The key to any really great depression is planning, or as we
depressive call it, worrying. Or living through the awful
things you know are going to happen before they do. Over and
over and over again. A lot of depressives try to 'wing it', and
this can be a big mistake, especially for a really major
Depressive holiday like Thanksgiving. Remember: A hostage stand
off is a sign of rage disorder - the lazy, violent man's
depression. Serious melancholia deserves respect, respect is the
bi-product of control, control is the house of cards destined to
collapse, just as you knew it would. Are we ready? Good. Let's
It's not 'never too early' to start planning a really major
Thanksgiving depression. The day after Thanksgiving is, in fact,
too early. If you get out of bed at all the day after
Thanksgiving, you had a really amateur depression, and even a
full year of training isn't going to be enough to make next year
different. You might want to work up to it by way of being
really depressed about Arbor Day. The same goes for the entire
week after Thanksgiving, which really counts as sort of
depressive limbering up for Christmas. I like to begin working
on Thanksgiving in the lull between the suicide ideation of New
Year's and the hopeless acceptance of lifelong loneliness that
is Valentine's Day.
TAKE CONTROL IN FEBRUARY!
While it's certainly possible to have a really great depression
at someone else's house, you'll always wonder if some of it
wasn't really their fault. A great depression often begins with
blame, but without self-loathing, there's no money shot. So
early February is the time to stake your claim to hosting
Thanksgiving. A series of phone calls is a good opening salvo,
but I like to work out an email schedule. Remind folks at least
once a month for the first six months, twice a month for the
next two and then weekly after that. Tell them if they want to
bring something that's fine, but they need to commit no later
than late May. The early stages of planning a Depressive
Thanksgiving are almost identical to the "OCD" or "Anal
Retentive" Thanksgiving, but it's a surface resemblance. They
think their celebrations will go well if only they plan and
prepare well enough! Deep down, you already know your
festivities will be a bloody train wreck.
DURING MUD SEASON, NURSE GRIEVANCES
Take the time to go over every real and imagined family slight
or snub thrown your way during the course of your entire life.
This is also a great way to make a guest list. The larger the
grievance the more you need to tell yourself that, via this
Thanksgiving, you'll demonstrate how you've risen above the
hurt. A lot of people skimp on this step, certain it will take
care of itself during the daily commute, or while trying
desperately to fall asleep each night, but remember; the higher
the hopes, the further the fall.
SUMMER IS FOR FORGETTING
This may seem surprising, but it's a key element. When the
weather gets nice, forget about it! If you're feeling
particularly brave, you could even 'forget' to send a passive
aggressive 'reminder' about Thanksgiving to all your guests.
Why? Simple. Every coin has two sides. If you don't have a few
weeks of feeling a little bit better than you usually do, how
much will the crushing ruin of all your Thanksgiving hopes and
dreams really be?
September begins with love and ends with fear. Spend the first
couple of weeks thinking about how much you miss your family,
how great it's going to be seeing them all again, how much
they'll love your children if you've made any, your home if you
have one, your many accomplishments, because really, just
getting by in today's world is something of an accomplishment,
right? Getting out of bed, paying the bills, trying to make your
shitty little shelter look like some place happy people live,
not screaming at your significant other just for having
self-esteem low enough to share their lives with you no matter
how temporarily... those are things that deserve admiration in
this day and age, don't you think? Do you see where I'm going
with this? By the third week in September you should be asking
your therapist over and over why he/she thought you could handle
hosting Thanksgiving, why didn't they stop you? When they ask
why you feel like you can't do it, cry.
Halloween is for happy, normal, overachieving, functional
bastards, which you are clearly not. For you, October is about
one thing and one thing only: Cleaning House. Okay, two
things if you're married: Cleaning House and Threats
of Divorce. Somehow you spent an entire year not noticing
that your house is where that guy who played Trapper John MD
shoots his commercials for "Save the Children". If you
had a pot big enough, you'd boil the whole damn place, and you
know what? It wouldn't be enough.
Choose a menu that any child could see was beyond your
abilities. A great time to do this is 3:45 am, November 1st.
Having abandoned all hope of sleep, though your body aches from
trick-or-treating with children so ungrateful they wouldn't give
up one lousy Halloween of their lives to help scrub the
baseboard heaters, gear up with a pot of coffee and the return
of an old friend - smoking. If you've never smoked before, now's
the time! Amphetamines are an option, but only for experienced
Depressive Pro. Remember! It's Thanksgiving we're trying
to make depressing, not the lengthy period of incarceration an
amphetamine-based family gathering killing spree. How many of us
have learned that one the hard way?
If you're going to buy a fresh turkey, reserve one now. Right
now. Or don't, it's up to you, I'm sure it won't be too late by
the time you do. Seriously, who are you kidding, get frozen.
Just remember that you need to thaw it in the fridge for four
days prior to cooking. Or five. I think it's five. It doesn't
really matter, the cooking will take care of any salmonella that
gets going. As long as you cook it long enough. Which is
important, but simple. Take the number of guests you'll have,
and multiply it by 1.75. That's the number of pounds your Turkey
should be once thawed. To get the thawed weight, take the number
of pounds frozen, divided by .34, and add the weight of the
butter, herbs and any stuffing you plan to cook with the Turkey.
Take this number, multiply times 1.998 and that's the number of
hours you need to cook it at 375 degrees in a preheated oven.
And you need to factor in your altitude above sea level. It's
okay to cry. You'll be doing a lot of it.
You need to call everyone on your list and figure out which side
dishes they feel are necessary to Thanksgiving. Almost everyone
thinks that if you don't have whatever side dish they've
developed a fetish based on, then it isn't Thanksgiving and
they'll be happy to tell you right to your face during dinner,
so it's good to know. What you do with the information is where
the creativity comes in. Will slavishly attempting to make
everyone's favorite dish make you truly miserable? Than go for
it! Is it more of a slight to exclude someone's favorite dish,
or deliberately prepare it poorly? This is YOUR
depression! Make the most of it.
Assign the kids the task of making an attractive centerpiece.
This will allow you to be shocked and devastated when the day
before Thanksgiving you realize it looks like a piece of crap. I
mean, come on, they're kids, what the hell were you thinking?
Was it a good idea to let a five-year-old work with a hot glue
gun? And if that mangled lump of garbage is as close as they
could get to a cornucopia with half a month to prepare, who the
FUCK is going to do the ice sculpture!? You, that's who. Just
like everything else. Make sure your kids know just how much
they let you down. It'll feel great while you're doing it, but
right afterwards, I think you'll be surprised just how much
their big, wet, anime puppy eyes bring you down. Mmmmmm, THAT's
THE FINAL WEEK
Where is your spouse? If you've been doing this right, they're
hiding. Maybe in the basement, maybe at the corner bar, maybe in
Aruba by now. Did they mention something about going out to the
7-Eleven for cigarettes? What day was that? Seriously, don't
push the most important person in your life too hard. Keep
perspective. The looming threat of divorce the moment your last
guest leaves may be less showy than trying to explain to the
grandparents why mom or dad isn't in the house let alone coming
to carve the bird, but it's not as good a motivator.
It's good to spend the last couple of days reassuring your
family that all their work has been worth it. All the food is
bought, if nobody bathes or eats or moves the house will stay
reasonably clean, you've scheduled every instant of the actual
day. Everything is going to be fine. Smooooooth sailing. This
way, when you go straight up mental the night before, it will
scare everyone much, much more. And that will make you feel
guilty and resentful. And what do guilt and resentment combined
make? That's right. Depression. Good job.
Before the sun rises, give up smoking. No one in your family
must know you've been doing three packs a day for a month. It
will be much, much better for everyone if instead of knowing
you've slid back into one of your filthy self-destructive
habits, they just get to witness your clinical withdrawal.
Remember, many scientists believe nicotine is every bit as
addictive as heroin. Ever seen a junky jonesing? It's very
depressing! And it's even more depressing to be one! You'll see!
Make sure you're as horrible as possible to your kids and spouse
before the guests get here. It will be a freaky, nerve-wracking
contrast to how incredibly sweet you are to them from the moment
the guests arrive. If the transition itself doesn't rattle them
enough, you can always shoot them the hairy eyeball whenever no
one is looking, or hiss obscenities under your breath when
passing them on your way to and from the kitchen. That way,
they'll know you're totally nuts.
If everything has gone according to plan, the Turkey is either
over or under cooked, some of the side dishes are missing or
burned, the red wine is chilled and the white inexplicably
heated and the ice sculpture looks like the upper fifth of a
turkey and two pilgrims struggling to free themselves from a
This is the moment you've worked all year for, and it's almost
here. Someone at the table, hopefully a really old person will
"I think before we eat, we should all take a moment and say
what we're thankful for."
And that's when you'll feel the fruits of your labor, as a
crushing tidal wave of empty, pointless, bitter despair washes
over you. A magnificent Thanksgiving Depression! And what you do
next will be all about who you truly are. Cry and rage, cry and
tear open your shirt, smear gravy over your naked chest, cry and
sink under the table clutching feebly at the legs of your loved
ones. Cry and beg for the sweet release of death, howl like a
monkey and bury your head in the turkey cavity where they stored
the giblets, it's all up to you.
You earned it! Enjoy! This is where the memories get made.
If you enjoyed this piece, be sure to check out:
Time To Be Thankful Again