I was recently told that my uncle (hi, Jimmy!) described me as having a playground in my head. Here's a little bit of what goes on in there.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
You Ask, Maret Answers
Carly asks, "I wonder if it would be better to spend Thanksgiving day working on a huge history project, or pushing it off to Black Friday. But, because of shopping and such, should I push it off to Saturday? But then, why not just wait until Sunday? Of course...it's not REALLY due until Thursday, so I could take a break overthe weekend and come back full speed on...Tuesday. Advice?"
Oh, Carly, Carly, Carly. There are certain things in life one need not ever do. One is work on Thanksgiving. Unless you're working at undoing your belt buckle or working a big belch from your chest cavity. You may also choose to work on getting the last of the whipped cream out of the can, risking being sprayed in the face by those little bits and blasts of air. But then you can work on not getting upset when everyone in the family laughs at you.
You can work on trying not to call to attention the fact that grandma has indeed fallen asleep at the dinner table again. Or work at waking her up by placing an odiferous spoonful of garlicky mashed potatoes by her nose. You can work at not focusing on the fact that you just found out your uncle's unsightly new girlfriend has knee trouble from "deep knee bends on the job." She was a dancer, see. It's only now that you notice her breasts sag down to her belly button and her hefty weight makes her shift uncomfortably in her chair. Your appetite is gone.
You can work at counting Aunt Trudy's drinks and work at placing bets on when she tries to gather the children up and take them on a teary tour of family photos in the long hallway to the bathroom. "Thish wuuuush your grrreat, grrrreat un. cle Ed. warrrd. Blesh his hearrrt. He died in the fluuuuu epi. epi. epidemmmic of 1918."
You can work at avoiding Uncle Joey, who likes to explain that he has recently built an underground bunker to prepare for the uprising of Mexican farm workers who will invariably come find him in southern Illinois and slaughter his entire family. Ole!
You can work on walking in front of the television during high-anxiety, intense football moments. And then work on running out of the room quickly as the screaming of insults begin.
You can work on taking care of the blackheads on your nose that you didn't realize you had until you went into your parents' bathroom. The one with the interrogation-quality lighting made more disturbing by the amplifying mirror attached to a metal arm on their bathroom wall. You could work at trying not to swing the mirror over and inspect your face, but you won't be able to resist. Work on the blackheads, instead. You'll find it to be momentarily satisfying. When you come out of the bathroom with your nose reddened, you can work at not caring if your family thinks you've suddenly developed a cocaine habit.
The point I hope I'm making clearly is that there are acceptable things to work on during Thanksgiving. But none of them are actually work. Which brings me to your history project.
Let me tell you a secret. No teacher wants to really grade 20 or 40 or 80 history projects, depending on how many students he or she has. Not turning one in would be a temporary disappointment, sure. But in the long run, everyone wins. You don't have to do one, and your teacher doesn't have to grade it. "Look," you can explain, "you and I both know I'd get an A. How about we just skip all of the work part, you and I?" Sounds reasonable to me. Perhaps you slip your teacher a Starbucks gift card right into the palm of his/her hand while you're having this conversation. It can't hurt. It's worked before, let me tell you.
And consider this: what so-called "history" is so important that you need to do a project about it? Huh? That's why God invented the internet and Google search. If your teacher wants to know so much about WWI or the Civil Rights Movement, direct him/her to Wikipedia, for chrissake. You don't need to put that shit on a tri-fold poster. It's already on the web. "Ever heard of the web?" you can say, in a mocking tone. Your teacher will feel dumb and you will feel smart, and herein lies your "A."
Go forth on this day that God made for us to slaughter and eat fowl and then indulge in a level of greedy shopping that only Americans can truly appreciate. Go! Go, I say. Embrace all that is in front of you, and leave this "history project" to those without the internet. Happy Thanksgiving.