Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Giving Thanks for...Thanksgiving?

I have, for years, managed to hold my temper when I see hotels and restaurants advertising Thanksgiving lunch. Hey, we’re a tourism-based economy; it makes sense to make our guests feel welcome, right? I’m cool with that idea. But I draw the line at a store using a holiday that has nothing to do with us (hell, we don’t even get the day off) to sell tennis shoes. I’m not gonna say which store, but its name puts me in mind of desert-based hallucinations.

Okay, I thought, this store’s owner doesn’t understand what this holiday means; maybe I should explain. So here goes:

Back in 1621 in England, there were some people who couldn’t tolerate people around them having fun. The idea of folks going out late to the clubs, listening to loud minstrel music, and speeding all over town on their horses, drunk on mead and wine and whatever, was simply unacceptable. These people were called Puritans, but for better understanding you might think of them as Jehovah’s Witnesses.

So one day, a bunch of these Puritan guys were sitting around drinking water and grumbling about how teenagers today dress, with all the colorful clothes and ruffs, shiny swords and such, and after they’d said their seventeenth prayers of the day, one of them had an idea. He turned around to the others and said something like “if we moveth to the New World, our lives shall be drab and dreary as God willeth and we shall never haveth fun again. We shall planteth and prayeth and foundeth a great nation where people eateth turkey in our name but once a year, and our great nation shall prosper until evil greed and a silly President and a woman named Palin shall bringeth it to its knees.”

All talked it through and unanimously agreed that this was an excellent idea; several of the men thought secretly that the Palin woman was one hot chick, which made it even better. With that they got together a bunch of people who had just come in from selling Watchtower parchments and set out to find a ship. They finally found the Mayflower (named after the trees that blossom in March/April) and hitched a ride since it was going to Virginia. Unfortunately, the captain’s GPS malfunctioned en route and they landed at Plymouth Rock instead. There they met the Wampanoag Indians who asked to be called Native Americans and made them welcome. As part of the welcome ritual, they gave the Indians beads and the Indians gave them land which they would later return to the Indians for a casino development.

Now, there’s a lot more to this history, but suffice it to say that at some point the Puritan pilgrims were so happy to be able to be as miserable as they had always wanted that they had a great feast involving turkey and Sara Lee pumpkin pie, and sat with the Indians to watch a football game afterwards –the Redskins played the Chiefs that year.

And that was how Thanksgiving began. Now folks, at no point did the Mayflower make a refueling stop in Belize, and I want to stress that our local Puritans get really grumpy when we celebrate anything. The only folks that did get thrown out of somewhere else and end up docking here were in fact deported from their port of embarkation because they knew how to dance the punta and made all the backras look really bad when they couldn’t move their hips like that. If they hadn’t arrived when they did, we wouldn’t have Watina and fish sere and a few other things the Puritans probably wouldn't like.

So in the future, can we please reserve our celebrations for holidays that are about fun people? Because I don’t know about you, but I’m not as thankful as you might think to be offered a magazine by somebody ringing my bell on a Sunday morning and wanting to talk about the bible while I’m nursing my goma –my feet are still sore from dancing too much punta.

In short, Happy…Thursday!

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