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Out of Focus:

Gobble, gobble

by Chris Veith


I bought a pineapple today, and the only reason was its shape. Sure, I like a good pineapple every now and again, but this pineapple is unique. It’s fairly lopsided, not the nice oval shape you’ve come to expect from Mr. Dole. In fact, when I got my newest decoration home today, I had to prop it up against a box of Tuna Helper. The green sprout out the top is actually at about a 45 degree angle to the pineapple, leaving the viewer with the slight sense of disorientation you’d normally associate with Salvador Dali, or a long night with man’s best friend, José. How this one got through quality control, I’m not sure, but I’m glad it did.


You see, this pineapple reminds me of my family.

At first it might seem like a stretch, but hear me out. Thanksgiving is coming up, and this is a prime example of the Dali-esque nature of my family. See, we have many traditions that we hold dear to our hearts, among them the turkey call and the turkey hat.

The turkey hat is fairly simple: take a plush turkey, cut a hole in the belly, and stick your head in it. If you can’t see, you stuck your head in too far. If it’s messy and smelly, you didn’t read the “plush” part of plush turkey. This results in a goofy-looking hat with the turkey’s legs dangling over your ears, looking much like a headset, as my uncles are fond of pointing out.

Were they content to look like weirdos with turkeys on their heads? Of course not! It was Thanksgiving after all. We go to extremes, baby! Enter the turkey call, a piece of slate that one strikes with a wooden peg, making a noise associated only with turkeys in heat.

And a good time was had by all, for all of about five minutes. If you want to know how much fun being in a room with three grown men with turkey hats on their heads and turkey calls in their hands, here’s what you do. Duct tape yourself to the hood of a car with squeaky brakes. Let your head dangle over the wheel well. Have a friend drive at three miles an hour with the brake pedal slightly depressed. Fun times, but watch out for mailboxes.

Speaking of turkeys in heat though, I don’t think we’ve ever had a burned or overcooked turkey. For that matter, I can’t recall there ever being anything wrong with any of the dinners. Except that sometimes I can’t walk straight afterwards, and somehow my belt shrinks while I’m sitting at the table. So this year I won’t be wearing a belt.

One interesting thing that’ll happen this year is a friend of mine from India will be joining us. He’d be all alone on Thanksgiving, so I’ve taken it upon myself to invite him to my family’s celebrations. Awww, how nice of me, right? Naw, not really. I want to see if he can make it through even one day with my family. I fully expect to be driving a blubbering wreck of a man back to his house that evening. We have a reputation of scaring off friends, love interests, large dogs, and telemarketers, with a specialization in sane people.

Which brings me back to my pineapple, somehow. I’m going to go eat it.



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