By Andrew Ramirez
Let the shamelessness begin. Holiday parties, over-eating and over-boozing, it’s a two month blast. All you gotta do is show up. Let the red and white wine flow all over your Christmas sweater. Sit back and relax in the corner of that overcrowded room as your paper plate makes like a dead flower and wilts under the weight of all them potatoes and cranberry sauce.
But a rule of holiday thumb: Don’t ever feel bad because it’s not just you or me. Since day one–over the course of these twenty-one years of mine–the traditions have been so frozen by time, solidified into such a hardened concrete state, that any reasonable request for holiday change would be like smashing crucifixes in the Vatican or telling a girlfriend, Honey, it’s not the dress, I think it’s you.
Breaking tradition means taking the rug out from underneath any stable family, and to the wrong pair of ears, Instead of turkey how about Chinese? is the same as saying Should we burn the flag before or after we drown the senator? I mean, all these widespread traditions like snakes on my back, like how the Dallas Cowboys play the Washington Redskins every year for the Thanksgiving game, or the way my family and I wrap our Texas arms around the TV, chewing, chewing, chewing through all that turkey and How Are Yous? I’ve Been Goods! and the way Martha Stewart won’t stop telling you how to perfect those paper pilgrim table Thanksgiving table settings. Holy shit, she’s even got a “Golden Harvest Thanksgiving Centerpiece” that promises to bring a “rustic elegance to the dining room with a combination of store-bought and hand-crafted decor.” How many shitty homemade centerpieces must be endured before someone puts an end to this Thanksgiving madness? How many good belts must be busted, jowls bloated, and nationalities offended before the family-intensive kitchen buffet goes away?
Six percent of me wants to hold chopsticks to a steaming bucket of Chow Mein and watch Tony Romo throw seven interceptions on November 24th. Another six percent wants the Redskins to win, but I know, like any good West Texan Romosexual, that the other eighty-eight percent of me is cheering on that bro and the rest of his America’s Team boys to the bitter, ugly end.
This is all to say that a break from tradition might be needed this Thanksgiving, before the rest of the Holidays can catch up and land their hooks in me. So I’m going to Tucson, Arizona with my friend who has a sister who goes to school there. Before all else–burly sweaters, Christmas music, rosy cheeks and one sloppy slice of cake after the other–for the first time in twenty-one Thanksgivings the turkey’s getting left in the frozen food section and it’s going to be Mexican food and Margaritas for me. Or fried chicken. Or maybe just cereal and I’ll cut bananas into it. I don’t know. But still, I raise my gin-soaked holiday punch–full of thanks–to whatever that meal may be.