Tuesday, December 8, 2009


I am thankful for many things.  Ninjas, especially, spring to mind.  AND Balloon Boy, because I'm still laughing about him.  And firefighters because, well, HAVE YOU BEEN READING THIS BLOG???  But not fruit flies.  Never fruit flies.  In fact, had there been fruit flies on Mayflower I'm pretty sure there would be no Thanksgiving at all.  The pilgrims would have sailed back to England.

I'd like to think the Natives would have lived on, thankful to be uncolonized and smallpox-free, for several more centuries, this northern climate too severe for Cortes and too unfashionable for Louis or Lafayette. 

Because then I wouldn't be cooking this freakin' turkey.


Thanksgiving.  At MY house.  TODAY.  (You've got to be shitting me, right?)  The mother-in-law who was SUPPOSED to host this year is sick.  My house stands undefended and unprotected, ripe for plague and plunder, inviting invasion like a gold-rich island nation, population four.

My heathen subjects (ages 4 and 6) prove futile at resistance.  The counter-insurgency fails.  So with less than 24 hours' notice I feed 14 people a full Thanksgiving feast, a Dionysian orgy of food and drink.  (However, I AM excited about the Macy's Thanksgiving parade. I wonder if we'll see Balloon Boy up there with Snoopy and Kermit.)

The invaders pour in by the shipload.  Like an Aztec Reina I welcome and feed them.  

Not suspecting the general treachery of her foreign guests, the hostess, ever the last to sit down and eat, subjects herself to a fate worse than pillage, worse than smallpox.

His name is Uncle Jack.  He has come to enlighten us savages; he is the Source of All Knowledge.  The subject of his diatribing (yes I did invent that word.  The Maya invented THE CALENDAR) loses her religion, her customs, indeed, her cultural identity.  

He tells me the story of the exotic animal of his homeland, the Beefallo.  Worse even than the Turducken,  the Beefallo is a living hybrid of the cow and the buffalo.  (Why not Cowallo, of Buffow?  The world will never know.)  Uncle Jack proceeds to indoctrinate me to the sexual reproduction of the Beefallo.  AT THE DINNER TABLE.  Turns out that, being crossbreeds, most male beefallo are sterile.  So when a male beefallo is discovered to be potent, his sperm sells for far more per ounce than his meat and the breeder can expect to become as wealthy as a Spanish Contessa if she has no qualms harvesting his sperm.  Harvesting his sperm.

I give you that visual as my personal holiday gift to you. YOU'RE WELCOME.

Why DO we do this to ourselves each year?  This forced march called Thanksgiving?  Who was it that first said, "I know, I'll invite over ALL my family and even my IN-LAWS and I will cook a gluttonous feast of no less than one large salmonella-contaminated avian and perhaps even the better part of a pig, sixteen vegetable casseroles, and oh yes--PIE.  There will be pie!  Pumpkin and sweet potato and, if I call myself any sort of Southerner: rutabaga.  And neither Boston Market nor Honeybaked Ham will be involved because that would be CHEATING.  And the family will stay ALL DAY and perhaps even take NAPS at my house because I will drug them with tryptophan and sugar."  WHOSE IDEA WAS THIS?  Some Iron-Chef watching Puritan with no kids and in-laws back in the Mother Country? 

I bet it was Eve.  That bitch.

I consider this proof that there were no fruit flies in Eden.

OH AND I KNOW!   The NEXT MORNING I'll wake up at 3AM and risk certain trampling, hair pulling, and vehicular assault in the parking lots, entryways, and checkout lanes of the mall, Target, and Toys 'R' Us.  I will go to war in the name of Christmas.  I'll be a Holy Crusader conquering the Infidels at Gap and Best Buy with credit cards and ill will and instead of souls I'll save money.  Because you can't spell  Son of God without Black Friday.  (Not in Aramaic, you can't.)

And THEN I'll redecorate my entire house.

I will move furniture.  I will hang long, twisted strings of electric bulbs from the perilous rooftop.  I will introduce such deadly plants as poinsettia and mistletoe to my dogs and children.  I will even erect a ceiling-height evergreen TREE inside my house.  This tree, certain to provoke an allergic maelstrom in my OWN only-begotten son, I will decorate with bits of metal and small idols, not as a pagan symbol of resurrection and fertility, because THAT would be irreligious (Fa-La-La-llacious), but as the perfectly obvious representation of the Birth of Jesus.  Because virgins, holy Infants, and conifers comprise a perfectly self-contained set, right?  Right.  And I will ignore, to the detriment of my family, the fire hazard presented by said tree's close proximity to my ever-burning fireplace and the electrical hazard posed by the incalculable load of miniature lights that I have plugged into nearly every outlet in the house.   And from its branches I will hang balls, big glass BALLS, because nothing spells Christmas like a nine foot pagan phallus.  Pha-La-La-La-Phallus.   And I will order my little heathens not to TOUCH the tree on pain of death or dismemberment.  (An eye for an eye, a hand for an ornament.  That's not in the Bible but it SHOULD be.)

Ladies, why do we do this to ourselves?

(Men.  SHUT UP.  I know some of you fry a turkey and swing some lights around between football games.  But you have NO IDEA what this holiday entails and left to your own  devices you would do the drive-through at Boston Market, let the kids eat Thanksgiving dinner in the car, throw some popcorn and tin foil at a sapling in the woods behind the house and call it a holiday.)

It occurs to me, amongst all my Christmas trappings, pine sap on my fingers and ornament hooks in my hair,  that I am an elf.  A very tall elf.

No, my friend Bobby C tells me.  I am not tall. Just an elf in heels.

I maintain that I am tall for an elf.  And my heels are righteous.

At some point this holiday weekend I receive my much-anticipated, long-awaited Google Wave invitation.  I add this to my ever-growing list of things to be thankful for:

The new Barbara Kingsolver book The Lacuna.  The angel wings Waverly made for her stuffed puppy, Goldie.  Bridger telling me a joke from last night's Family Guy (which I shouldn't let him watch but damn that baby Stewie is funny).  My husband's patience and my mother's grace.   Brandi Carlile on my iPod, Frida Kahlo on my desktop, the Peanut Gallery at Heartwood.   My friends far and near, new and old, virtual and real, imaginary, fictional, the One Who Should Keep a Toothbrush at My House and the One in the Library.  A life that has more questions marks than periods (thank you John Mayer).   A Democrat in the White House and a log on the fireplace.  Thank you, Gods.  Happy Birthday, Jesus.

No comments:

Post a Comment