GRRR! Thanksgiving Follies

It's Thanksgiving week, and Mrs. Grrr and the rest of the family hopped a flight to St. Louis over the weekend to visit the in-laws.

Since I won't be joining them until Wednesday, I did what any married man would do when confronted with a few days of bachelordom:

I watched football.

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But I didn't settle for the HD set in the basement. No, that would have been too married-like (i.e., responsible and smart).

Instead, I hopped a bus to Atlantic City, where between games at the sports bar I could take in a few hands of blackjack. The fact that I was more interested in the Cowboys and Redskins game boded well for the prospects of me not losing my shirt.

Usually, I will sit at the table like a degenerate gambler until all the chips are gone, which is why my trips to casinos are limited to once in a blue moon.

Why the concept of staying home in an empty house was anathema to me I'll never know, but it felt cool to wander carefree through various hotel casinos, dashing between Caesars and Trump Plaza.

I played a shoe or two at each until I found a cozy sports bar on the pier overlooking the Atlantic Ocean called Game On, where giddy Eagles fans chanted the E-A-G-L-E-S tune after their team beat the winless Dolphins.

You know the season isn't going as well as the fans hoped it would if beating the only 0-and-10 team on the planet is something to be giddy over, but I digress.

Taking the day off before the holiday season really kicks in seemed like a healthy thing to do, because Thanksgiving is bound to be stressful.

First, I picked the worst day to travel by plane: the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

You'd think for as many frequent flier miles that I rack up every year I'd know better than to be anywhere near an airport that day, when all the Oblivions who never travel will be wondering why they have to take their shoes off at security and spend time being sent through the metal detector over and over again before determining that their belt buckle is the culprit.

Meanwhile, the line gets longer and longer and longer.

Planes will no doubt be filled with portable DVD players and Game Boys for the kiddies, but of course, no one thinks to bring headphones for their little ones. That would be too thoughtful.

Thanksgiving itself is always full of follies.

Plumbing always seems to go whenever family is visiting from out of town. It's as if the pipes conspire to burst at exactly the wrong time.

One of my friends had his septic tank back up into his basement — on Thanksgiving Day no less, with both his and his wife's extended families home for the holiday. The stench in his house ruined the day, and they ended up going out to a restaurant for dinner.

The news will be filled with tales of burnt turkeys, as frying warriors try to make like Martha Stewart and put their bird in a vat of boiling oil.

Stories of burnt-down homes on Thanksgiving due to frying turkeys are as common this time of the year as those obligatory travel segments, where news crews tape the endless check-in lines or Black Friday segments at malls, where retailers "are counting on this day to save their year."

For me, Thanksgiving is all about family, and wine. Lots of wine. And naps. And football. Above all, it's about giving thanks to God for all the things that make up my life, and looking forward to an even better year until we do it again next November.

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