Be Thankful, Mankato

I used to tell my family that I hated Thanksgiving. While this wasn’t entirely true, there are some things about the holiday that are less than desirable: The traditional Thanksgiving dinner is aggressively bland. (There’s a reason why you only eat this bullshit once a year.) Your relatives probably drink skim milk and Miller Lite. The Detroit Lions, despite their recent flirtations with above-.500 football, have been unwatchable since the Wayne Fontes / Tecmo Bowl era.

And then there’s the white guilt thing.


But I never actually hated Thanksgiving. I used that as a defense mechanism, deflecting bitterness over my station as a management drone at a big-box hardware store.

See, my extended family is based in Duluth. I live in North Mankato. I only see them on holidays, and when you’re mandated with a 4:30 a.m. post-turkey shift, that effectively strikes one from the calendar.

If you’re a retail worker, the people you spend Thanksgiving with aren’t your family. They’re the lemmings lined up in the bitter cold before dawn, oblivious to the notion of “giving thanks” for the things they do have, instead craving the opportunity to consume irrelevant bullshit at the expense of others.

And while many are quick to blame Black Friday hysteria on the retailers themselves, they’re only partially right. They wouldn’t be able to capitalize unless there were willing participants. The destruction of the familial fabric that binds the two most prominent American holidays is dealt by a two-way crosscut.

So, please, people: Be thankful this season. Truly. Embrace your loved ones. Treasure the time you have with them, and let that be enough. Stay home on Friday, because some people don’t have that option…and they might’ve spent their Thanksgiving alone.


You don’t need much more than memories and shelter. And the sooner we realize that, this country might take a turn for the better.