Moreover, Thanksgiving was one of two times per year that we got to see my mother’s family during my childhood. My extended family on my father’s side was a constant fixture in our lives since they also lived in New Mexico. The other side of the family, however, lived a thousand miles away and we usually only saw them on Thanksgiving and during the summer.
Still, I also remember being in grade school and not particularly feeling an attraction to the mythology that surrounded this holiday. It was always presented (ahistorically) as the first vignette in a teleological narrative than ended triumphantly with the foundation of the U.S. The national “we” presented in this narrative didn’t feel like it encompassed me at all. This is not to say, of course, that I had a precocious suspicion of the U.S. as a child. On the contrary, I adopted and accepted the propaganda about the U.S.’s uniqueness eagerly as a child. All the same, something about Thanksgiving Day never really sat well with me.
In retrospect, it’s easy to consider the reasons for my apprehension which I would not have been able to articulate at age nine. My father’s family was of Mexican descent, which meant that their stories were never reflected in any of the reading that we did for U.S. history – ever (despite the fact that my elementary school was named Oñate and we resided in, you know, New Mexico).
My mother’s side, which was Irish-American, received a bit more coverage in our Social Studies textbooks. Yet, their nineteenth-century arrival hardly seemed connected to an obscure (and not all that successful) colony two centuries earlier. Moreover, given that both sides of my family were deeply Catholic (and, in all truth, fairly suspicious of Protestants), the Pilgrims’ link to “religious freedom” seemed kinda dubious.
Despite the inclusive national language that surrounded the holiday, I always felt like that stories of happy white Pilgrims and generous (but nameless) Indians was not really about me. Looking back as an adult, I also had the shock of realization that I was always assigned the role of “Indian” in the ritual classroom reenactments of the event by my Euro-American teachers. Seemingly, they didn’t see me as part of the Pilgrim story either.
All of this makes me feel a bit contrarian about such a holiday (Not that I won’t use the opportunity to gorge myself). Because of my ambivalence, it seems only appropriate to make it into an anti-holiday. Here is a list of things for which I am not at all thankful:
* U.S. Imperialism
* The Ugg Boot craze
* The dusting of snow that greeted me this morning when I woke up.
* Scooping out Cat’s litter-box
* Gas-guzzling SUV’s
* Unquestioned patriotism
* Men-Who-Lack-Balls (I am sure that Women-Who-Lack-Ovaries suck, too. They have just had a less immediate impact on my personal life).
* My seeming attraction to Men-Who-Lack-Balls
* The Catholic Church
* The ways that a racial “Indian” identity obscured tribal affiliations and unique histories of diverse groups.
* Black hats with buckles
* The collapse of the U.S. dollar in the world market
* The way that I almost always over think sex, regardless of locale.
* The fact that I spent two full work days in the library reading nineteenth-century microfilm; spent thirty dollars on copies; and used another workday tabulating information from those copies. All of that work resulted in only two sentences of text and one footnote in the Never Ending Research Project of Doom
* The total lack of quasi-passable Mexican food in Midwestern Funky Town
* The way that Mexican food is denigrated as not “serious cuisine”
* Sports of any type
* Simplistic Histories
* Media coverage of Brittany Spears and/or any ancillary figure in her life
* Poorly Mixed Cocktails and/or cheap liquor
* The “Milkshake” Song
* Blog Trolls
* Not having a gas range
* Holiday themed blog posts