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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
 
I want to Thank ya Fa Lettin Me Be Mice Elf...Again

Upon reflection I have come to believe Thanksgiving to be the strangest holiday of the year. This estimation has nothing to do with the actual rituals of thanksgiving -- which really only include eating -- nor is this judgement a reflection of the holiday's origins or purposes. It just feels like strange things always seem to happen on thanksgiving. Things don't seem to fit within the boundaries of a simple, humble, family get-together.

Sure, you might get a little crazy on New Year's, but that sort of thing is supposed to happen on New Year's. We all approach that holiday expecting the unexpected. Halloween is the same way. It's scientifically engineered to turn the world upside down for one night, so nothing seems to phase me on October 31st. Even Christmas has the whole gift exchange aspect that tends to take center stage -- deflecting the participants from what's truly strange: our families.

Thanksgiving usually means getting together with a lot of people you rarely see and spending hours and hours in their company. Mostly (at least for me) it's people you love, and have known for years, but for some reason that doesn't make the event any easier. Especially when there are a lot of extended family around. There's always this weird expectation that comes with being related to someone. I might not know anything about my 3rd cousin's brother-in-law, but I feel compelled by some strange bond of family to engineer a "closeness" to him.

And that's just the "normal" thanksgivings. I've had a few abnormal ones over the years. Here now is the story of my strangest thanksgiving. I apologize to those of you who have laready heard this.

Thanksgiving Reno Style

While I enjoy seeing my mom on the holidays, I hate traveling to Reno on Thanksgiving. One reason is because it's the busiest weekend of the year for travelling. Long lines, delays, and the general chaos of the day gets on my nerves. I always feel stupid being one of those people in a security line who waits an hour and a half so that someone can confiscate a pencil-sharpener that's the size of a quarter.

Because of this my mom and I usually work out some other way to celebrate this holiday. Usually on some other weekend besides the "official" one. However on this particular year (lets say circa 2000) I had braved the throngs of desperate travelers and made my out to Reno.

My mom is a staunch republican. She listens to Sean Hannity on a daily basis. Her television only receives the Fox news channel. She subscribes to the Rush Limbaugh newsletter. Volunteered for George Bush's re-election campaign. She's into it. Therefore it made perfect sense that we would spend our thanksgiving at the home of two flamboyantly gay men and their live-in "personal trainer" who they may have met at "The Bird Cage".

well maybe that's a slight exaggeration...the people's who's house we were in weren't really "Nathan Lane flamboyant", but that personal trainer guy...Wow. I've never met anyone who dressed for a thanksgiving dinner in daisy-dukes and tank-top that's 2 sizes too small.

This was a wild get-together...like some sort of mini-burning man with cranberries and stuffing.

The evening really took a turn for the strange when I was sitting in one of the large easy-chairs of the living room and tried to make conversation with one of the few other attendees who was close to my age -- a young woman who was playing with her child on the other side of the room.

We made eye contact and I said, "phew...I sure am full" with a smile.

These were the first five words I had spoken to her all day. She responded by asking me what my astrological sign was and than commented on how similar I was to her child's husband before excusing herself to go outside and smoke her 37th cigarette of the day.

To put it bluntly -- Chain-smoking, astrologer, single-moms were never really my type.

I'm not really sure what we talked about for those 10 minutes but it must have been good because as my mom and brother and I were heading out to go home, this girl ran up to me, gave me her phone number and said I should call her if I wasn't doing much that night.

Give me a break right? I mean this girl was kinda cute but there was nothing about her that interested me.

On the other hand this sort of thing had NEVER happened to me before. Women generally don't throw themselves at me. So with the raging flames of my ego properly stoked, I did end up calling her, and she DID turn out to be a stripper.

I found out when I we were riding in her car to a casino lounge and I was looking at her CD case which had "Nova" emblazoned on the front of it.

"What's Nova mean?" I asked
"Oh that's my stage-name" she replied.
"Ah"

A few minutes pass while I think about this.

"Um...what sorta stage work do you do...that would require you to have a stage-name?"
"Well, I'm a dancer..."
"Ah...and what sort of dancer?"
"Ummm....Cabaret"

So that led to some interesting conversation to be sure. Just so we're clear I didn't engage in anything -- totally dirty -- with this girl. Plus she picked up on me, and i only knew her "details" till mid-way through our evening together. So my conscience is clear. Besides I'm no prude.

But that was an interesting evening. Good Ol' "wholesome" thanksgiving. yeeesh!

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