Thursday, November 23, 2017

Turkey, You've Got to Give Up This Jivin'

[Recommended listening. A track by my power pop band The Pits, from 1977.]

I was always a problem in school, often because I perceived myself as smarter than the teacher. Haven’t we all had teachers who, in retrospect, we realise should never have been allowed to open their pieholes in front of impressionable young people? My report cards were filled with AEUs — an A in the class, an E (for excellent) in study habits (how could they give me an A in the class without conceding my superior study habits (my main such habit being doing  my homework), and a U (unsatisfactory) for cooperation. I was pretty good at wisecracks that would get the rest of the class snickering, but weren’t quite offensive enough to get me sent to the Principal. (Passive aggression has always been one of my main knacks.) The Principal, in high school, being an amiable dunce who seemed to exist solely to make a big display of drooling all over the cheerleaders at our frequent noontime pep rallies, at which we were expected to pledge our undying fealty to the bullying thugs and morons who staffed our football team. It was sort of like a high school version of patriotism. Get ‘em while they’re young! 

As they indeed tried to. When I was a senior, a trio of square-jawed gung-ho types in uniform came to tell me and others nearing graduation that, by virtue of having been born in it, and been educated in its dire public schools, we had A Debt to Our Country, which we could pay off only by enlisting for military service and fighting in, for instance, Viet Nam to protect Our American Way of Life. God forbid that the likes of Thuan Pham, should one day become Uber’s CTO, or that Tommy Pham, no relation, should play for the St. Louis Cardinals!  How I wish I hadn’t allowed their military glowering to cow me. They’d probably have gotten in major trouble for beating me senseless.

Looking back, I kick myself for not having been a great deal less cooperative, as when I was the Commissioner of Entertainment at Santa Monica High School, and the boys’ vice principal, rumoured to be A Major Movie Star’s baby brother, forbade me to invite local boy and girl made good Dick and Dee Dee to perform at an assembly because they were too lascivious, though lascivious wasn’t a word the guy wouldn’t have used, as he seemed to be only marginally smarter than the wilted house plant in his lightless, Dickensian little office, which reeked of the breath mints he sucked implacably to try to mask the smell of the whisky of which he enjoyed a wee sip several times a day. 

But let’s talk turkey. It’s Thanksgiving morning. In SW London, you’d know that only from the several signs advertising tomorrow’s Black Friday sales. Dame Zelda, for one,  is not at all pleased with Black Friday having made its way over here from the USA in the past five years. We won’t be having turkey tonight, and not only because of Dame Zelda’s vegetarianism. It makes no sense for me to bewail my having deferred reflexively to the tyranny of tradition in my squandered youth, and not to blow a raspberry at tradition now. I will eat turkey only under duress, and never, if I can help it, on a holiday. Turkey just isn’t that delicious. It makes no sense that tens of millions of people sit down sheepishly every Thanksgiving to a meal featuring a main course about which no one’s very excited. 

Why are tens of millions not sitting down to broiled lobster with drawn butter?