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Sherman Ave’s Guide to a (Mostly) Sober Thanksgiving

It’s that time of year again.  The weather’s getting colder (kinda), the trees seem to have no problem with being naked, and my mother is encouraging me to get another flu shot “just to be safe.”  That’s right, it’s almost Thanksgiving! And as we approach the holiday in which the white Pilgrim settlers and the American Indians were able to celebrate the harvest in perfect harmony right before one group violently and unjustifiably slaughtered the other, I think it’s important that we consider a few ways in which we can make the upcoming holiday even better.

Now, I’m pretty good at Thanksgiving-ing, if I do say so myself:  I have over 18 (read: 19) years of experience, and I’ve learned a thing or two about how to celebrate the turkeyest of the days.  Therefore, here is my gift to you on this upcoming 4th Thursday of November:  My fool-proof, tried-and-true Thanksgiving strategies:

-       Eat Almost Nothing.  This may seem a bit counterintuitive:  After all, that’s what Thanksgiving is all about, right?  Aren’t we supposed to stuff our faces full of over-cooked turkey and canned sweet potatoes until we have to retreat to a quiet room, clutching our stomachs in silence and weeping manically?  Well, my insecure friend, this doesn’t have to be the case.  Think about what may happen if you come back from Thanksgiving break a few pounds lighter:  “Oh hey, ___________, you look great!  And after eating all that turkey, too!  I guess now there is no question you are the most attractive person I know.  Please, have sex with my girlfriend.  No, of course I don’t mind!”

So how do you go about doing this?  Eat only those crackers and cheddar cheese squares your great aunt puts out.  Forego the turducken, stick with some mashed potatoes (gravy-less) and a little bit of salad.  And drink tons of cranberry juice.  Just try not to go into any Irish Mob-run Boston bars.

-       Hang Out with Friends from High School (and Impress the Fuck out of Them).  This should be a pretty obvious one.  If you’re a sophomore or older, than you already have at least a year’s worth of experience doing this.  You’ve probably already told your 12th grade chums about how you hooked up with that girl on the field hockey team (twice), how you did two keg stands in a row for 20 seconds each, no problem, and even found time to explain how your grades are SO good that the school offered to fly you out, all expenses paid, to Botswana so you could teach leg-less refugees how to sing.

Of course, the difficulty in this comes when you realize that all your other friends are trying to do the same exact thing:  they’ll wow you with stories about life in their fraternities/sororities, the extreme amounts of fun they’re having on their school’s club squash team, and that story (that you’ll be hearing for about the 6th time now) about how they almost got arrested for smoking pot outside of that Long John Silver’s.  Therefore, your task becomes proving to them that your pathetic life is less-pathetic than their pathetic lives.  Play up how much you’ve been exercising.  Tell them that you read – books (and real books, i.e., something that hasn’t been made into a 3D movie).  If you have a significant other, or someone who you can convince to be your significant other for the evening, bring them.  That’s the ultimate kiss of death.  Pardon the pun.    

-       Establish Thanksgiving Traditions.  Thanksgiving is made 200 times better when you and your family decide to partake in Festivus-like annual rituals, especially when you have to cope with the fact that you have to watch everyone else pig out around you, mocking you incessantly (see above).

Do I have any suggestions?  You bet I do!  For instance, in my family, every year someone has to dress up in a makeshift turkey costume, lovingly passed down from generation to generation, and do the chicken dance for 30 minutes straight (it’s meant to be ironic, shut up.)  In another tradition, my father drinks too much sparkling grape juice, gets explosive diarrhea, and forces us to cancel dessert because “no one in this fucking house is gonna have any fun unless I am!  This isn’t Vietnam!”

Now obviously, I’m not asking anyone to get explosive diarrhea.  But I am asking you to find your own explosive diarrheas.  Thanksgiving is a holiday ripe with opportunities to enjoy it better:  All you have to do, diligent reader, is find them out for yourself.

And worst-case scenario, you can just drink a lot.  Yeah, that’d probably work just as well.

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