It's the holiday everyone knows. It may not be the same time or date, but since one of those uniquely American holidays is in just a few short days we should talk about what holidays really mean.
As you wonder about where everyone will sit or if someone will sit in your chair (just to hack you off) the angst begins to build. This gift may be magnified depending on the size of your family, the duration of your gathering, how much alcohol is served or if the food is better or worse than any previous year.
I once submitted an idea that felt, frankly brilliant.
A hostess was pre-stressing over a holiday which typically involved turkey and dressing. No one really likes to cook turkey do they? She was getting quite worked up when I decided to butt in and offer my unfettered wisdom.
“Why bother with turkey?” I said, feeling rather visionary. “Serve lasagna instead. Everyone loves Lasagna, you don't have to worry about Salmonella or cleaning up such a big mess and you could even prepare the lasagna in advance and nobody would know the difference.” It felt like, for a moment, I had made a difference in the world with this simple, yet elegant solution to her problem.
The first year it came up no one took the bait.
I pressed on. Knowing I had stumbled across something so extraordinary other families would be green with envy realizing while they were eating cold turkey with stuffing we were practically reclining on pillows like ancient Romans devouring helping after helping of home-made lasagna.
But it was a quirky year. We had a double. We went for it all. One side of the family had the traditional meal at noon and another side, the lasagna house, would bat cleanup and serve dinner.
It was a disaster. We were still full upon our arrival at the second feast. The hostess was clearly upset and somehow the showering of appreciation from everyone was not as prolific as in my original vision. Then her family decided they really preferred a traditional meal to the lasagna. Who knew lasagna could cause so much angst?
It was one of those holidays — you know, one that requires a phone call to clear things up over the next several days.
The angst just kept on giving and giving.
So, guys, the next time you think you have solved something for any of the women in your life or extended life — Stop immediately and retreat with all haste.
Go directly to your favorite fishing hole, the deer lease or bowling lanes and reflect with a crowd of men or teen boys on your thoughts and reflections.
Leave as much angst as possible in the hands of those most capable of dealing with and reveling in it.
And remember, when everyone is finally gathered at the table, even holding hands or whatever other forms of extra torture your hostess requires, don't forget to tell as many in your family how much angst they have provided in your life this last year.