What a ridiculous holiday. Leave it to America to take a perfectly fine holiday reason - giving thanks - and turn it into something cheap and tacky. And unhealthy. And lazy. And mind numbingly boring. As I said, I don't particularly hate Thanksgiving on principle, but I detest it for what it has become. Perhaps I am taking too much from my own personal experience, but from what I can tell, my usual Thanksgivings were not atypical. First, a brief word of explanation and apology to my dear relatives: I do not hate Thanksgiving because of you; I sincerely appreciate the efforts you put in to make the meal delicious and comfortable. That said, Thanksgiving has always been a terrible day, looming like a storm cloud that inevitably rains on my favorite time of year. The main attraction is a dinner. If I gave a shit about sports or parades (I don't), then I might have more to look forward to. Instead, I spent the first half of the day being hungry and wandering around looking for something to do. The meal was fine, but because I was so hungry, and because so much emphasis was placed on it in the first place, you aren't really expected to eat anything less than an unhealthy amount of food. So the second half of the day was spent in stomach-splitting agony, and this time the boredom was here to stay. The men would get drowsy and nap, the women cleaned - maybe I'm remembering that wrong - the division of labor may not have always been so unbalanced. At any rate, none of that mattered because now I had the rest of the day to kill.
So now that I live in Raleigh, I won't be participating in this Thanksgiving. And now that I'm a vegetarian, I won't be having turkey. We are actually having my wife's family up (and down) for the holiday and it is up to me (and my wife, of course) to make sure that the whole day is not swallowed up with the meal.
So here's a fun fact: there's a story, ages old, that turkey contains tryptophan (it does), which causes drowsiness (also true - tryptophan does cause drowsiness). What is not so true is that eating turkey causes one to fall helplessly asleep and thus skip out on the cleanup. I have always been skeptical of this assertion, but I would be plagarizing a large amount of research if I simply declared it false. Instead, check out this link from the Food Detectives, where they test the premise about as scientifically as you could hope The Food Network could manage. Spoiler alert: the turkey element of a Thanksgiving dinner does not cause the drowsiness. What makes people so tired is because they eat too damn much! But watch the video. It's pretty fun.