jeanine fritz

S ome folks get wonky and sad around the holidays; Thanksgiving typically kicks it off. They miss their family, or they hate their family, or their family was murdered by a gang of wild turkeys and everywhere they turn this time of year, they're reminded of the horror.

Regardless of the source of the woe, there's extra pressure now to be easy-breezy beautiful during the family gathering instead of sullen and stabby, or to not feel like a loser just because you're at home re-watching "Battlestar Galactica" episodes and eating out of a cereal box, alone and pantsless. (A perfectly acceptable way to spend a Thursday night any other time of year as far as I'm concerned.)

But I get it, I get it. I've had my own fair share of holiday blues and I'm gonna help.

Now to ease the sting of holiday blues, you must first be distracted from your funk. Turn on your stereo and play some Funk. Maybe some George Clinton and Parliament. Funk doesn't beget funk; it cancels it out. Do a weird little dance, maybe thrust the hips and fistpump the air a little.

Next, fill your mind with weird facts. This will push some of the negative thoughts out. Did you know Franklin wanted the turkey to be our national bird? He thought the bald eagle was sucky and the wild turkey was brave.


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Did you know Native Americans didn't eat cranberries back in the day? They used them to dye their clothes and pottery. I use cranberries in the same way -- to stain clothing and other stuff around the house -- but only by accident. Allegedly I can be "a shockingly messy eater." (I'm putting that on my resume.)

Turkeys can have heart attacks. A bunch of them in a field dropped dead while the Air Force was running flight tests. The sonic booms literally scared them to death.

Did you know forks weren't introduced to the Pilgrims until 1620? They probably got cranberry all over themselves.

Now, are you distracted?

Next, be thankful other, more-horrible things aren't happening to you right now:

I'm thankful I'm not in a maximum-security prison. I don't think I was in much danger of that, but I've been watching "Oz," so you know, it's on my mind. And I'm glad I don't have to wrap phone books around my middle to protect myself from getting shivved in the yard, or that One-Eye Wayne doesn't tip my food tray over every goddamned day, or that I had to be de-loused recently. (It could really kick off an interesting discussion at the Thanksgiving table if you chose to be thankful for something like this out loud.)

Be thankful for your secrets:

I'm thankful nobody knows there's two-week old Indian food stinking up my fridge, or that I ate the candy corn I found under the oven the other day, or that there're about four holes in my favorite Felix the Cat underwear and I briefly considered fixing them with duct tape.

At this point -- with Parliament's "Atomic Dog" blaring in the background, visions of forkless Pilgrims dancing through your mind, and a genuine gratitude for not being eaten alive by fireants or whatever -- if you still feel sad, you're gonna have to get yer schadenfreude on. (It's the German word for deriving pleasure from the misfortunes of others.) Yep. Grab the hose, ice up the sidewalk, get yourself a bucket of tall boys and a comfy chair and plant yourself in the front yard. After you watch the fourth or fifth person eat shit out there, you can go back inside, take off your pants and get on with your life.