My Struggle with Turkey

Nov 172004
Authors: Johnathan KastnerBy Johnathan Kastner

Thanksgiving is the worst holiday ever. Not because it celebrates the slaughter of the indigenous people or anything clever like that. No, my reason to hate Thanksgiving is tragically even more hippy. Hi, my name's John and I'm a vegetarian.

On other holidays I can blend in with normal people. On the Fourth of July I swap out pig-dogs and cow-burgers for dogs and burgers of the soy variety. At Christmas I swap roast beast for roast beets. At Easter I free the ceremonial bunny and replace it with a lump of tofu, claiming the bunny was overcooked and is now squishy.

Trying to switch a turkey for a tofu bird usually doesn't go over so well. Tofu is the chameleon of the food world, but nobody really likes eating chameleons either. Turkey tends to look like a drool-inducing, golden brown cadaver, whereas tofu is more of a brownish, square-ish, turkyish thing. Ish.

It's delicious though. Soy is a miracle bean that can be magically made to taste like ice cream, cheese, meat, gasoline, even dinosaurs. If anything, my palette is more expanded than before I cut out a food group. You haven't lived until you've had Stegosaurus saut/ed in a nice unleaded sauce. Despite the wondrous variety of tastes and curious variety of shapes in soy, Thanksgiving is still all about the bird.

The bird is king of Thanksgiving in the same way that Santa is king of Christmas, but no one ever asked me why I didn't try to eat Santa. For one thing, talk about leftovers! No, for some reason, the bird is different than Santa. Probably because turkeys are so plentiful and Santa is too wily to trap. But this is just for lack of trying on the part of today's lazy, unmotivated youth. Think about it – he's probably delicious from stuffing down all those cookies.

Speaking of stuffing let's return the bird. Every year someone asks why I don't eat meat. I try to dodge this question because the answer makes me sound like I care about stuff and that's just so uncool. I've met lots of animals, even shared a roof with some of them, and they tend to be a nice bunch. I certainly wouldn't eat any of the ones I've met and I can't understand why being a stranger makes them more edible.

Granted, turkeys are dumb and dirty. But they've got nothing on dogs who, in a fit of post-upchuck joy, will attempt to re-eat the escaped food. And sure, cows are fat and stupid and just sit around eating and farting. Do I really need to mention the word "television" to make this parallel?

Someone's going to smirk, wave a carrot at me and ask how I know it doesn't feel pain. We can determine the answer to this through a complicated scientific experiment – bite a live carrot. Now, bite a live turkey. Which one pecked gaping holes in your skin? And what have we learned? Good lad. Have a cookie.

So thank you Thanksgiving. It's your fault I have to stand up for my values and stuff.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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