ASK THE SMART GUY: Monthly column by Dennis Latham.
Cleo Mason sent in the question this month and her #1 rating for the Smart Guy.
Question of the Month: What do you know about Thanksgiving?
Four Thanksgiving Legends We Believe Because Life Is Wonderful
Legend #1: The happy Pilgrims celebrated a great harvest.
The 1621 harvest, when the Thanksgiving legend began, wasn't great.
Most seeds the Pilgrims brought with them from England had died. The corn did
well enough to double their weekly food rations, and the Pilgrims were happy to
be alive. The previous winter had wiped out almost half them: 47 people. Still,
they were lucky. Since most, if not all, were tossed out of England, they would
have been in jail on Thanksgiving.
One of my namesakes was
among the Pilgrims: John Latham. Latham in English means "out of the
barn." He had a problem with alcohol and was put in stocks for burning
down a neighbor's house while drunk. Later, he was thrown out of America and
sent back to England, where he was thrown out and came back to America. He kept
getting tossed into jail so he went to the Bahamas with another group of
rejects and starved to death. This pretty much describes all the living males
in my family. My ancestors were drunken barn peasants and proud of it.
Legend #2: From then on, we've celebrated Thanksgiving every year.
Pilgrims didn't party or always feel
compelled to express thanks. The Pilgrims didn't have another "thanksgiving"
for two years, when they held a feast because it finally rained. Life sucked
for them. They had to deal with the plague, malaria, dysentery, scurvy, lice,
syphilis, lack of water and food, adequate housing, waste disposal, racism,
persecution, taxes, and politicians.
The Indians, not exactly the peaceful, fun loving innocents portrayed in the liberal media, dealt with the same things and the different tribes often hated each
other. Their major mistake was to let a bunch of foreigners stay in
their country to cause havoc. Think about America right now. People never
seem to learn from history.
Legend #3: The United States invented Thanksgiving.
Americans consume as much as 4,500 calories on Thanksgiving, twice
what the FDA recommends for an entire day. Humans have been holding harvest
festivals for ages. We may wish we invented Thanksgiving, but we didn't.
In ancient times, Middle
Eastern peoples offered wheat to "The Great Mother". They still do
that here, but many people put an F word on the end of it. We can all be
thankful our celebrations aren't like the Aztecs. Each year they would behead a
young virgin girl as a sacrifice to the corn goddess. What a fun group.
Our Thanksgivings are more civilized. Instead of chopping off
young virgin heads, we kill several thousand in car wrecks and a few hundred
more in armed robberies. Several thousand more die of heart attacks, and as a
nation we gain a combined total of six billion pounds in one weekend. Most
Americans are shaped like Scarlett O'Hara wearing a hoop skirt.
Legend #4: The Pilgrims Ate Turkey.
There is no proof the Pilgrims ate turkey on Thanksgiving. They
ate anything they could force in their mouth that wouldn’t bite or make them
puke; kind of like drunks at a cheap hamburger joint at three in the morning,
where all the waitresses have homemade tattoos, let cigarettes dangle from
their mouths, and cuss a lot.
Still, Thanksgiving represents living in America, where most
people have more stuff than the average world peasant, and true freedom
still exists more than anywhere else on earth.
The Smart Guy (far left) noses out competition to win the 2004 Thanksgiving Day Snort Contest in an unnamed border town.