A Thanksgiving Nightmare

Cayden Johnson, Rampage Editor-in-Chief

Fall is a nightmare on steroids with pumpkin spice and Instagram intellectuals, but it all comes down to one day that it all changes, Thanksgiving. Thanksgiving is like the Super Bowl of fall, it all comes down to this. And game day will be November 26, 2020.

Some say, “Cayden you are overreacting, Thanksgiving isn’t that bad.” I reply with a deep blank stare that is filled with trauma of this social and mental war. I will never complain about eating so much food or the naps that follow. There are things and people though that make this day unbearable, and to them I give tribute. 

(1) There is always that family member that wants everyone to meet at the crack of dawn so we can watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. This is the last thing I want. Not only is getting up early and functioning hard, but the holiday is always held at the house furthest from everyone else, honoring Thanksgiving history by traveling the same distance as the Mayflower. So, I have to wake up at airport time, when there is nobody else on the highway, surfing through the radio channels trying to find something good. 

(2) After my long trek to the middle of nowhere, I realize everyone is here before me except for the people my age. I could’ve parked in the driveway to make it easier, but Aunt Judy needed to park there because her undiagnosed mom injury is flaring up. I didn’t want to be here this early. I could be in bed right now dreaming, but no, we all have to be here by 8 a.m. watching the Macy’s Parade. Let’s all agree that it isn’t that good anymore, it is for the little snot-nosed, Cheeto-fingered cousins because they at least know who the balloons are. And when I see the only cartoon character I recognize and exclaim it to the younger audience, they look at me like I am speaking martian. Then, the cold hard truth casts over me that I am not young anymore. After the parade is finally over, we have to sit in the living room waiting for the late birds to show up. Even worse, we cannot eat because it will spoil our dinner.

(3) While waiting for all four of the evers, I get to talk awkwardly with a family I happily haven’t seen in a year. Then, I get bombarded with questions about my personal life. “When are you going to get a girlfriend?” “Why haven’t you graduated yet?” “What will you do after high school?” “Are you financially ready to move out?” Welcome to 20,000 questions ultimate edition. With my gallon of coffee by my side, I dodge these questions like I do vegetables and slowly drown myself in the warm steamy bean juice. Even worse, there is the family member you haven’t seen in like eight years and they expect you to have researched everyone on Facebook. “These are our three kids: Jack, Avery, and Doug.” Didn’t even know you were pregnant let alone three times. And I feel like the time traveler’s wife all of the sudden.

(4) Everyone finally shows up. Good. I can use this as my chance to make a speedy getaway to the other bedroom. Here, I will hide out until dinner. It is nice here. There is a bed, a closed door, and nobody around except for me and my phone. Then all of a sudden Mom is here and she kicks down the door and everyone starts flooding into the room. The mission has failed! Code red! Code red! Don’t move and pray they don’t see you.

5) Then there is that sibling that shows up after not seeing us for months, I guess that is totally cool. Surprised he even texted us back, or that he remembers us. Since his vocabulary is narrowed down to one-word answers and grunts, I feel like I am talking to a caveman. Look at this, Connor, it’s fire!

6) The next thing I hate about Thanksgiving is when somebody doesn’t make enough of a dish and I have to push through people to get some. There is always that family member that takes a heaping spoonful and doesn’t eat it all which doesn’t help the situation. So we have to go Hunger Games mode. I should not have to stab someone for some pie, but I will do what I must. I am tired, hungry, and slightly irritated. In fact, I will go purge mode for people who decide to use half of the whip cream tub on their pumpkin pie slice. What makes you think that you deserve all of that whipped cream, Cole? Every slice of pumpkin pie deserves a dollop of cream. This is America after all, we have rights, you monster. 

7) Once I sit down at the dinner table, I immediately regret it. There is always that idiot who brings up some political topic, or they change the subject to something political. In one corner, we have the conservative uncle! In the other, we have the liberal aunt, and shouting from the audience we have the socialist cousin! I am stuck in the crossfire. The only way to solve this issue is to grab a nice, warm, soft, buttery roll; and scream into it. All of your frustrations will go into that roll, it is a safe place. Then, I realize that the roll is not soundproof and everyone is staring at me for screaming like a child.  

8) After throwing a partial tantrum at the table, I have to eat in the other room with all of the *shudder* children. And there is always that kid younger than you who decides to take the remote to the tv and deems themselves master. It might not be bad, but we have to watch football even though the same thing is on in the other room. And my peaceful dinner is full of screams and frustration.

9) After I fill myself like an ugly piñata, the last thing I feel like doing is getting up. Then Grandma and Grandpa come in asking me of all people for tech support. Like really? There are several young people here, and I have to get up? In order to even move, I have to rock the chair and use the momentum to fall out onto the floor. I feel like it should be simple enough, don’t press any buttons if you don’t know what they do. It is that easy. 

11) Now is the time to leave. This should be the easy part right? No, this is another curveball to get out of the labyrinth of Thanksgiving dinner. I walk into the spare bedroom where there is a heaping pile of coats on top of the bed from the ’70s. Finding your coat is like a mind game. All the coats are the same color as mine, it’s dark in the room and I didn’t turn on the light because this should’ve taken only 5 seconds, but I have lost all track of time. My meal has caught up with me and the meat sweats start to pour. It is all a mess, I’m tired, confused, I have no idea what year it is, and I am sweating like a pig. The next thing that can happen is getting sucked into the pile of coats and being landed in Narnia. 

My proposal is that we start a trend of ZOOM Thanksgivings. I can turn off the camera when I am stuffing my face. I can pretend to have internet issues when people are asking me uncomfy questions. I can click the mute button when Uncle Bobby starts talking about whatever political thing. I can turn off my mic and nobody can hear me trash talk them. I can sleep in. And even more important, I don’t have to wear pants. 

My brothers and sisters, let’s stand against the trends of modern society and say no! We want a virtual thanksgiving! 

Hiding the fear behind a confident smile…