Thursday, November 24, 2005

The Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Tunnel Of Mixed Metaphors

I always found Thanksgiving a slightly odd holiday; an awkward trial run for Christmas and a transparent excuse for taking a five-day weekend. On the other hand, viewed as such, it's at least unpretentious and makes perfect sense in the modern world. This is something that cannot be said for, say, Guy Fawkes' Night. Guy Fawkes' Night struck me as the most natural thing in the world until I actually tried to explain it to quizzical Americans: "Well, yes, now that you mention it, I suppose we are burning the guy in effigy, but it's not done, uh, maliciously." (I still maintain, however, that having the nation's premier fireworks-related holiday in November makes much more sense than having it in July.)

One thing that must be said for Thanksgiving, though: I don't think I ever had a conversation with an American - Americans I knew well, Americans I knew in passing, Americans I happened to be passing on the street - in the two weeks leading up to it without being invited to eat with their family. The culture-wide determination that transient grad students not miss out on the victuals was really rather touching.

And rather than actually being thankful for anything, I always cop out and start compulsively emailing people this at around this time. Happy Thanksgiving, all.