Something occurred to me as I sat down to write this article: everything that has been written about Thanksgiving does not apply to 2020.
To me, this pandemic-riddled year resembles that old Nike print advertisement high school wrestlers loved to hang in their locker. It read “Wimps Need Not Apply” in bold letters below a picture of a poor, unfortunate kid suspended in a suplex before his opponent slammed him to the ground. It’s one of those pictures you sit and laugh at because you take solace over not being “that guy,” only to find out the joke is on you.
The Awesome Trinity of Holidays started with a sniffle as Halloween came and went with as much fanfare as an NBA game played before an empty arena. Nobody came to the door, but at least you walked away with all the candy.
This Thanksgiving has the potential to provide the same self-promoted awards, so now is the time to start taking stock in the success of the day. Just, how do we prepare ourselves for this, and how do we convince the rest of the family?
In case you’ve been sleeping on opportunity, this year is “All About Me, Baby.” If you haven’t realized yet, now is the time to embrace the crap out of it. This is your moment.
Keeping yourself healthy is a way of keeping the community safe. Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s leading infectious disease expert, has made it clear that holiday get-togethers are a bad idea. As the world continues to fight off COVID-19, his own children won’t be welcomed home for Thanksgiving. And that leaves us with so much potential.
Introverts will long remember this as the best Thanksgiving, ever. Of the 25 to 40 percent of people who identify themselves as introverts, many of them are jumping for joy. Perhaps worse than speaking in front of large groups, the holidays present prolonged periods full of awkward situations; from your uncle’s friendly dog who likes to greet everyone with a nose to the lap, to Grandma’s probing questions on marriage and future children. It’s not even up for discussion. You’re home.
So, what’s the point of buying a 20-pound turkey if it’s just going to be you in your apartment? There is none, GZ! Maybe you didn’t do any shopping at all for the week, meaning you have to Iron Chef your way through a decent meal. You can pull up a few episodes of Chopped and get crazy with breakfast cereal and whatever meat you have in the fridge, or go a different route entirely.
Yeah. I’m certain John Smith and the Wampanoags he broke bread with didn’t trade California rolls, but the Puritan way of life sure would have livened up with a little more wasabi. No one is stopping you from picking up a few rolls from the grocery store. In the interest of helping establishments get through what experts anticipate to be a horrible winter, consider ordering a meal from a locally owned restaurant. They need all the help they can get; kind of like the Cowboys this year.
Now you’re playing with power
The remote control is yours this Thanksgiving. It’s not required that you watch football. Personally, binge watching “The Dragon Prince” ranks high up there. If you’re watching with friends, try keeping track of all of the pop culture references the show writers drop in each episode. Head over to Reddit if you need help, or visit https://bit.ly/PopGoesTDP.
Also on the table is some console gaming. If you’ve got a headset and the arrangement for it you can catch up with friends and family, too. You might be pleasantly surprised to find that your dated version of Call of Duty still supports online matches. The last time I logged in, a good samaritan leveled me up to near prestige level. The powers that be neither enforce illegal bots nor hacking, so be warned. There’s always “DJ Hero 2” to add a party atmosphere to the day.
“DJ Hero 2” was Activision’s 2010 followup to the Guitar Hero spinoff that featured a turntable instead of an axe. The game’s developers, FreeStyleGames, put together a killer list of club hits showcasing Tiesto, Lady Gaga, Eminem, Deadmau5 and so many more. With timeless tracks featuring Grammy Award-winners like Stevie Wonder and Janet Jackson, this playlist has aged well. Frankly, Nelly vs. Warren G is gold. You can enjoy the beat and the nostalgic vibe by plugging it in. If you don’t have the game, YouTuber Rodrigo Vega put together a 133-track playlist you can listen to at https://bit.ly/DJHeroVega.
No Pants Thursday
Tiffani Thiessen declared No Pants Thursday and it applies to our new Thanksgiving tradition. If you have the means to overindulge with food and drink, there is nothing more restrictive than an unforgiving waistband. Toss it out. With that said, it’s time to think about what you’re going to wear.
Seriously, you don’t have to plan out your outfit, but you can apply the same devilish creativity once lent to your choice of ugly holiday sweater towards something else. Remember, comfort is key, that’s why my inspiration will come from Cameron Frye of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.”
No one looks more like a human sloth than Ferris’ unreluctant partner-in-crime. Alan Ruck’s wet rag personality in the classic John Hughes film was accentuated by his oversized Gordie Howe hockey sweater — and that screams comfort. Pair a waffle shirt underneath a good hockey jersey and a pair of cotton sweatpants, and you’re set for the sudden onset of a food coma.
By now, everyone is familiar with video conference programs like Zoom. It’s allowed professionals to network with office peers while working from home during this pandemic. It’s also precipitated into our social scenes as meet-ups at the bar have been replaced by online chats. Even older family members who’d be otherwise challenged by technology have navigated its controls to speak with grandchildren.
The most endearing memories made during the holidays often circulate around the stories shared by family elders. It’s when you often learn about their childhoods and relatives that have long since passed. I can’t tell you how often I wished I used a tape recorder to capture those serendipitous moments, but should your brood get together online this year, hit record.
The holidays, like family, is what you make of it. Sit down and think about what makes you happy and go after it guilt free this Thanksgiving.