Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Hoo boy! In case you've forgotten, what with all the election hoopla, tomorrow is Thanksgiving. Now, if this were any other year, I'd be lecturing on why bringing a can of jellied cranberry sauce as your contribution to the big meal is as thoughtful as offering a sleeve of Saltine Crackers at the neighborhood potlock.

They say you can tell the age by counting the can rings on the base!

But, this year, we've got a bigger turkey to fry - the 2016 presidential election. Now, in some pristine families,  with all members trained from birth to "be still" and "mind your own," this will not be an issue.  But, in most households in the United States, the Thanksgiving table will be fertile ground for harvesting a political debate the likes of which will make Twitter comments look like nursery rhymes. Therefore, I've asked for the help of two popular characters to guide us away from the elephant in the room so we can all have a very pleasant tryptophan-induced nap. Ladies and gentlemen:
Goofus and Gallant.

Lesson 1:  Goofus, after a few cocktails, starts spouting outrage that Racist Bannon (aka: Steven Bannon, Chairman of the alt-right rag, Breitbart) is soon to be Chief of Affairs in the Whitehouse. Chaos ensues as Bannon banter disrupts both the football-viewing and the pie-serving.

"Schlubby, pasty white power! wooo!"
Gallant, meanwhile,  speaks in conversational tones about Race Bannon (aka: the ambiguously gay cartoon hunk from Johnny Quest.) Guests happily reminisce about the "good old days" of American television when it was perfectly appropriate for a young boy to have both a puppy and an Indian servant. Gallant saves the day!

"If only people would quit telling me I look like Mike Pence!
Lesson 2:  Goofus makes fun of Aunt Emma's symbolic safety pin that she now wears to signal her support for marginalized individuals. Aunt Emma, who has been going heavy on the boxed wine, tearfully locks herself in the only downstairs bathroom,  thus wreaking havoc with the after-dinner coffee folks!

Gallant, on the other hand,  patiently listens as Aunt Emma explains the symbolism behind the safety pin. He then teaches her how to start an Etsy account so she can decorate safety pins with a single bead, then sell them for $19.99. Gallant is doing his part to help Aunt Emma and make America great again!

"Don't know what to buy for the social activist in your life? How about a personalized safety pin from Aunt Emma's On Etsy? We take all major credit cards."

Lesson 3: Goofus, when asked to say grace prior to the meal, instead reads the speech delivered to VP-elect Pence after a performance of "Hamilton." Both jeers and cheers ensue, eventually resulting in fisticuffs and hair-pulling.

Gallant, when asked to say grace prior to the meal, offers a reading from "Landing It," the autobiography of figure-skater Scott Hamilton. Tears and applause ensue, eventually resulting in the  passing of the gravy to Uncle Marvin.
"Those triple back-flips on the ice, though!"
Lesson 4:  Goofus mocks Cousin Alice's "I'm With Her" emblazoned t-shirt. "Where are you with her? Loserville County PRISON! Bwah ha ha!" Alice dumps the artfully arranged slices of bread to the floor,  slams the wicker bread-caddy on Goofus' head and shouts, "Oh look! It's a basket of DEPLORABLE! HAHA HA!"

Gallant wears both an "I'm With Her" tie and a "Make America Great, Again" red tractor hat to show solidarity with both camps. When cousin Edwin gripes that he is ignoring third party voters, Gallant uses his indoor voice to politely tell him to grow a pair. The merry meal goes off without a single tossing of the bread! That  is...until SOMEONE brings up the Ohio State/Michigan game!

Lesson 5. No matter which candidate you supported throughout the election season, remember that not a one of them will be there with you to raise a glass when you announce you've found the  man/woman of your dreams, are going to have a baby or grandchild, or are beginning a new phase of your career They won't show up at your door with meals and offers of rides to treatments for the cancer your doctor just diagnosed.  They won't slip you a couple hundred bucks when times are tough or be grateful for the generosity you show them when you're flush.  They won't fight with you, but then make up because you are important to one another. They don't share the stories, the great times, the sad times. They don't know you.

But, the people gathered around that Thanksgiving table do. Be grateful for them. Be kind to them. Follow the golden rule. And have a happy Thanksgiving, everyone!