Friday, May 22, 2009

The Snarchives 11/26/2008: Thanky Panky

I don't know about you, but I love Thanksgiving. As a college student homeward-bound for the occasion, I long for the warm holiday glow that can come only from - forgive my sentimentality - using toilets used only by your personal family.

Not that I would claim for a moment that this is all there is to Thanksgiving. No, Thanksgiving also features history, mainly in the form of the Pilgrims, who, upon arriving at Plymouth Rock, instituted a tradition that would endure through the ages: Stove Top-brand stuffing. Some months later, they would go on to invent the bag of disgusting stuff inside the turkey, which they soon realized was so gross that they all died. It is no coincidence that this remains their current status.

My own personal history with Thanksgiving began somewhat later, courtesy of Highlights for Children magazine. You may have heard of it. You might, perhaps, recall the feature "Goofus and Gallant," which sought to impress upon its readership various complex principles of ethics, as follows:

Goofus microwaves the family cat.
Gallant does not microwave the family cat.

Needless to say, this proved to be excellent preparation for university academics:

Goofus microwaves the family cat.
Gallant does not microwave the family cat.
What might be the ethical implications (epistemological, tangential, putative, or Patagonian) of these respective acts? How does this dichotomy function, in the dual senses of being a dichotomy and of functioning, when viewed through the lens of 21st-century feminism? Explain.

So anyway, this one Highlights featured a story in which various adorable storybook characters - Pinocchio, Cinderella, the Angel of Death, etc. - got together for a festive Thanksgiving banquet, sharing merry stories and thoroughly enjoying one another's company. It turns out this is not how Thanksgiving works at all. Thanksgiving is in fact spent in the soul-devouring company of platitude-belching relatives with names like Uncle Bud, who will regale you with housing-market anecdotes until you, in the heat of the moment, violently place the meat thermometer where the moon don't shine, and eventhen Uncle Bud will gasp out the last bit about that foreclosure in Walla Walla like you wouldn't believe.

These days, as a transfer student to the enigmatic Bolumbia, I am about to experience my first New York Thanksgiving, which I will be spending in Maine. Maine is very much like New York but without culture or life forms. The state bird of Maine is the rhubarb (pronounced "Bangor") pie. So, with my impending departure in mind, I append here a list of five things unique to my New York experience thus far* for which I am truly thankful:

THING THE FIRST. The construction guys located on the immediate other side of my window**, who perform the inestimable function in my life of having violent discussions at 6 A.M. 

(UPDATE: Right at this very moment, I am dealing with this via the method of playing Benjamin Britten's "Simple Symphony" over them very loudly, which works great except in the case of the quiet and intensely moving "Sentimental Sarabande" movement, which is being regularly punctuated with indignant roars of "WHUTHEFUCKAYOUTHINKYERDOIN?!!") (This is NOT in the original score.)***

THING THE SECOND. My increasingly toned legs, which have gotten this way because every night I run down the hall like a bat out of hell between the shower and my room, as to avoid being seen in my size-875 (wide) fuzzy red footed polar bear jammies with the seat the size of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, not that these jammies are frankly any of your damn business.

THING THE THIRD. The orgasmic substance known as "bubble tea," which I have taken to ordering daily with increasing urgency, such that my order-spiel has now degenerated into something like "GIMMEGIMME AGLAGLAGLAAAHHH," and the Bolumbia bubble tea guys, bless their hearts, get it right every time. This is despite the fact that they speak only Chinese.

THING THE FOURTH. City buses featuring the mega-head of Clay "Clay Aiken fromAmerican Idol, now appearing in theatrical excrescence Spamalot" Aiken, without which I think we can all agree this city would be significantly poorer, nay, a barren pit. 

THING THE FIFTH. The devoted used-book street vendor on 110th and Broadway, who took time out the other day to let me know, after I decided against buying the biography of Dorothy Parker, that I was personally responsible for ruining his life; and whose roaring lament could be heard, complete with doppler effect, for blocks after the fact ("NOOOOOOoooooo...")

And with that, I depart this dynamic city for a few days, to enjoy the Deep North. Come and see me if you like. Turn right at the rhubarb pie, and you'll find me, in a solemn act of homage to our pioneering ancestors, consuming Stove-Top stuffing. Pinocchio and Cinderella will be there, too. You'll be able to pick me out by the jammies.

©2008, Nicola McEldowney
The Snark Ascending

*An academic expression, meaning "the manner in which great gaping academic assholes say 'so far'."
**Sid, Marty, Joey, and Dennis, who I am reliably informed is not pulling his weight.
***Also, if we're to get picky, the construction guys have NO sense of rhythm.

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