Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Trytophanian Thanksgiving

Trytophan—an el camino acid found in turkey that purportedly makes people tired.

Scientists have repeatedly asserted that the drowsiness frequently experienced on Thanksgiving can be attributed to the eating of a big meal and not specifically to eating turkey. Still there are some who continue to believe that eating turkey makes you tired. (See wikopedia – trytophaniacs). I’m with them. It’s true. I’ve experienced it. I offer a summary of my day’s happenings as living proof.

This morning I was in bed dreaming about turkeys, and I didn’t fully wake up until all the cleaning around the house was done and the real turkey was prepared and in the oven.

And then the smell of the turkey cooking made me so tired that I couldn’t even help set the table and prepare the side dishes that I insisted that no one else make but me. (I found a secret recipe on the back of an instant mashed potatoes box. Hint—add extra butter.)

I took one look at the giant Turkey balloon in the parade, and my eyes instantly glazed over and I couldn’t hear a single word of the things people were asking me to do, especially about vacuuming the living room or answering the door. You’d think by the way she went on that Aunt Gilda had never waited out in the freezing rain for ten minutes before.

Then came actually eating the turkey. I was so sleepy during the meal that there was no way I could fight back the belching—let alone say “excuse me Pilgrim,” as is the custom of the day.

Then after the turkey dinner, I barely had enough energy to ask someone to bring me a turkey sandwich, while I sprawled out on the couch watching the game. Truth be told, I couldn’t even stand up when my team scored a touchdown. I had to just raise my two hands above my head, then fold them back behind my head. I was asleep by the time the extra point went through.

I probably should not have had that last turkey sandwich. My drowsiness got so bad that I could not even control what I was saying or doing. There’s no way that I normally would have kept asking Aunt Gilda to loan my thirty-five dollars. And I certainly wouldn’t have slipped her a note that read: put the cash in my pie or a Pilgrim gets it. I had ancestors who were Pilgrims (or maybe it was pilferers—whichever is the one where they were the big hats with buckles on them and steal packs of gum from stores).

I was so tired from all that turkey that there was no way I could help with the dishes or even tell anyone that I had put my dirty plate under the couch because I was too sleepy to take it to the sink. It took all my energy to keep yelling to my wife from the kitchen to come join me and I would do the dishes later. Although, I think that last part was the turkey talking. I meant to say the dishes would get done later.

I usually stay too sleepy to help with the dishes for several months.

At one point my mother pulled me aside and said she needed to talk to me about something really important. Tears rolled down her cheeks and she drew me close. I could smell the turkey on her breath, and I was asleep by the time she could control her tears enough to start talking.

When saying goodbye to all of our guests I would have loved to have zipped up my fly, which I just noticed was down, but by then I was totally exhausted. All I could muster to do was give a half wave and mumble “gobble gobble.”

I didn’t even have the ambition to tell them to come again sometime or even to give Uncle John his coat back—even after he asked for it a couple of times. Give it a rest John. Man, give that guy some more turkey.

Before dozing off for my third nap, I thought about all the pilgrims and why they were so set on eating turkey all the time. Were they having trouble sleeping? Did they want their Native American guests to do the dishes? Was that really “so rude and embarrassing?”

Before crashing for the evening, I complained to my wife about the effects of all this turkey on my system. She said that she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary in my behavior today. I guess maybe she wasn’t quite as sharp as usual; she did have a little turkey herself.

Well, when all is said and done, maybe I still haven’t convinced you of the effects of tryptophan. But at least, I can leave you all with this—the pilgrim’s Thanksgiving prayer:

A happy turkey to all, and to all a good gizzard. Gobble, gobble. Amen.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I've Gone Political

I do not often delve into politics on this blog, but only because I don't know who any of the people are or take the time to find out what the issues are, not because I don't care.

In fact, I have had some really amazing experiences with the political process, even as recently as last week. When I went into the voting booth, a strong emotion swept over me as I realized something--I was in a telephone booth. It had been so long since I had seen one of them, I had forgotten what they looked like and got confused. It turns out that our state does mail in votes only. (The emotion that swept over me was embarrassment, which is somehow easy to mistake with voter's pride.)

By the way, I did end up filling out my ballot and mailed it overnight priority mail to that telephone booth. And that time, there was no mistaking the voter's pride of knowing that my vote counted.

So with that being said, I've elected to turn this blog into a political forum. Relax. I know what you're thinking. What's a white house? There's an "n" in government? You'll catch on. Thirty percent of the populus does. So please, E. pluribus your unum and be prepared to be moved politically.

History in the Making

We have recently witnessed an historic election--the first African American to be elected as president. I think we all share the feeling that a barrier has been broken. This is almost as big as when George W. Bush was elected president. That was the first time that a father and a son had both been elected President of the United States.

I remember after that election sitting in my room thinking. I sat there imagining all the young men, who upon their fathers being sworn into office must have thought, "well, so much for me being president." They never conceived that they would have a chance.

And why would they? It had never been done before. There were probably tens of young men throughout our country's history who feared for their parents going into politics, afraid that the oval office door would be closed on their future. From the first son of George Washington, a history of sons being shunned was shattered by George Jr.'s election.

As I was back then, I again am reminded of what a great place America is. It truly is the land of opportunity. -- Obama's daughter in 2032. Let's make history again.