Dispatches, thoughts, and miscellanea from writer Jon Konrath

Giving thanks for the products of Chinese slave labor

Thanksgiving. It’s another one of those things I don’t really care about either way (other than the day off of work), yet other people get completely bent out of shape over. Everyone that is a complete and utter prick is converted into a Nice Good Christian that acts like he cares about his family. Everyone gets all worked up into a frenzy over the idea of waking up at three in the morning to go stand in the freezing cold outside of a big box store, so they can get a $40 DVD player made in China by slave labor that scratches disks and will go completely dead by March. You have to have these specific foods. You have to watch the floats. You have to watch football. You have to gorge until you pass out. And then on Monday, you have to waste 200 man years of labor by telling every person within shouting distance that your grandma’s secret recipe for sweet potatoes involves Mountain Dew, as if we give a fuck. And all of this is to celebrate a group of puritanical, evangelical fuckholes that aren’t my ancestors and probably aren’t yours, who basically stole this country and are used as a touchstone by bigots who waste our time and money by going around and saying it’s okay to beat the shit out of gays, and by the way, the earth is only 47 years old, and it’s proven because it was in a Mel Gibson movie.

So yeah, I have no great love for T-day. I don’t like the attire (“let’s dress up so we can go to grandma’s and pass out!”), I don’t really care for the food (turkey is the one thing that’s the most easily fucked up that you could cook. Hint: if the meat is as dry as a piece of cardboard, you fucked up, no matter how much gravy you hide it with), and I’m not into the whole gorge thing. Thanksgiving does not offer me much in that respect.

My fondest memories of Thanksgiving were going to my former stepfather’s parents for the day. His mom could not cook worth a shit. She seriously couldn’t make a glass of water without fucking it up. If you remember the movie Better Off Dead, the mom cooked this shit that was like a green slime; that’s basically her deal. And since she had 50 years of people lying and saying “everything’s top notch!” she kept making her marshmallow green bean jello oyster surprise. So we’d load out there every year, where my stepfather and his brother and their dad would get completely fucked out of their minds on manhattans, which they drank like I drank Cokes on a hot July day. The other adults would engage in mindless gossip, and if I was smart, I brought a book or something else to do. We then endured the minefield of food, I got a lot of shit because I didn’t eat 29 pounds of overcooked turkey, and then everyone passed out or whatever. The TV had to remain on football; if I touched it, everyone would wake up. Also, the step-grandfather was a blazing racist and would not allow anyone to watch a TV show with “colored entertainers” in it. (Seriously.)

And so I guess that soured me on the whole nostalgic memory thing. And it got even worse when I was required to shell out the gas money and waste hours of driving time to get back to Elkhart for this memorable occasion. And so now, I guess I like some of the idea of food, but not the usual stuff. We had indian food last year, and that was great. New York doesn’t shutter itself down for the holiday – plenty of Jews and Hindus and Chinese to keep the thing running. I just went out here to grab some pre-dinner McDonald’s, and I had to drive about ten miles to find one open.

Blah. A bunch of other stuff is going on. We got two cats last weekend. One is about a year old, all black, and she gets into absolutely everything. The other is about six months old, a mackeral tabby, and is very sick. She had an upper respiratory infection, plus conjuctivitis, and wasn’t eating. She’s almost better, but we have to give her antibiotics and eye medicine, and if any of you have experience in doing this with a kitten, you know our pain. Also, she is almost litter trained, but will occasionally decide to piss all over for no reason. So the house smells wonderful, and we also have this two-front war going on, in that we have to keep the small one in the bathroom or our bedroom 24/7 so she doesn’t piss all over and to keep her germs from the big one. We also have to keep the big one away from the little one, while also keeping her out of the laundry room, the computer room, the outdoors, the trash, the sinks, and so on. And I am certain that the big one thinks she owns the house now, so when we have to let the little one out in a week or so, it will be world war 3. So that’s pretty much been my week.

Not much else. I am slowly reading Denis Johnson’s new one, and I’m digging it. It makes me want to keep writing on my current (I think) project, but I’m not. I need to figure that one out. But John Sheppard just posted a clip of that awful Star Wars thanksgiving special, and I can’t not watch…