By Gonz Blinko
“Over the River and through the woods…” I hummed to myself as the ex-dog and I walked north toward Washington Square Park. It’s the only song I know that as any association with thanksgiving. Upon reaching Washington Square South a heard my friend Ivor, an immigrant from Romania, call me over to the table where he sat awaiting some sucker to play chess against him for money.
“Where is your girlfriend? He asked.
“Still sleeping,” I replied reaching into my jacket pocket to search for my one-hitter.
As I filled the bowl with some chronic, Ivor asked a fairly typical immigrant question, “What exactly do you Americans celebrate on Thanksgiving?”
I handed the pipe to my friend and as he took a hit I started in, quote it’s sort of a secular religious kind of thing.”
“Explain?” He asked as I inhaled the remainder of the chronic in the bowl.
How does one explain Thanksgiving to an immigrant who was raised under the oppression of communism, was well aware of American history and quite well knew stories of Hitler and the Turkish/Armenian ethnic cleansing’s. As I exhaled I began, “well, back in the 17th century a bunch of fundamentalist Christians felt oppressed in England so they got on a boat called the Mayflower and set sail for Massachusetts, a place already known for its liberal views and tolerance of even the intolerant.”
Ivor encouraged me to continue as I stuffed the bowl again. “Here, chemo sobby, take the peace pipe and I’ll share a bit of our history with you.”
My Romanian friend took the wooden pipe from me and as his Zippo flared, I continued, “it was summertime when their boat arrived on Cape Cod and, as their aristocratic descendents would do for years, they summered on the Vineyard. They enjoyed plenty of fresh fish, lobster bisque and other delicacies popular in that part of New England.” I took the pipe back from Ivor and took a long hit as he said, “it sounds like they found paradise.”
“Not exactly,” I continued, “the Vineyard is truly lovely in the summer but as autumn arrives it gets as cold as a witch’s Dick.”
“I didn’t know witch’s had Dick’s,” added my friend as I took another hit off the pipe.
“Cough, cough… that’s because you come from a country known for vampires, gymnasts and the odd playwright. Why would you know anything about witches? Most of them are hermaphrodites you know and their dicks are so cold that they often freeze off so many people except the myth that they are all women but that’s simply not true. You should visit Salem sometime.”
“Thanksgiving?” My Romanian friend reminded me of the topic.
“Yeah, right… so these upscale Cabots and Lodges were terrific at fundamentalist piety but actual work, like planting crops in such didn’t occur to them so they formed the Republican Party and discovered a way to make their living off the working people, to steal the workers land and, ultimately, after importing honest-to-goodness slaves who were far less annoying than these Indians, they took their ultra-white March to the west and killed tens of millions of them.”
“And your people saw fit to make a holiday out of this?”
“Gimme a cigarette,” I ordered and Ivor
Obliged. I lit the smoke and continued, “United States didn’t make it a holiday immediately, and they waited for Lincoln to become president.”
“Didn’t he emancipate the slaves?”
“Yes, but to appease the skinhead voters he created Thanksgiving is a holiday to celebrate the genocide against the different minority.”
“And you still celebrate this today?” Asked my immigrant friend incredulously.
“Well, skinheads, neo-Nazis and the KKK still celebrate the genocide and, in many ways, Americans in general are quite proud of how we killed the Indians — so much so they put Andrew Jackson, one of the worst murderers, on our $20 bill. We’ve also added rituals like worshiping giant flying cartoon characters, wrapping steroid crazed men in plastic and forcing them to run into each other and eating enormous poultry-based meals.”
“So, what are you giving thanks for?”
Quote that we were able to steal all of this wonderful bounty from the people who lived here before. According to Americans, especially Republicans, God loves us more than anyone else and for that we give thanks.”
I dropped my cigarette onto the concrete and squished it with my foot. “Let’s go over to St. Marks and get some Turkish coffee,” I said as I started to stand up. My friend agreed and we started walking North East.
“Where you going to have your Thanksgiving dinner?” Asked Ivor.
“Peking Duck House, down in Chinatown, want to join us?”
“You got more of that chronic?”
“Then I’ll join you.”