It is a Washington tradition to pardon one turkey on the day before Thanksgiving. The President decrees that one turkey will survive the next day feast. Of course, that also means that all other turkeys are fair game and stand an excellent chance of becoming dinner, then leftovers, soup and sandwiches. Happy Thanksgiving to the humans; turkeys – not so much.
We have a Thanksgiving family tradition on my wife’s side. We give a name to the sacrificial dinner turkey. We don’t select random names like Tom or Tim. We are a bit more creative and vindictive than that. We name the cooked bird after a person or persons who during the past year represented a real live turkey in our lives. In previous years, the turkey has been named after political figures (like a certain slow-witted former President), sports personalities (Pete Rose comes to mind), or someone closer like a work associate or (gasp) an absent family member (but never you, if you are reading this). Sharing your name with the Thanksgiving turkey is not an honor. You get carved, gutted and fed to the masses until they fall asleep with dried pieces of your flesh caught between their teeth. Not pretty and not complimentary.
A poll of my loyal readership might reveal a reverse trend from election day – 51% voting for a turkey named Romney and 48% voting for an Obama turkey (1% Gary Johnson I assume). But that’s too predictable so soon after the election. I can do better than that.
A few options that I will place in nomination before dinner is served:
Lance Armstrong: Not since Jerry Seinfeld’s friend Gary on Seinfeld (played by Jon Lovitz) pretended to have cancer to earn sympathy and a free hairpiece has anyone been doubted as much as Lance Armstrong. As of this writing, no one is claiming that Lance did not have cancer at one time, but given his challenges with the truth about PEDs, it might only be a matter of time. I think I’ll stop watching cycling on TV. That will send a message.
Gary Bettman: Known among hockey fans as The Anti-Architect, he successfully expanded the National Hockey League as part of a diabolical plan to ultimately destroy it. The NHL Commissioner now has 4 work stoppages, including a year-long season cancellation, on his resume and he is ready to add one more lost season to the list of anti-accomplishments. I would say that he sucks, but that would be giving him the benefit of the doubt.
Pollsters: The profession of “pollster” could not be less admired than it is today after the epic failure of the entire industry in 2012. That might be unfair. Democratic leaning pollsters, with their biases and their preconceived notions based on a secret love of Obama and socialism, predicted the eventual reality with startling accuracy. Both Democratic and Republican leaning pollsters share one thing however – we have blocked their phone numbers. No one wants to take their calls anymore, at least for another 4 years. My fellow swing staters know what I’m talkin’ about.
Whoever Decided that Adding Tim Tebow to the Jets was a Smart Football Decision: Tim Tebow is the most discussed second string football player in the history of the game. No one questions his talent or his faith, but both qualities will be better showcased behind a podium on the public speaking circuit than on the football field. The Jets don’t need a charismatic special teams decoy. They need…everything else.
Mother Nature: As an alumnus of the Jersey shore, I take her unprovoked attack of my homeland’s boardwalks and arcades personally. Hey Sandy, you got a problem wit me? You wanna piece of me? Mother Nature gets more aggressive every year, but I should probably vote instead for climate change deniers…but I don’t need an argument on the merits of science at the dinner table.
Ted Nugent: The Motor City Madman convinced enough people that his one hit song, Cat’s Scratch Fever, qualified him for a career in political punditry. We could name the turkey after Ted Nugent, or we could name it after everyone who listened to Nugent spew lines on Twitter like “Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America” and “Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools”, and thought “Yeah, he’s the intellectual giant of our political philosophy that we need to follow!”
The Chair: I cannot bring myself to chastise Clint Eastwood, star of The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly, The Enforcer, Gran Torino, Million Dollar Baby and countless other classics. I must blame that chair that just sat there on stage and did nothing to bail out poor Clint as we watched him grow older, angrier and whiter right before our eyes. If I blame The Empty Chair for letting it happen, I can still watch Kelly’s Heroes without a trace of pity.
Donald Trump: Too easy and frankly, appropriate for any year. I’ll save that one.
Privacy Settings: I will grant you that it sounds more like the name of a horse, but it has a certain cache. Not a bad name for a turkey, except there is no such thing as “privacy” when on the Internet, so there cannot be “settings” for it. Ask any general or his biographer. No fictional characters allowed, so I can’t use this one.
China: Because whatever ails America, it’s China’s fault, right?
White Guys: Why single out Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin of the Conservative Scientific Society? According to exit polls, all older white guys have prehistoric views on women and science and race. And we're all practicallt extinct. The only thing holding me back from offering White Guys into nomination for this year’s turkey is that I’m a White Guy, and close enough to old that it hurts.
Who knows who whose name will grace our bird this year? The only certainty in an uncertain world is that, if you are reading this, it won’t be you.
Happy Thanksgiving 2012.