I was sitting on my ubiquitous Ikea Poäng chair and ottoman (now stained to high heaven) trying to figure out what I could say about Thanksgiving that hasn't already been said. After watching several episodes of "Parks and Recreation" on Hulu, the best comedy on TV right now, I still didn't have any light bulb of inspiration. Then I made myself some hot dogs in my hot-diggity-dogger, and still nothing going on in the old Timbo noodle. I know there is so much to talk about when it comes to Thanksgiving just nothing I care to say. How it's non-religious, how it can be a holiday shared with friends instead of strictly family, the heartwarming sentiment of the giving of thanks, the foolish people who still travel great distances for a long weekend only to end up being stuck in airports, the informal high school reunions on Wednesday night, football on Thursday, the formal (at least for me this year) 10 year high school reunion, the Macy's advertisement for Disney characters, er, I mean, parade, and then there's the food. That's what I can talk about that is different for me. That's what I can winge about. The god damn food.
I never stuff myself silly. Not more than any other night of the week for a couple of reasons. I don't like stuffing myself, but most importantly, I'm allergic to Turkey. I don't care to talk about my food allergies too much because I don't like it when people look at me like a freak, but the editors here at Steve's Word told me I had to. Those guys are dicks. They're always asking friends and family to contribute or at least read the site and they never do. Can't they take a hint? Anyway, yes, I'm allergic to Turkey. It sucks. And please, vegetarians, don't tell me you can sympathize. This is not a choice. You can't "accidentally" eat turkey and die from a bleeding heart, but I can die from anaphylaxis.
So, while the rest of the country rejoices for Thanksgiving, looking forward to gorging themselves on turkey and tofurkey, I conversely dread the day. I'm less afraid of actually having an allergic reaction than I am about having to talk about my allergies. Over the years, I've tried my best not to get defensive and guarded about it because I understand there is a genuine curiosity about the topic. It's just that I've had to live with it my whole life and I'm sick of talking about it. The worst is when I get the inevitable, "wow, that must suck. I can't imagine life without turkey or such and such." Yes, asshole, you're right it does suck and now you might have a better understanding why I created a website to purge my every angst. I guess that's why I'm writing this. Every time the topic comes up, I'll just write down the url to this article on a napkin or a part of the paper table cloth if we're dining at Macaroni Grille. Nuff said. It happens at almost every group dinner I've ever had, but it is especially pronounced on Thanksgiving because for most people you can't have an authentic Thanksgiving experience without turkey and that really gets my gobbler. I always feel like I'm missing out on something. This is the great side effect of living with food allergies. You really do miss out on life. There's actually less you can enjoy. Less flavors, less exploration, less adventure. There is no upside about not being able to eat something or being terrified while in a foreign land about what's in the wondrous smelling food that your friends are eating.
Thanksgiving is the worst of all these instances. No matter how hard my mom or other hosts try to accommodate my short-comings with a baked ham or special side dishes, it will never suffice. I'm an American who can't fully partake in the most American of holidays. It's a holiday about community and kinship and laughing at your uncle who's fallen asleep on the couch and farting up a storm. Yes, I am thankful for many things and I appreciate the holiday as much as I can, but tomorrow, when you're scarfing down that delicious white meat or housing that succulent dark meat think to yourself, "man, wouldn't it suck if I couldn't eat turkey on Thanksgiving? Phew! Wow, Tim Spellman complains a lot but I think I'm going to have to agree with him on this one. He is definitely missing out. Tough break, buddy." That's all I ask.
Happy Turkey Day!!!!!
Come on, Eldrick.