As even Jared Leto knows by now, 2020 fucking sucks. There is a pandemic that seems to, somehow, be getting more and more severe by the second. There was a presidential election that tore at the very seems of our nation, causing us all to, rationally or not, question what it means to be an modern-day American. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. J Crew went bankrupt. No one knows what the fuck happened to season 3 of Succession. I was supposed to take a trip to Spain, a country which might not even exist for much longer and, if it does, may well never let a gigantic, bearded white guy from the middle portion of America through its borders again (unfortunately I do not resemble a person who is stereotypically amenable to mask wearing). Long story short, we’ve all, no matter our circumstances, had a rough go of these past 250-some odd days. 2020 is a year where we all started making plans. And Jesus’ dad started to laugh.
As I said at the opening of this post, 2020 fucking sucks, but, while it can change how and where we celebrate, it can only ruin our Thanksgiving if we let it break out spirit. I, for one, refuse to give in to the crushing yoke of the pandemic. Instead, I am deciding to look on the brightside, and, in commemoration of our semi-altered Turkey Day festivities, to list all the things that COVID-19 has done for me that I am grateful for.
A List Of Reasons I’m Thankful For COVID
1-It Kept Me From Engaging With My Drunk Uncle At Thanksgiving Dinner: Arguing with your inebriated, politically out of touch uncle while sporting a mouthful of stuffing is a time honored tradition as old as Thanksgiving itself. However, if there were ever a year to take a break from the annual back and forth, this would be it. After all, do you really need to hear more about how the cities of Detroit and Milwaukee were able to rig an entire presidential election when they can’t even rig their own local economies enough to not be the first two places you think of when you hear the words “industrial decline” (If you say you think about St. Louis before them, YOU’RE LYING!!!)? Of course you don’t. So instead kick back, relax, and laugh when the Facebook notification pops up informing you of your uncle’s diatribe about how the COVID hoax won’t cause him to cancel Thanksgiving, even though the attached picture shows him sitting in a room, eating a rotisserie chicken by himself. Like everything else your dad’s brother has ever said, this will be a lot funnier to see online than it would have been to hear in person.
2-It Has Improved My Personal Hygiene-During the course of my first 32.5 years on Earth, I washed my hands perhaps a total of 18 times, all instances where I either had an obvious amount of fecal matter caked onto them, or my wife had caught me picking my nose and made me wash my hands before I was ever allowed to touch her, or any of our possessions, again. However, starting around January, I began washing my hands compulsively, to the point where the skin on my knuckles, having felt soap for the first time, revolted and transformed into one giant block of dried epidermis, a problem I soon alleviated once I learned that hand lotion can be used for things the Catholic Church does not consider to be a sin. Long story still not that short, my hands are now clean enough to eat off, which I guess is the reason some people washed them in the first place. Either way, I know that when I grab a turkey leg on Thursday, I will be thankful that the trace amounts of boogers and poop I am transferring onto it will be far more trace than they were for all the Thanksgivings before this. That’s what I call progress y’all.
3-It Has Saved Us From Judgement During Bulking Season: Thanksgiving is the unofficial start of bulking season, at least this year, when trick or treating was effectively cancelled, and I lost any excuse I ever could have had to dress up as Captain Jack Sparrow and eat several packages of king-sized Twix while watching Ernest Halloween alone in my living room. As we all know, the great thing about bulking season is that it allows you to eat whatever the F you want: pancakes, pound cakes, crab cakes, pizza covered in cake frosting. The bad thing about bulking season is that you, generally, are still forced to be around people, people who will judge you for sporting mayo stains on your “work” sweatpants. However, in quarantine, you aren’t around anybody, so there are no prying eyes to wonder if you really drove all the way to Home Depot to buy out the hot dog stand outside the store, while not once steeping inside to replace any one of the 14 burned out bulbs still sitting inside a lighting socket in your house. This winter, we get to bulk alone, with the shades drawn. And let me tell you, there's no better way to bulk than that.
4-It Has Allowed You To Stop Lying About Santa Claus: Imagine telling your kids that grandma and grandpa aren’t allowed to come over for Christmas, but a bearded, maskless stranger is allowed to not only enter your domicile through the chimney, after already being inside an indeterminable number of other houses across the globe, but to touch and potentially cough on all your presents and cookie dishes and milk glasses, because custom dictates that we look the other way as a fictional character who may or may not resemble a previous version of Tim Allen that was still somewhat funny trespasses onto your property? C’mon now. Kids are just like tiny adults, which means that approximately 51% of them are smart enough to see what the hell is going on, which means that they already know that you can’t be putting out communal snacks for unknown visitors, not this year. So, parents out there, stop the charade and tell your offspring the truth. Also, you worked hard to buy their gifts. You might as well take credit for it.
5-It Has Made Me Grateful I Haven’t Committed A Crime: Anyone who knows me knows that there are exactly five things I’m afraid of. The Dark. The TV Show Are You Afraid Of The Dark. Rodents. Choking on a chicken burrito alone, with no one there to give me the heimlich mere days after my divocre is finalized. And going to prison. And, while the perverse nature of our justice system combined with fact that I have no idea what the words “mutual fund” mean when used in conjunction with one another make it very unlikely I will ever wind up imprisoned, I must say COVID has done nothing to lessen my terror at the prospect of being incarcerated. What it has done is allowed me to imagine a situation wherein I am essentially living out my current version of quarantine, minus the ability to stream The Queen’s Gambit or drink alcohol that was not fermented inside my toilet, every day for the rest of my life. That shit sounds scary you guys. And I want to do it less now than I ever have before.
6) It Has Mainstreamed Drinking Alone: It used to be that drinking alone inside a dark house was an unsavory activity, something reserved for alcoholics functional enough to still make mortgage payments, and non-functional enough to skimp on the electrical bill, in the face of a debilitating disease. But now, as the days and weeks and months and seasons blend together, drinking alone inside an unlit living room is something all of us feel compelled to partake in, a small respite in a cruel world that we can turn to whenever hate reading our uncle’s Facebook statuses are not enough. Drinking alone is acceptable now. Partially because we aren’t permitted to drink anywhere else. And partially because, in times like these, we need booze to survive. We need alcohol’s sweet release perhaps more than we’ve ever needed it before.
What I’ve learned that we need to do after living through the first 8 months or so of this god forsaken plague is to find the small victories, to create fresh ways to manufacture joy. My wife and I have tried to do this in a myriad of ways. We’ve invented new games to play with and against one another for varying stakes, drunk or sober. We’ve watched make believe chess prodigies conquer their own addictions to prove to the Soviets that America rules and affirm our own patriotism right when we needed it most. We’ve tried seemingly every type of frozen pizza stocked at the grocery store, relishing each bite of cheesy goodness as it burns the roof of our mouths, before comparing the pies' texture and consistency to one another like we are judges on Top Chef. We’ve done what we can to shut out the virus, and make our existence as fun as it can be. We’re doing our best to find the silver linings that #RonaLyfe has offered.
And that’s what we all need to do on, in general, but on Thanksgiving too. Sure, it’ll be different than what we’re used to. And no kidding, the current situation is far ideal. But we will still have gravy, booze, and, in both zoom and our hearts, each other. Thanksgiving is the perfect day to remember that, while we may be physically alone, we are not lonely. Thanksgiving is the perfect day to remember that we are all in this together. And if that's not something worth being thankful for, I don't know what is.