I won’t lie to you. As far as Thanksgiving dinner guests go, you won’t find one worse than me.

For one thing, I’m more fidgety than your 4-year-old. After five minutes of sitting at the boring adults’ table, I’m going to want to get up to look out the window. Or to go see what the dog is doing. Or to go outside and roll around with said dog in the muddy backyard.

But mostly I’m just plain fussy. Beyond fussy, really. I don’t eat much of anything. I just never cared for the act of eating and would much prefer my nutrition in pill form.

This makes Thanksgiving a difficult time for me, as you people go about offering candied this, jellied that and pickled those things, all of which sound just horrible to me.

It’s not you, my gracious friend. It’s the weird, unidentifiable stuff you have bubbling in your pots, roasting in your ovens and sort of quivering on your serving plates.

Seriously, is that thing supposed to quiver like that? I ain’t eating it.

Part of it, I suppose, is my dazzling unfamiliarity with popular foods.

Every year, when I decline your offer of yams at the Thanksgiving table, it’s not specifically because I don’t like yams. It’s because I don’t have any kind of clue what yams are.

It’s an ugly word, yams, one that hints at some diabolical experiment to crossbreed a fanged farm animal and a handful of dollar store candy. It also sounds a little bit dirty — I’m not always opposed to dirty, mind you, I just don’t necessarily want it on my dinner plate.

Don’t want any sweet potato, either. Why are sweet potatoes so unnaturally orange, anyway? Has there been a nuclear accident?

I definitely don’t want anything described as a “casserole.” As far as I’m concerned, the casserole is the Trojan horse of the dinner table, a sly way for you people to sneak foods that I don’t like onto my plate. Why would I eat that? You could have put stuff from the vacuum-cleaner bag in there.

I don’t like beans, so if you’re offering me something that starts with “three-bean,” I’m three times as unlikely to eat it. Go ahead and shovel it out if you want to, but I’m going to find a way to feed it to your dog. Or if you don’t have a dog, to your goldfish or house plants.

Anything described as “creamed” is probably going to likewise end up spat into my napkin. It might be the most delicious thing in the world, your dish, but the fact that you felt it necessary to cream it makes me wary. What was wrong with it in whole form that you didn’t want me to see?

Same with anything that’s pickled. If you had to go through the long process of pickling something, it must have tasted atrocious to begin with. The only thing that should be pickled on Thanksgiving is Uncle Linwood, who has that problem with the hooch.

I don’t eat squash. Squash is something that looks like, sounds like and probably tastes like a thing that was grown off-planet. When you combine the words “squash” and “soup,” that’s when I’m going to fake a heart attack and wait for the ambulance guys to carry me away.

Sure, I’ll take some peas. I won’t eat them, but they’re fun to fling with a plastic spoon. I landed a nice mushy one behind Uncle Linwood’s ear one time and he was so stinking drunk, he didn’t notice it for three days.

I’ll eat cranberry sauce, but only the kind that comes out of a can. I know REAL cranberry sauce is far superior, but when it splats down on my plate like that, it looks like a prop from a slasher film, and into the geranium it goes.

I’ll eat dozens of green olives, thank you very much. I like green olives quite a lot. Ain’t touching the black ones, though. Black olives look like green olives that have been left in a basement to die.

The word “butternut” just makes me giggle. I might try eating it, but as soon as one of you utters the word “butternut” again, I’m just going to spray it across the dinner table in a fit of Beavis and Butthead-grade hysteria.

Come up to me babbling about things like “parsnip fritters,” “chitterlings” or “caramelized” anything and I’m going to go ahead and assume you’re having a stroke. Each of those things sounds like words Dr. Seuss would make up at the tail end of a three-day acid trip, and I ain’t eating it.

Asparagus: Ahhhhh! What the heck are those things? Asparagus looks like the kind of thing I expect would reach out and wrap itself around my ankle in the dead of night when I let my foot dangle over the edge. Am I supposed to eat it? Or is it going to eat me?

I will gladly eat your turkey, your potatoes and your stuffing. It will take me approximately three minutes to do this at which point, if I may be excused, I’m going outside to play with your dog.

Or, if you don’t have a dog, your goldfish and/or house plants.

Mark LaFlamme is an underfed staff writer for the Sun Journal. He’ll accept gifts of jarred green olives. Keep the black ones to yourself. Email him at [email protected]


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