Thanks for the Turkeys … November 22, 2012

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It was the first thing that came to my mind.

I don’t really like to admit this, because we all like to rewrite the history of what we did, presenting it as a bit more noble than it actually was when it squirted out of our innards. But somewhere along the line, a certain amount of honesty is necessary–otherwise, you end up being bruised and confused by your own lies.

When I discovered that I was having trouble with my legs, the notion of being inhibited in walking was not nearly as uncomfortable to me as the realization that a certain amount of virility, powerfulness and masculinity would be robbed from my profile. For let us be candid–a man sitting in a chair with wheels might be considered one of the classic turn-offs. If it weren’t, someone would certainly have considered using it to pick up chicks at the bar.

  • I didn’t want to be that short.
  • I didn’t want to be that vulnerable.
  • I didn’t want to be that annoying guy sitting around with a ready explanation.

I wasn’t really upset about rolling along instead of walking. It’s just that the stigma attached seemed fairly costly to my manliness and was going to permanently, I guess, rob me of the necessary sexuality to keep me from going bonkers. Do you know what came to my mind at that point?

Turkeys.

Maybe it was because we were coming up on the season–or that my brain just seems to fluctuate between periods of lucidity and inanity–but I realized that the turkey has a really bad public relations problem. You know you’re in trouble with the mass appeal of society when your name conjures images of being a loser.

“You’re a turkey.”

Or the even more pointed example, “You are a REAL turkey.”

It’s hard to hold your beak high when you realize that even if you have smoothed all your feathers and you’re looking your best, people are privately thinking to themselves, “Thanksgiving dinner!”

It must be especially difficult for the turkey because he or she realizes that they came so close to becoming the symbol of American prowess, power and patriotism. Benjamin Franklin, a notable forefather, pushed the bird forward as the candidate to be the nation’s favorite feathered friend. He was outvoted. I’m not sure what the count was, but the bald eagle won. It may be the only occasion when a bald creature won a contest over one with better plumage.

I don’t know what was in the minds of those who voted against the turkey. Was there hidden prejudice? Were they privately thinking to themselves, “That bird can’t fly!” After all, no one is ever going to use the phrase, “Soar like a turkey,” just as no one will ever be able to say, “Run that marathon like Jonathan Cring!”

And the final indignity, do you have to be killed, beheaded, plucked and baked, but for some reason, people step back with a scrunched face, dissatisfied, and think, “It’s not enough. We should stuff him with oysters, bread and seasonings.” And then, on top of THAT, when you’ve made the supreme sacrifice of your carcass–to become tasty–you’re usually smothered in gravy because you’re dry.

Yet, my dear friends, this is not the last indignity. Yes–after people have gorged themselves on your flesh, they have the audacity to insist that it’s your fault that they fall asleep during the football game, because you contain some sort of “hidden drug” which knocked them for a loop.

Do you see the point?

I was greatly encouraged by the plight of the turkey, realizing that I was still able to have a brain and be equated with intelligent conversation instead of relegated to “gobble-gobble.” (Oh, my dear God, is that the source of “gobbledygook?” I’ll have to have Jan look that one up.)

It is also important in this bad public relations swing, to portray the turkey as belligerent, habitually  pecking at things, in order to advertise and promote turkey shoots.

It seems that sometimes in life we all find ourselves in the position of being a turkey instead of an eagle. So on this Thanksgiving morning, and throughout the day, I will commiserate with my fellow-persecuted-old-bird, as I realize that I may have been weakened in some way by my affliction this year, but I’m still not ready to end up face-down on the platter.

I have much to share. I have much to say. And I’m thankful for anyone who has an ear to hear.

By the way … do turkeys have ears? That would be the final insult–or maybe blessing–to be deaf so you wouldn’t have to hear what a turkey you are.

The producers of jonathots would humbly request a yearly subscription donation of $10 for this wonderful, inspirational opportunity

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