Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lost in the Shuffle

If there's any holiday that always gets lost in the shuffle,  it's the one coming up next week.  You know the one.

It's the holiday that's anymore just a pit stop between Halloween and the fun holiday where you get presents.  The name'll come to me.   

To most of us, its significance can best be described as: 

Two days off and too much Turkey!

Wait!  Is it called Twosday? Or Toosday?

Nah, can't be.   Cause it's  marked by a family and friends-attended meal eaten on a Thursday that has most of us overdosed on typtophan until late the next Sunday.   

As I recall, it has an interesting back story:  

The Pilgrims were a group of early settlers in America who came to our shores seeking freedom of worship because in England there was a building fund. Once they'd safely arrived, however, they unexpectedly found themselves regularly serving as hot lunch for the flora and fauna indigenous to the New World, and learning to survive in a Caesar Salad was not a coping skill they had mastered. 

In a pickle, and literally serving as one, the Pilgrims developed the smarts to befriend the neighboring Indians, who taught them how to hunt, fish, plant and harvest crops,  and look bad ass while doing it.    And in the spirit of peace and brotherhood,  the Pilgrims thereupon celebrated a feast with their new Native American friends, marred only by Priscilla Mullens' insistence on bringing  jello mold. 

This all made for a pretty cool moment in time, especially since subsequent generations of settlers implemented a minor adjustment in policy regarding the Indians,  shifting slightly away from celebrating joyous feasts with them and somewhat more towards annihilating them, robbing them of their lands, and making movies and TV shows in which the Indian roles were played by white guys like Victor MatureEd Ames,  and Joey Bishop.

Today, nearly 500 years later, anticipation of this meaningful holiday runs high every year, as we highly anticipate it being over before we've even gotten our children's Halloween costumes back into the box.  

Of course, there are a handful of television specials that do promote the approaching special Thursday occasion.  Starting with A Charlie Brown Special About this Holiday, you can also view A Charlie Brown Special About this Holiday, and finally, for good measure, there's  A Charlie Brown Special About this Holiday.

Meanwhile there's hardly a celebrity in Hollywood short of Patton Oswalt who doesn't helm a colorful special devoted to the holiday yet two months away or a product other than Cialis for Daily Use not trading on its reindeer, elves, or snow-covered imagery to penetrate (sorry!) the seasonal marketplace.  

Oh, look what's on!  Patton Oswalt's Holly Jolly Special from the Holy Land sponsored by Dick-So-Hard Liquid and Pills!

Finally comes the Thursday of the holiday itself,  and yes indeed, there are major parades from coast to coast.  But who's the guest of honor at each and every one of them?  None other than that chubby little man in the red jump suit named Santa Claus.  Isn't he also connected in some way with that other holiday still about a  month away?  

Wouldn't somebody like Squanto, Samoset, or one of the other Native Americans who helped the Pilgrims avoid becoming guacamole dip for Smokey the Bear make a better guest of honor?   I guess maybe there aren't enough white guys willing to work the holiday to play them.

For all its sometimes annoying aspects of Herculean food prep, cranky family members intent on talking politics with a mouthful of stuffing,  and post-gorging induced terminal stupors, this holiday ---  whatever it's called ---  used to mean something all its own. Something that, unlike as with so many other holidays, reached across and transcended ethnic and religious boundaries.

Now we define the holiday in terms of its surroundings.  It's two days off and too much food surrounded by too much hype!

Maybe it is called Toosday after all.


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