I’m a pig on Thanksgiving. I might be a pig the rest of the year, too. But on Thanksgiving, I’m deliberate about it. Feed me, serve me, paint my toes. If I have to do so much as sneeze, I feel overwhelmed.
(Before you rise up in protest and kick me back to 1955 where I belong, let me say I owe my wife for this annual fit of slack-indulgence. Without her consent, I’d be slapping peanut butter on day-old toast.)
It’s our strangest holiday. It’s the only day I pray for Siberian weather, so I won’t feel guilty about marrying the couch, where every Thanksgiving I watch the Detroit Lions. That’s strange.
It’s the only day I pull out the electric football game. I set up the little plastic football men in their frozen poses. Flip the switch that vibrates the field. Watch the guys pop up and down and run around in circles. Look, kids, the ’93 Bengals.
The game’s big, humming noise freaks out the dog. Or maybe the dog goes nuts seeing the linebacker locking arms with the wide receiver, re-enacting Great Moments in Hee-Haw History. I don’t know. I’ve never asked him. He’s a dog.
He reacts by biting the heads off the players. Not even Joe Burrow could score under those conditions. Talk about ruff-ing the passer.
One year as I slid the game from its box, a dead fly fell from the box to the floor. I picked him up and put him in the lineup as an extra running back. He was great at blitz pick-up. Thanks.
I like to day-drink on Thanksgiving. Most days, I’m dry until 5. On Thursday, I’ll be on Keystone #4 by the end of the Macy’s parade. Thanks!
That serves a few purposes. Sobriety and the Lions don’t mix. And I need something for pain should I mistakenly eat some aspic.
Speaking of inedible foods that makes you want to fast, no day on the calendar has more of them than Thanksgiving. The day has built its rep on solid fare such as turkey and mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Man, is that a smokescreen. The rest of the stuff I wouldn’t feed my head-eating dog.
I’d rather eat a plate of glass than a bite of Jell-O salad. Carrot bits, suspended in gel. The Pilgrims didn’t pray for this.
Brussels sprouts are little, bitter nuggets of vegetable poison. And don’t come near me with the cranberry sauce, especially the canned junk with the rings still visible on the jiggling sides of the glutinous cylinder. There’s a reason nobody eats that stuff any other day of the year.
I don’t especially like green beans. I really don’t like green beans with hunks of bacon fat coating them like jewelry draped on Deion’s neck.
Maybe you don’t know Hoppin’ John. It’s a Southern thing. Black-eyed peas, rice and such. It’s called Hoppin’ because that’s what ol’ John does as fast as he can away from the table, when he sees his mom bringing that bowl of steaming mess to the party. Gag me with a giblet.
Giblets are what, exactly? I used to think a giblet was that pink thing that hangs from a turkey’s chin all the way down his neck. “Look at the giblet on that bird, Timmy.’’ That’s not correct. For one thing, turkeys don’t have chins.
“The liver, heart, gizzard and neck of a chicken,’’ says the dictionary.
Are you kidding me? We put that in gravy and. . . eat it?
Excuse me while I go watch the Lions.
Thanksgiving dessert is almost infallible. Pie is unanimously thanked. Unless it’s mincemeat. Which isn’t mince, because mince is an adjective or a verb and not a food, and it’s not meat, because meat tastes good. Mincemeat contains citrus peels and. . . suet. Someone alert all the finches in the family.
For a special treat, slather your mincemeat in some aspic.
As a rule, our family doesn’t get exotic with the main dish. You won’t see any deer on the table, or duck or rabbit. Thanks.
No mock turtle soup (mock turtles are facing extinction) no anchovies in the salad. No roadkill. No alleged food that jiggles or rolls around. Thanks.
On Thanksgiving, the only thing more important than doing absolutely nothing is the extra paper napkin you have hidden on your lap. That’s for the Brussels sprouts, the cranberry sauce, the Jell-O salad, the Hoppin’ John, the giblets, the mincemeat and the fat from the bacon. And oh yeah, the aspic. If the napkin isn’t handy, try the dog. He eats anything, including football players.
This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Thanksgiving football: Paul Daugherty column on menu, Lions games