Thanksgiving 2020: Brought to you by COVID-19

  1. Eating: In 2016, The New England Journal of Medicine estimated that the average American’s weight increased 0.2 percent after Thanksgiving. It’s probably not the turkey, which is a fairly lean meat. It’s probably the mashed potatoes, stuffing, rolls, gravy, desserts, and of course appetizers. It’s a good day to bring out one’s fat pants, or as we as Americans have come to know them, our sweatpants. You know, the garment we now wear almost anywhere we go for any reason because apparently, that’s a thing now.
  2. Football: Football’s greatness can be described thusly: I like baseball, basketball, and hockey just fine. But I would have trouble sitting through a playoff game involving any of the preceding professional sports, even as great as hockey and basketball playoffs are, if my team that I root for wasn’t involved. (And they rarely are) However, I’ll watch “The Football Team from Washington,” who stink, vs. one of the crappiest Dallas Cowboys teams in recent history, and still have no problem staying riveted for the entire game. Thanksgiving now has three football games for us to enjoy. Are you telling me you don’t see divine inspiration in all of this?
  3. Four Day Weekend: Well for most anyway. My youngest son who now works for a local television station, and is officially designated as the “new guy,” has to work Thanksgiving and the day after. However for most of us, it’s a lovely and well-deserved four days off. As a teacher, it’s a nice break since statistically, suspensions actually go up between Columbus Day and Thanksgiving. I’m not sure why this is, but it must be a very agitating time of year for America’s youth.
  4. No Religious Observation: While it is a day to “give thanks,” (I mean, it’s in the title of the holiday), it’s still not a day with any particular religious designation. Our “Founding Fathers,” in all of their wisdom deigned this nation to be one that establishes no official religion, but at the same time, acknowledges a higher power. In other words, you can give thanks if you want to, just don’t bother me about it.
  5. No Gift Giving: Look, it’s not that I don’t like buying things for people, or at least watching my wife press the magical button that seems to cause things from the good people from Amazon to arrive on our doorstep seemingly every day, it’s just that, who needs that pressure? It’s expensive, and what are the odds you are actually going to get something for somebody that they really want, or more importantly need? Besides, you’ve got Christmas and Hanukkah for that. Can’t we have a day where I can just think about myself and what makes me happy? Is that so selfish?
  1. During regular Thanksgiving, we get together in our homes with family and/or friends. We sit on couches, or at the dinner table and pass food with our subjectively cleansed hands. Maybe there’s too many people so we eat buffet style, with our mouths hanging over the hot trays. We taste off of each other’s plates, and if our wives or young children can’t finish what they took, we lend a helping hand by shoveling it in our mouths. Hey, no need to worry, we’re all family.
  2. Regular Thanksgiving means travel for many. Sometimes by air, where we are packed into airplanes in the smallest seats with the least amount of legroom as possible, hopefully having the person in front of us recline their seat back, mid-cough if we’re really fortunate, and then all breathe in the same recycled air. A good old fashioned delay means extra time in these circumstances.
  3. During regular Thanksgiving, we visit our elderly relatives. “Hello Grandma! How is your compromised immunity treating you these days? How about a big hug?” Again, nothing to fear here, what kind of monster doesn’t hug their grandmother?
  4. During regular Thanksgiving, we sit back and enjoy the MACY’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. If we’re feeling ambitious, we may even go to the parade. It’s cool, we all stand really close to each other and watch as the stars of Hannah Montana, Blue’s Clues, and the cast of whatever Disney Broadway Play is being featured entertain us with that wonderful frozen smile upon their face which says: “I’d literally rather be anywhere else, and my God it’s cold out here.”
  5. During regular Thanksgiving weekend, a lot of people begin their Christmas shopping by actually getting up early and storming many of our fine shopping institutions such as Walmart for bargains while attempting to sort of not trample over their fellow shoppers. It may be crowded, but at least it’s crowded.
  1. On COVID Thanksgiving, we are being instructed to keep our family get togethers to less than 10 people, otherwise we risk Andrew Cuomo kicking in our doors, cleverly disguised as Chris Cuomo. Must we suffer alone, or is there another way to seek out the comfort of our extended families? Of course there is. Thanks to the semi-benevolent nerds who run the world and our lives we can now hold virtual get togethers, known affectionately as “Zoom calls.” I will be Zooming this week with both of my brothers since I haven’t seen either one of them live since at least February. At least by seeing each other virtually, I, as the baby-brother don’t have to risk “Indian burns” or “purple nurples.”
  2. On COVID Thanksgiving, we don’t dare travel since we could be transporting thousands of tiny stowaways, known as COVID-19 germs. Interestingly, air travel is actually considered fairly safe since the filtration systems found aboard our fleet of commercial jets works well at removing airborne microorganisms. Still, you have to negotiate the airport and restaurants, and other petri dishes where we all gather together.
  3. On COVID Thanksgiving, Grandma and Grandpa have to be loved from a distance. The elderly have found themselves more isolated than ever thanks to COVID, but many are choosing to stay that way due to the threat of infection. Other elderly however feel that they’ve made it this far, and spending their last precious years alone is not worth it, and they’d rather take the risk. Of course, with all of those superspreaders known as college students coming home from school, maybe a little discretion, at least just for this year may be the wiser course.
  4. During COVID Thanksgiving, the MACY’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will be virtual. What does that even mean? Does that mean I can film myself dressed up like Underdog, and march around my living room? Maybe I’ll lip sync to Man of La Mancha, or even ask my wife to lip sync to some Beyonce’ tune, cause you know, it’s Beyonce’.
  5. During COVID Thanksgiving, “Black Friday” is just more cyber-shopping, better known as “Cyber-Monday.” However, practically everyday of 2020 has been “Cyber-Monday,” so I don’t think we’ll even feel the difference. On the bright side, that awful trend that had retail workers having to go in and work on Thanksgiving was greed at its worst, so maybe we can consider this a rare positive side effect of COVID-19.




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Rob Hoffman

Rob Hoffman

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