Thanksgiving in Turkey – No Jokes Please!

I don’t want to offend any of my Turkish friends by making jokes about eating Turkey in Turkey, so I won’t — and it’s easier to restrain myself given the fact that I did not eat any turkey and that my suggestion to stick a miniature Turkish flag in the top of the bird was soundly rejected.

Nonetheless, the dinner was nothing short of remarkable. The hotel staff turned our classroom into a banquet. We ate greens, mashed potatoes, and other Thanksgiving-appropriate things I can’t remember at the moment (likely due to the red wine I consumed, which was a Thanksgiving first for me but a practice that will undoubtedly continue when among friends). The Americans in our group took the opportunity to present on the holiday, which, of course, is not generally celebrated in Turkey. The presentation was aided by a large screen and my laptop, where we displayed representative photos of forgotten moments in history and charming videos of Turkey fryers catching fire (did you know this was a major problem?) and Black Friday shoppers streaming into a department store like a dam just broke. I was relieved to find out later that no Indians or Wal-Mart employees were killed this year.

One of my smart classmates told me that the name “Black Friday” actually comes from accounting terminology. It represents the main period where retailers are “in the black” — turning a profit. Of course, this would also imply that it’s one of the worst periods for consumers, who buy things on credit with almost religious zeal that will be obsolete in a year or less. This is one of my least favorite days of the year, and I was happy to spend it elsewhere. I tend to stay at home with my food hangover on Black Friday, and I equate shopping on any day of the week — black, white, or red — with a trip to the dentist’s office. In the larger sense, consumer holidays, particularly the kind that occur the day after we gather with family and allegedly give thanks for the things we already have, are, in my humble opinion, the best evidence that we are on a steady path to hell.

Still, if anyone witnessed any Black Friday horror stories like these or, more compellingly, these, I would like to hear them. The less cynical side of me is more interested in protests against Wal-Mart for its abusive labor practices.

I just hope my friends and family had as good a time as I did. The one thing I truly missed — other than Mom — was American football. That’s one guilty pleasure I still have not fully rejected. It’s the kind of thing that keeps you from thinking about downtrodden Wal-Mart employees and declining standards of living.


1 Comment

  1. Patty Courtney said,

    December 11, 2012 at 3:34 pm

    Big Smile! Matt! You missed me! How cool is that! I missed you awful, so Aunt Vicki helped me drown that loss in a brandy snifter and a very loud football game. Fatima is very pretty!

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