Remember that movie Holiday Inn? It starred Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye.They sang that song that keeps repeating, ďAhh, the holidays?Ē It was the movie that first introduced the Bing Crosby hit, White Christmas, and was about an Inn in New England which opened only on the holidays. Most folks consider it a classic. Man do I hate that movie. Man do I hate those songs. As a matter of fact, man do I hate the holidays. I have been known to make Scrooge look like a pussycat. Let me explain.
First there is Thanksgiving. The main thing this holiday would have going for it, besides getting to eat like a Roman Emperor, is football. Then the NFL has to ruin it by always making us watch Dallas and Detroit host the games. Whose brainstorm was this? There may have been a day when these teams would have been the popular choice, but that changed about the same time the league stopped wearing leather helmets. Now that John Madden has switched to Monday Night Football, I donít even get the usual thrill of watching him show us how to carve a turkey on the Telestrator. Boy, that stopped being special after about the seventh year.
Speaking of eating like a Roman Emperor, why donít we name this holiday for what it really is? National Binge and Purge Day. Not only am I required to sit down to the equivalent of a twenty-seven-course meal; I usually have to do it at least two or three times. First there are the in-laws (notice they come first), then thereís my family, then well meaning so-called friends, and of course the neighbors want us over for dessert. We canít ever get these people together in one sitting because well, trust me, thatís fodder for another whole column.
And the work thatís required to present these feasts is amazing. I watched my poor Mother work her fingers to the bone to prepare a meal that we would devour in less than twenty minutes. I swore I would not do that with my wife, and I donít. I stay in the living room watching football so I donít have to see the poor woman suffer. I have a tip for all you guilt-ridden husbands. Offer to help right when its time to mash the potatoes. Of course this only works if you are using a power mixer. Eye protection is advised. Just turn the thing on and get those little mixers going as fast as they will go, then drop them into the potatoes. I guarantee, potatoes will fly everywhere and you will be back on the couch before the Cowboys have to punt again.
Once dinner is done, since the women did all the cooking, itís only fair that we men help with the dishes. I have an answer for that too. My wife, just like my Mom, always breaks out the good crystal for the holiday dinners. Now this may sound cruel, but you only need to do it once to get a lifetime of relief from the holiday dishwashing. One Waterford crystal glass accidentally drops out of your hand (they are soapy and slippery right?), and you are back on the couch before Detroit fumbles again.
I know all you women are saying Iím a pig. Yes I am. Of course that is one reason I am in such demand on this holiday. I have been in training for the last two weeks so that I can eat everything in front of me and at least act like Iím enjoying it. This has served me well over the years also with the fruitcake dilemma we are all familiar with. What are these things made of and why does everybody keep sending them to me? First you have fruit, then you have cake, but for some reason when the ingredients are combined, you have a substance with a half-life that rivals plutonium. I would like to know what most people do with these things. Personally, I built a barbeque pit in the back yard with all of mine last year.
Everybody tells me that I get sleepy after eating Thanksgiving dinner because there is an active ingredient called Triptoewhatchamacallit in the turkey meat. Thatís good to know. I thought it was because I just ate enough in one sitting to feed a small third world nation; nothing like science to ease your guilt.
Now, I know I sound like a grump, but just wait, I havenít even started on Christmas yet. That will have to wait until next time. For this holiday I should mention the things I am thank-full for. I am thank-full that I only have to eat cranberry sauce once a year. I am thank-full that I only have to eat those string beans covered in mushroom soup with those burnt French-fry thingies on the top, once a year. Iím thank-full that pumpkin season is over (does anyone ever eat pumpkin pie, bread, cookies, soup or anything else with pumpkin in it, at any other time of the year?). Iím thank-full for another major holiday besides the 4th of July when I donít have to buy any presents, and Iím really thank-full that Iím not a Detroit or Dallas fan.
© Mike Ryan 2003
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