The War on Thanksgiving

The war on Christmas has claimed its first casualty: Thanksgiving.

What was once the sacred time to enjoy family and be grateful for small and simple pleasures has now been replaced with strategic offerings on how to beat the Black Friday rush.

How did we get to this place? Well… it’s been here all along. I remember back when I was twenty-something enjoying the holiday with my family eating turkey, collard greens  and sweet potato pie all while watching Detroit and Dallas football games.

At that time, my immediate family was small. So, when the stuffing and conversation wore off, I headed for the meat market known as The Pub. That was the moment I realized the war was beginning.

When I walked through the bar’s front door, all I saw was a full dance floor and aisles cluttered with people filled with libation talking sloppy and poetically stumbling. My first thought wasn’t the usual “What chick can I spit game to?” It was “Why are people working?”.

I’d thought this was time to enjoy your parents’ company and catch up with the siblings. But yet, here I was in a club hunting for women and a buzz.

It wasn’t Thanksgiving anymore.

Another Thanksgiving-ish battle I recall was inside my 1996 Pontiac Grand Am. My wife and I were planning to buy a big screen television for a recently purchased home.

In previous times, we would use Black Friday to take advantage of the gifts we wanted to grab for our loved ones. But not this year. We decided to be selfish and get some of the big ticket items for ourselves.  In the midwestern part of the U.S., especially in November, it gets cold. Very Cold! On top of that stress, try having to get up three in the morning to beat any kind of rush to the big box appliance store.

The store, HHGregg, was open at 6 a.m. We “camped out” in the parking two hours prior. My car’s heat was something to be desired. It seemed more like two days while waiting. Finally, we got inside and grabbed our Hitachi 46″ that we still have to this day.

Our television

Our television

The only problem: It was too big for the car. We had to shell out extra dough for the delivery the following weekend. What made it so sick was the sales guy’s smirk.

I’ve moved lots of TVs and appliances… and THIS is not going into your car.

I hate smirking.

The slow march to this new outrage is that we did it to ourselves. We are forever young, horny alcoholics that want the biggest, baddest, more gigabyte gadget cheaper and sooner than last year when we had to wait at midnight.  After the turkey dinner, Thanksgiving is no more. It’s just November 28. Companies are taking notice and have taken the “holi” out of the day.  While others blame Obama.

Wasn’t the overall purpose of Thanksgiving giving thanks? It’s been swallowed up whole and now a shopping day like the rest of days after it.  We can debate about the true origins of Thanksgiving and how we arrived at the modern rendition of it, but the commercialization of Turkey Day is on the rise as we continually whistle pass the graveyard.

R.I.P Thanksgiving. You will be missed.

One small whole-wheat pita
One-fourth cup marinara sauce
One green onion
Two tablespoons part-skim mozzarella cheese
Three (or six) turkey meatballs

Heat the oven to 475 degrees, wait six minutes, it’s done.*


*Not to be had on Thanksgiving.

SEASON: 87-59

THU, NOV 14 TIME (ET)      
Indianapolis at Tennessee 8:25 PM   INDIANAPOLIS  
SUN, NOV 17 TIME (ET)      
NY Jets at Buffalo 1:00 PM   NEW YORK  
Baltimore at Chicago 1:00 PM   CHICAGO  
Cleveland at Cincinnati 1:00 PM   CINCINNATI   
Washington at Philadelphia 1:00 PM   PHILADELPHIA  
Detroit at Pittsburgh 1:00 PM   PITTSBURGH  
Atlanta at Tampa Bay 1:00 PM   ATLANTA  
Arizona at Jacksonville 1:00 PM   ARIZONA   
Oakland at Houston 1:00 PM   HOUSTON  
San Diego at Miami 4:05 PM   SAN DIEGO  
San Francisco at New Orleans 4:25 PM   NEW ORLEANS  
Green Bay at NY Giants 4:25 PM   GREEN BAY  
Minnesota at Seattle 4:25 PM   SEATTLE  
Kansas City at Denver 8:30 PM   KANSAS CITY  
MON, NOV 18 TIME (ET)      
New England at Carolina 8:30 PM   NEW ENGLAND  
·Bye: Dallas, St. Louis

The Mission of Flexibility

I was interviewing a chief executive for a feature about female CEOs. During our conversation, she brought up the idea of “having it all”. She mentioned that it all boiled down to flexibility.
The woman, who owns a waste management firm, said it is up to the individual to know what “all” is. She narrowed it down to organization and flexibility. That got me thinking about my own memes of “having it all” and achieving general success.
Being organized is essential in my line of work. I wouldn’t know how to manage if I wasn’t in order. I’m at the point where I treat it as a game. I have an app to manage my time for certain projects. It’s a race to get as much done in a small lot of time. Add the urge to make lists and folders on any device I can get hands on, my little culture keeps me motivated and efficient.
But not every day’s the same. There are roadblocks and detours to get around. Organization is a daily mission, a mission of flexibility that exposes whether we have a Plan A, B, C and beyond. It’s a skill.
I actually learned it from a woman. One of my most influential bosses, she taught me the whole theory of organization and how to move on the fly. At the time, I thought it was a waste of time. I’d had to make a list for every job responsibility bestow upon me. Then, write a line-by-line description of every move I made. It was grueling as much as it was mundane.
The motto was, “write it as if a 12-year-old boy could read the instructions and do your job”. Not that my job was so pathetic  that a pre-teen could do it (it wasn’t, it was awesome) but in short, the plan was to keep it simple.
I was doing it so much that before long I looked forward to chronicling my work. The decrease of stress and worry was immediate when I dove into work projects. I was engaged and wanting to improve. It lead to raises, more responsibility and job security. When my boss wanted to know what I did, all I needed was a chart or folder to put on her desk.
The ability to navigate my mission of flexibility has been one of my admiring professional qualities. I still have all the charts and folders I made along with other plots and procedure manual I’ve made since then. It’s still helping me to find work and staying on top of workday.

What is your idea of “having it all”?

An Organized and Flexible Casserole
Six ounces of lean ground beef
1/3 cup diced onion
One crushed clove garlic
1/4 teaspoon cumin
One and 3/4 cup of cooked brown rice
3/4 cup salsa
One tablespoon diced cilantro
Two tablespoons of Mexican shredded

Doesn't it look organized and yummy?

Doesn’t it look organized and yummy?

SEASON: 80-52

Washington at Minnesota 8:25 PM WASHINGTON
Seattle at Atlanta 1:00 PM SEATTLE
Detroit at Chicago 1:00 PM DETROIT
Philadelphia at Green Bay 1:00 PM PHILADELPHIA
Jacksonville at Tennessee 1:00 PM TENNESSEE
St. Louis at Indianapolis 1:00 PM INDIANAPOLIS
Oakland at NY Giants 1:00 PM OAKLAND
Buffalo at Pittsburgh 1:00 PM PITTSBURGH
Cincinnati at Baltimore 1:00 PM CINCINNATI
Carolina at San Francisco 4:05 PM SAN FRANCISCO
Houston at Arizona 4:25 PM ARIZONA
Denver at San Diego 4:25 PM DENVER
Dallas at New Orleans 8:30 PM NEW ORLEANS
Miami at Tampa Bay 8:30 PM MIAMI
·Bye: Cleveland, Kansas City, New England, NY Jets