Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Screw Thanksgiving

I'd like to say worse about Thanksgiving right away, but I guess it wouldn't do to title my latest rant, "FUCK THANKSGIVING." Allow me to explain.

I'm a first generation American, and proud of it. My folks came to this country to study and make a better life. Through a lot of hard work they got a good life. My pop worked his ass off, and he died to give me a better life than what he could have had if he had stayed in Korea. A little over 14 years ago, my pop passed away from a protracted battle with Colo-Rectal cancer. I saw that once proud man die by inches. He passed away on 21 November 1996 - a few days before Thanksgiving.

When I was a college freshman in 1985, I had to go to a local hospital for a check up. Simon's Rock of Bard College is a small liberal arts school in the Berkshires, and they didn't have the facilities, so I had to take a van ride to get sorted out. On top of that, I was 16 at the time (don't ask), so driving a van was not in question. An older student named Kevin Hodges drove me there, and his girlfriend drove on the way back. Unfortunately on the way back to campus, there was a serious accident. If I had been sitting 6 inches to the right, my head would have been cleaved in two by the guard rail that impaled the van. I was knocked unconscious and when I came to, I saw that Kevin was knocked out of the van. I later found out that he had been DOA with a big hole in his aorta. That was on Thanksgiving. On top of that, right after I came to, it took about 15 minutes before someone stopped to see if they could help. There's a van impaled on a fucking guard rail, and nobody stopped for 15 minutes. I guarantee you - Thanksgiving has had a whole different meaning for me since then, but even before the accident, Thanksgiving didn't mean shit to me.

As a kid, I lived in lots of different places where there weren't a whole lot of people who looked like me. I assimilated fairly well wherever I lived, however, but holidays like Thanksgiving always pissed me the fuck off. Let me get this right - a group of white people try to escape religious persecution in Europe and head off for the new world. They settle in an area completely ill-equipped to survive and depend upon the kindness of those who lived there. In return, these people raped, pillaged, and decimated these natives. They started a culture of bum-rushing natives off the land they had, but they were kind enough to leave them with tasty smallpox and other treats.

And I'm supposed to celebrate this by eating a fucking turkey, pumpkin pie with marshmallows, cranberry sauce, and shitloads of other stuff that I normally wouldn't eat any other time of the year? I'm supposed to eat like a fucking pig when people are starving around the world? FUCK and NO. Even before I went vegan, I never liked turkey. My mother is a great cook (no matter how much I kid her) but she never liked preparing turkey. I grew up thinking that most people ate turkey during Thanksgiving and Christmas. Now if you like eating turkey throughout the year, that's one thing, but it's pretty goddamn mean spirited to go out of your way to whack a bird and eat it when you normally wouldn't just because it's part of some bullshit tradition. On top of that, it's fucking stupid. I'm not helping celebrate a bunch of hypocrites as part of a cultural tradition almost 4 centuries old that has NO bearing on my life. I don't remember there even being a lot of Koreans on the Mayflower. If Miles Standish was Miles Kim or Miles Chung, then I could see how some might see a connection between Koreans, turkey, and giblet gravy, but nope. Not my fucking ancestors, not my fucking tradition, and don't shove that horseshit down my throat.

After all I've been through, I'm thankful every goddamn day I'm above ground. I'm thankful for my girlfriend Dawn, my friends, my mother, and my pets. I don't need some bullshit holiday to remind me of that.