As one who has often been called a turkey during my journalism career, I feel that I am best placed to say something about Thanksgiving from the turkey's point of view.
By channeling my inner turkey, I offer the following thoughts not only concerning Turkey Day but also Christmas. This is another occasion for concern, thanks to Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" wherein a repentant Ebenezer Scrooge sends the Cratchit family a turkey, establishing it as the official holiday bird.
On behalf of the turkey community, not all of us in political office, it is my roosting honor and feathery privilege to be able to gobble up some newspaper space to bring our concerns before you.
You may not have considered it before, but the plight of we the turkeys is a historical tragedy. We were just strutting about in what you called the New World, pretty much minding our own business. To be sure, the native human inhabitants hunted us, but they had a decent respect for the balance of nature, unlike some.
But then the people with the funny hats arrived. Puritans! Darn busybodies! Considering the number of scarlet letters they handed out, we are not so sure they were all that pure, but maybe this is just sour stuffing on our part.
When you think about it, people in funny hats have been a menace throughout the ages, whether spoiling the fun with religious edicts or sending armies into horrendous battles.
Certainly, our species has nothing to be thankful for concerning the first Thanksgiving feast that the Hats hosted to celebrate their deliverance.
Of course, our ancestors hid. You call us dumb, but we are not that dumb. Still, it is possible that one of our number, being a bit curious (the curse of our species), wandered into the settlement to check out the mounds of corn and yams and found himself in a bit of a fix, or, more precisely, fixings.
And it has been downhill for us ever since. Somehow word got out that the first Thanksgiving was a turkey-o-rama.
Other members of Nature's creation also suffered because of the publicity. Sweet potatoes, which were just lying about in the dirt being sweet, were uprooted in great numbers. And pumpkins, whose only offense was being large and orange, suddenly found themselves in pies.
Worse was to follow. The new breed of Americans that followed the Puritans decided that a new breed of fatter turkeys was required for their expansive appetites. Thanks to selective breeding, we farm-raised turkeys today bear little resemblance to our wild brothers and sisters, who look like they attend Pilates classes when not up in trees.
You know what we look like now, don't you? With our massive thighs and ample breasts, we look like you. We are obese birds, and by all reports that is your problem as a species, too. And if you ask me, your senseless chattering about politics makes gobble, gobble seem almost intellectual.
Admit it. When you see us stripped of our feathers, set on a pan for roasting and basted in liquid, surely the image that comes to your mind is of a flock of bathers at the Jersey Shore, roasting in the sun on their blankets and basting themselves with sun-tan lotion. Why, Reg Henry was there earlier this year and that's exactly what he looked like. You could ask his embarrassed wife if you don't believe me.
And can we call it something other than Turkey Day? How insensitive to the turkey community. How would you like it if aliens came down from the sky, perhaps having spied the Jersey Shore from space, and declared a Human Day of feasting.
As it is, this cutting off of turkeys in their prime is ghoulish. In the last gruesome act, we are even refused a little blindfold or tiny cigarette. (To make matters worse, we are told smoking is not healthy. Even the smoked turkeys are told this.) All the appeals made on our behalf by the APLU (the American Poultry Liberties Union) fall on deaf ears.
My hope is that one day we will be freed by conscience-stricken humanity. To be sure, we will still be very fat but we promise to join those Pilates classes.
We do not mean to spoil your fun. Celebrate and be thankful as you like. Just do it with a nice meatless lasagna.
We turkeys would forever thank you on Lasagna Day, or whenever that scene appears in "A Christmas Carol" in which Scrooge yells to the little boy in the street, "Halloh, my fine fellow. Go buy that big, prize lasagna that's on display in the lasagna shop."
Gobble, gobble. Happy Thanksgiving.
Reg Henry is a columnist for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org