat; thumb, split, eat; salt, crunch, small; salt, crunch, small. Surely something as minuscule as a pistachio cannot be fattening. Until you’ve eaten as many nuts as the Lions have scored points (and the extra nut is… up and good!).

What’s that? Shrimp? Well,  how often do you have shrimp? What the hell. Grab the tail, dip in the sauce, chew n swallow. Dip, gather, repeat.

And kielbasa? Not since Easter, after all. And that horseradish might just be the thing for my oncoming cold (like Mongol hordes, colds are always storming over the horizon).

Quiche? Synonymous with “light fare.” Consider it swallowed. Crackers and cheese? Just one. Just two. OK, just three because at this point it doesn’t matter and I can always fast on Black Friday.

Then the meal. The one that makes dinner plates look like tiny dessert plates. A Matterhorn of calories, the humble turkey slices serving as long lost foundation.

Seconds? Why not. Uncle Frank’s already blazed the trail. Thirds? Uncle Joe did!

You know the drill, I’m sure: By the time the pies and ice cream come out, resolve is pointless. It is as relevant as the dodo bird. A curiosity. An ugliness. A little sardonic laugh.

Breathe deep the gathering gloom. Chase it all with coffee. Shift your belt and quit your belly aching. It’s just another Thanksgiving in the life. Too much of everything. The best laid plans. And just think, you can do it again in 35 days when you ring out the old and ring in the surprisingly-familiar new.

That’d be the same old you — Mr. Good Intentions and Bad Execution.



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