I have tremendous news for you, dear reader. I know the holidays are here. I know we’re on the brink of a 4 day weekend. I know there are many things to be excited about right now, but here’s one more:
You’re about to get an exclusive look inside the mind of a man on Thanksgiving.
I know, I know, try to contain yourself. You’ll need your composure as you follow along with this real-life tale about meat sweats, Black Friday Doorbusters, and long naps on the couch in front of out-of-town relatives.
Are you ready? Then let’s do it. Here now is a diary of a man on Thanksgiving.
7:00 AM, Thanksgiving, 2016
I wake up without an alarm. My wife and the girl are still asleep. The house is quiet. I make coffee and christen the holiday cookie creamer I’ve been saving. It does not disappoint. The sun is rising. I am feeling quite festive. I decide to go full Hallmark Movie on the situation. I wrap up in my robe and turn on the fireplace. This is the best I’ll feel all day.
I grab the laptop and check my fantasy lineups. I love how football has infiltrated the holiday. Nothing brings a family together on the couch in silence like the NFL on Thanksgiving. So traditional. So American.
The Vikings play at 11:30. I give myself a little pep talk: don’t let the outcome of the game ruin Thanksgiving.
I decide to forgo breakfast, saving every inch of stomach space for meat, treats, and beer later on.
I hop in the shower. I get out and am faced with a big decision: sweats or jeans? On one hand, I’ll see a lot of extended family today. I’m an adult now and am probably expected to look presentable.
But on the other hand, I don’t really give a shit. I’d rather be comfortable. I know! I’ll wear my dress sweats! My dress sweats are made of modern, dry-fit material. These are sleek and stylish, very presentable sweats. Nothing like the giant Champion sweats all the dads wore in the 80s. Dress sweats have all the comfort of the 80s dad, but none of the look. The perfect combo.
I walk downstairs.
Wife: You’re wearing your dress sweats?
Me: I am.
Wife: Your brother wore jeans last year. I think you should wear jeans.
Me: Listen, I’m going to spend the next 6 hours eating and drinking like a medieval lord. Squeezing my big fat ass into a pair of fancy blue jeans won’t disguise that fact.
My wife doesn’t press the issue any further.
We arrive at my parents. Our daughter falls asleep on the way. I transfer her from the car seat to the Pack ‘n Play. She stays asleep. It’s a holiday miracle.
I need to catch a buzz before kickoff. I mix a Bloody Mary.
I’m drunk. This happened earlier than expected. I should have eaten breakfast. Maybe if I sit here and don’t say anything, no one will notice.
I page through the Black Friday ads. Doors open at 6 tonight? Disgusting. Capitalism has gone too far. This is a holiday. People should be with their families. Thanksgiving day doorbusters are everything that’s wrong with this country, and I for one refuse to…
Jesus Christ! Look at the price on that iPad! Why, they’re practically giving them away. But do I need one? I do. Until this moment, I had no idea this need existed but am now enlightened. I must have an iPad.
Dinner time and I am starving. I stack 3,000 calories worth of food on my plate and inhale it in 6 minutes. Then I down a beer.
I’ve made a terrible mistake. I’ve eaten too much too quickly. Great Aunt Margaret, still going on about some bluejay that was in her bird feeder, has yet to start her main course. How much longer am I going to have to sit here? And why is it so damn hot around this table?
I start to meat sweat. My discomfort level is now critical.
I get up and walk to the bathroom. The cool air outside of the dining room is a welcome relief. I don’t actually have to use the bathroom, so I shut the door and check the score of the Vikings game. It’s tied.
I return to the table and am too full for beer. I switch to wine.
The potatoes and bread expand in my gut. I feel my stomach lining stretching around the carbs. I’ll never eat again…
Mom: Who wants pie?
…unless it’s pie. There’s always room for pie. It’s like my stomach reserves space exclusively for dessert. No matter how much main course I eat, the dessert section remains vacant.
Mom: Pumpkin or french silk?
Me: I’ll have both, mom.
Mom: A little of both, hun?
Me: Nope. Just both.
I need to lie down.
I head downstairs because I need to be horizontal and don’t want to occupy a whole couch in the primary sitting area. Also, I prefer to digest alone.
The girl wakes up from her nap. I’ve feasted far too aggressively to honor any paternal obligations right now. I must pawn her off. I scan the room for the nearest grandparent or great aunt. Someone must bear the burden of my child. They must nurture her and love her while Daddy concentrates on forcing food through his intestinal tract.
The Vikings lose.
I’m so damn tired. However, I’m self-conscious about falling asleep in front of my entire family, so I make a valiant effort to demonstrate I’m awake and alert. I continually adjust positions and comment randomly at the TV, “Dumb commercial.”
My weariness grows too strong to bear. I know I’m about to hard sleep, to ugly sleep — an open-mouthed, heavy breathing sleep that all my family will experience and laugh about for Thanksgivings to come. But I don’t care. In a room full of relatives, I might as well be alone on this earth. Nothing exists besides me and this couch. Nothing at all.
As I drift off, I hear my aunt from the other room, “Oh look! Target has a doorbuster on the iPad.”
Shit. The word is out. The increase in iPad demand makes me want one even more.
I wake up in a daze, but one thing is perfectly clear: I must have that iPad. However, eating, drinking, and sleeping all day has left me in a bad place. The thought of hunting down doorbusters in a crowd of deranged soccer moms makes me physically ill. I don’t think I can do it. But I know someone who will.
I approach my wife. I learn that while I was asleep she compiled a list of “things” she “needs” from Target. My wife worships Target, to the point where over half of our family income exits through her Red Card. This is the first time in our marriage where I see this as a positive. I add the iPad to her shopping list and retreat to the couch for more football.
My wife returns with the loot. We pack up the girl and head for home, but I can’t wait. I open the iPad on the way.
I put the iPad on the charger and get the girl ready for bed.
The girl is down but I’m tired from rocking in a dark room for 40 minutes. I bring the iPad to my nightstand and fall into bed. I fall asleep.
Fire! Oh, how it burns. My chest rages with the heat of 1,000 infernos. I sit up and realize it’s heartburn. I walk to the sink and spit. Then promptly swallow a handful of TUMS.
My heartburn subsides. I feel good. I’ve slept most the day so I’m not tired. I look over at my wife, then down at the dog on the foot of the bed. I check the monitor. The girl is sound asleep. I’m at peace with the holiday. I am thankful.
I grab my shiny new iPad from the nightstand. I open a Google Doc and title it Diary. My fingers dance across the keys as if the on-screen keyboard is the only one I’ve ever known. I begin to write:
“I have tremendous news for you, dear reader…