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An obligatory holiday post:

Posted by on November 27, 2002

Tomorrow, I am a cook. It is regrettable for a number of reasons. The reason it is regrettable is that I cannot cook really and the number of reasons it is regrettable is one.

My most important job this year is that I have to beat on the turkey until it stops crying and plays dead in the pan. Some years we just lie to the turkey. We tell it that it’s going on a vacation to sunny Hawaii. That often fools a turkey; they aren’t creatures of complex brains. Sometimes turkeys will stare at the sky and drink the rain until they drown. That is turkeys for you. Surely, God put this dopiest of birds on earth for us to massacre and gastronomically enjoy.

You know what else is an apparently stupid animal? Babies.

Well anyway, back to the turkey. This year we will probably eschew the more complicated hoaxing of the turkey in favor of just threatening it until it snivels and whines and does what it’s told. Besides, it’s kind of tough to convince even a turkey that it has a vacation coming after you’ve just stuffed its bottom full of bread chunks. Nothing says “You’re about to be eaten, sucka” like having a bottom full of bread. If, that is, you’re a turkey. (You might want to think about this the next time you let someone put bread up your bottom. No judgment here. I’m just saying.)

When I was a wee little sprog, I really enjoyed standing in front of the oven window where the turkey could see me and then pretending I was trying to open the door and let it out. I would wrinkle my toddler brow in a facsimile of concern, pretending to try with all my might to open that oh-so-heavy door. Meanwhile, the turkey would be shrieking, “Get your dad! Your dad! Find a larger adult with improved motor skills! NO! NO! AN ADULT! AIIIEEEEE!” Man, that joke never got old.

Now that I’m older, though, I don’t play that game anymore. What I do sometimes, though, is let the turkey try and bargain for its life. I say, “Okay, Bird, if you tell me where you hid the money, I’ll substitute the dog for you and you can go free. Otherwise, Rover here is going to be begging for scraps of your wing meat. Got it?” Which is just downright mean, since it’s not like you can expect a turkey to remember where the money is hidden. Rain-drowning, remember? Tiny tiny brains. Sometimes they’ll make shit up though, which is just laughable. “It’s in the, uh, in the kleenex box! The box!”

“Oh yeah? In the box? That’s funny, I don’t see any money in here…”

And then they try to think on their feet and they can’t. It’s pathetic. Just really sad.

11 Responses to An obligatory holiday post:

  1. brian

    knock knock gobble.

  2. Nuala

    Supposidly Turkeys used to be smart. In fact one of those old Presidents (our forefathers, I believe) wanted the Turkey to be the national bird instead of the bald headed eagle. He lost that vote of course and then bred out smartness in turkeys so they were easier to kill. Now aren’t we glad that the turkey isn’t our national bird. I mean as Kristen says, they drown in the rain.

    End of History lesson.

  3. Nuala

    PS I can’t spell.

  4. Jacob

    Speaking of cooking, will there be garlic mashed potatoes tomorrow? I’d love to help cook those….


  5. holohan

    according to the movie “1776,” an awful musical about the founding of Our Nation, it was benjamin franklin who wanted the turkey as the national bird. there’s this whole scene (it may even have been a song) where franklin, jefferson, and adams are arguing over what the national bird should be. jefferson wants the dove, since he’s a big red-headed wuss, adams wants the eagle, since he’s a war mongering jerk, and franklin wants the turkey, since he’s just weird.

  6. Nuala

    I thought it was Franklin but I didn’t want to say it and be wrong.

    I saw 1776 too! Did every bad California high school torture their students?

  7. didofoot

    well, wild turkeys are (were?) smart. that’s why there’s a liquor named after them. zimas were pretty smart too, before we made them all extincted.

  8. the thanksgiving doark

    “Sometimes turkeys will stare at the sky and drink the rain until they drown.”

    not true! turkeys, like most birds, don’t have binocular vision. their eyes are on the sides of their heads, so to look up at the sky they turn their heads sideways, with their beaks remaining harmlessly horizontal. baby turkeys often do die in the rain, however, and it is due to stupidity. unfortunately it’s the much less interesting stupidity of not knowing to seek shelter from the rain and consequently freezing to death.

    the curse of being an urban legends buff is that everyone hates you at cocktail parties. it sets you off from other kinds of buffs in that way.

    but here’s an interesting bird eye fact. owls, unlike turkeys and most other birds, do have binocular vision. furthermore, since they have to look for prey on the ground while flying, their optic sensors are concentrated on the tops of the insides of their eyes. so if an owl is on the ground, and wants to look up at the sky, it turns his head all the way upside down.

    owls also can’t roll their eyes, so they have that going on as well.

  9. didofoot

    aha. I had always heard the rain-drowining thing from my own personal dad, who grew up on a farm and would know. but just now I asked if he had ever actually SEEN such a thing with his own personal eyes, and, well, nope. he has not.

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