I was born on Thanksgiving Day. I don’t often request a day off for my birthday because I know I’ll have one off that week anyhow. This almost always results in the regrets, but I keep doing it anyway, which sums up my entire life well enough.
I’ve long been on a love-hate rollercoaster with this turkey-addled mess, as has society. At first, it was kinda neat to be born on a holiday, but disappointment set in when I learned it was hit-or-miss thanks to our calendar. I still wore it as a badge of honor in elementary school, the Kid Born on Thanksgiving.
As I grew older, I began to realize how it wrecks everything when it comes to planning a birthday celebration, sometimes making it logistically impossible. (I want to say highly improbable, as Commander Data would, because nothing is impossible. Then again, some things are so improbable that they might as well be.)
When the social justice bug bit me I started rallying against Thanksgiving shopping. The Glorious People’s Revolution would not tolerate late nights and early mornings of work on that sacred day, but then the origins of the deal tend to sully the whole affair. I view it as a much earned day off, while others can’t forget the fairy tale Disney-fied handshakes between musket-brandishing guys with pilgrim hats and shirtless feathered dudes in fetching buckskin trousers.
It’s much more real now, today, while our government assaults and maims the descendants of the original inhabitants of this land on their land. State-sponsored violence on the Great Plains seemed like something long gone to a white kid in the 1980s and 1990s. Chalk it up to an inadequate Southern public school education, but it was supposed to be history, like bugles and cavalry charges. I was a young dude with long hair who still thought it was hilarious to do war whoops when my anthropology instructor, the late John Thomas, told us about the brutality of life on the reservation.
He conveyed tales of inter-tribal violence, which he compared to the gangs we were so familiar with here, in Arkansas, during the 1990s when Little Rock and Pine Bluff were the most dangerous places in the nation. He hinted at murders that would never be solved. He said that we didn’t know, we couldn’t know what it was like. A class full of white kids sat silent, stunned.
It sure is tough having to think about what you’re doing living on stolen land. My old friend John Weems, Advocatus Diaboli, whose birthday, as luck would have it, is tomorrow, would say that everyone lives on stolen land. There’s something to that, and while I still cling to the urgency of what is happening now, I concede that our governments (ancestors, kingdoms, elders, warlords) have never stopped committing crimes against humanity whether we support them or not.
I’ve gone on at length before about the violence we do to our fellow humans just by living. That Thai worker chained up in an ice house slicing shrimp probably appreciates the overpriced platter you just ordered at Red Lobster. Our slavery footprint is astounding, yet we can all watch Glory and get a tear in our eye. (12 Years a Slave? I’m showing my age.)
Whatever you do today, maybe take a moment to think about how you got here, and how the things you have got here. I’ll help you out a bit. It was probably given to you, and it was most likely taken from someone else if it didn’t come over on a container ship.
When you’re done with the socially prerequisite self-flagellation, have a good time. Don’t try to have a good time, because trying is setting course to break your ship up on the cliffs of failure. Just do it, as that old sweatshop empire of cobbling children would tell you. Embrace solipsism for two minutes and relax, like Frankie said.
Relax because you’re not always going to be able to, guys. You might find yourself in a hospital room on this hallowed day. I have. You might find yourself sitting in a nursing home. Been there too, and while I was just visiting, someday it might be permanent if I’m lucky (or unlucky, take your pick).
Maybe I’m talking to myself here. I can’t assume you don’t know how to enjoy things and require my magnificent wisdom to lead you to the promised land. I hope that’s the case. It means that you’re solid and I’m giving myself a pep talk, which is par for the fucking course. I have difficulty operating without bouncing everything off the world. Thanks for the pingback. I’d be blind without it.
That said, no matter what it means to you, have a day. Relaxation, revolution, revulsion, rest. Have a day then have another tomorrow. Have a day to hold as a beacon in the darkness ahead. Have a day, you silly fucks. Have a day. Have a day.
Have a day.