Ever consider that Thanksgiving is a lot like a colonoscopy? The fun begins at least a day ahead of time, a liquid diet or fasting precedes the main event, and you often leave the festivities feeling like someone spent the better part of the day crawling up your asshole. Not to mention the bloating and gas that follows.
So how to get through it?
Travel is usually a given. Planes. Trains. Automobiles. Hell, just getting in and out of the grocery store will take creativity and cunning, so don’t leave home without some intestinal fortitude.
Case in point:
The last time we traveled for the holiday, we were late for our flight, and our names were broadcast over the airport P.A. “Would the Misery family please report to Gate 666? Immediately!”
I broke into a run while pushing my dad’s wheelchair, carry-on bags strapped to my body like weighty bandoliers. Our three rambunctious sons leapt, whooped, and cavorted behind me, using their wheely bags as makeshift skateboards, battering rams, and hurdles. My husband brought up the rear, literally, by making an unexpected dash into the men’s room.
The man was a walking IBS commercial.
“NOW?” I called over my shoulder, familiarity breeding mild contempt. “We’re boarding without you.” Not to be cold, but I had three boys to wrangle and a mischievous old man to move from his wheelchair to the plane.
Just as we got situated in our seats and the airline attendants were closing the door, my husband darted in. The steward said, “You nearly missed the flight. We were waiting on you.”
My husband’s answer? “Trust me, all these people are glad I stopped to use the bathroom…” Applause in business-class followed.
Given the proximity of the lavatory, and the Pearl Harbor that is my husband’s gastrointestinal system, I decided he had a point.
And my point? Travel can really stink.
So however you go–highways, byways, train tracks or the gates of TSA-hell, keep in mind there’s a good reason the words travel and travail share a common etymology.
During the Middle Ages, the word travel, meaning to journey, evolved from travailen which meant to to toil, labor. So what can 14th century England teach us about making travel easier today?
Thanksgiving Survival Tip #1:
Back in the 1380’s, Jeff Chaucer wrote The Canterbury Tales, a narrative poem about a funky group of travelers who told some trippy stories to pass the time and vie for a free feast. And so, I point to the epigram on the late poet’s grave as words of wisdom for Thanksgiving travelers today:
“This trip sucketh. Hath thou any juicy tales to passeth the hours?“
And how about turning off the electronics and doing it the old-fashioned way? The oral tradition is not a porno movie. One size does not fit all.
So now you’ve arrived…how to get through the rest of the merriment?
Thanksgiving Survival Tip #2:
Follow a liquid diet prior to the big event, but be careful not to get so hammered that you finally tell off that obnoxious relative who always greets you with with an overly-familiar kiss on the lips, and sometimes cops a cheap feel.
Thanksgiving Survival Tip #3:
If you do over-induldge, no worries. You don’t necessarily want to look and feel your best around some of these people anyway. Plus, if you make yourself a little too sick, you can always dip out early and leave the dishes for someone else. The Artful Dodger strikes again.
Thanksgiving Survival Tip #4:
In a perfect world, the only creature in the house who should have anything stuffed up its ass on Thursday should be the turkey. But this is not a perfect world. Should assholishness arise, you can still preserve the fragile ecosystem of family peace by following the example below:
Have any stories to share about your Turkey Day, or its travels and travails? Don’t be shy, Pilgrims. Dish your comments below…
Happy Thanksgiving! And, as always, thanks for reading.