Thanksgiving, like the once annual airing of The Wizard Of Oz used to be, is an event.
Yeah, some people make it out to be dysfunction junction (and for them, maybe it is), but getting to watch football all day on a day which usually would be spent slogging through work is a brilliant concept.
And, of course, it is a chance to feast.
It’s like being king for a day.
Bring me gravy! I shall gnaw on this turkey leg in a slovenly fashion as these superhumans on the television perform amazing feats for my amusement!
OK. It’s not necessarily that dramatic and, as the Lions always play on Thanksgiving Day, the feats are not always amazing in a good way.
(though I cannot imagine how empty a Thanksgiving without the Lions playing the early game would be – it would be like a Halloween without a visit from The Great Pumpkin)
One Thanksgiving was spent living in London, eating some take-out pizza in an ice-cold flat.
And, in a cruel twist, my favorite team was making a rare Thanksgiving Day appearance. They would lose, in overtime after a bizarre coin toss snafu to begin the extra period.
It was a game that would have been maddening to have watched and it was maddening to miss.
Thanksgiving hasn’t been brilliant every year, but that year – no food, no football, no heat – is really the lone one I recall as being truly miserable.
As a kid, our parents dragged us off to mass. I mean, you have the day off school and can sleep in and lounge on the couch; the last thing you want to be doing at an early hour is trudging off to church.
When I was fifteen, the priest decided to use his sermon to rattle off a laundry list of accidental nuclear exchanges between the US and USSR that had been narrowly avoided.
(this was 1983 and two months earlier there had been all of the hullaballoo surrounding the television movie The Day After)
I kept having images of an extra crispy bird and excessively dry stuffing.
It was a bit of a bummer.
It was also a year when my team had a Thanksgiving game and Detroit bottled them 45-3.
But, global tensions and football smackdowns aside, I have no doubt that the food was good.
Of course, as a kid in the ‘80s, we had a lot of music with somber themes alluding to the impending nuclear Armageddon. But a lot of those songs managed to be far from sinister. Some even managed to be deemed perky enough to sell Burgers.
Here are four Armageddon-themed songs from the ’80s…
Nena – 99 Luftballons
from Nena (1983)
Several of my friends and I were taking our second year of German in high school when Nena arrived. So, we understood that 99 Luftballoons was a song about red balloons sung by a chick named Nena who didn’t shave her armpits.
Then, when the English version arrived, we knew the full, terrifying truth.
Orchestral Manouevres In The Dark – Enola Gay
from The Best of OMD (1988)
Paloma turned me on to OMD. I knew their hits So In Love and If You Leave, but there was an entire body of work with which I was unfamiliar.
Anyhow, Enola Gay is a sprightly little number about the bombing of Hiroshima.
Alphaville – Forever Young
from Forever Young (1984)
Forever Young will always remind me of a good friend from college. Her boyfriend, whom she had dated for several years in high school, had been killed by a drunk driver and she’d tell me how she would sit for hours playing Forever Young repeatedly as a means of coping with his death.
Modern English – I Melt With You
from After The Snow (1982)
Modern English’s I Melt With You is about as quintessential ’80s as it gets and with good reason. I’m not sure if I’ve read that it’s about nuclear war or it’s my own particular take on the lyric. Sure, it seems to be a nothing more than an extremely melodic, joyously upbeat song of devotion, but there is the whole matter of stopping the world and melting with your beloved which could be interpreted as a more dire scenario.