I love Thanksgiving. It’s the worst named holiday because it implies that you’re going to spend the day being thankful and giving, but Thanksgiving is the most selfish holiday. There are no gifts, no cards, no tips for your Super, no calls to make, and no dressed up babies that you have to fake care about. The only responsibility you have is to your pie-hole and to fill it with as much turkey, stuffing, and alcohol as possible. This truly is an American experience, it should be called “EatDrinkFartDAY.” Every year we come home to our families for one day of true gluttony and the night before is dedicated to the aggressive kind of alcoholism children run terrified from. What's more, the night before Thanksgiving has become a sort of unofficial, yearly reunion for every American college student and post-grad. Each year I live by one motto for that night: “DON’T BE THAT GUY.” Who is “THAT GUY?” “THAT GUY” is the one you wake up and think about the next morning, the one you call your old high school buddy to say, “At least we aren’t Tim.” Tim becomes the Xanax for your hangover. How can you make sure you’re not “THAT GUY?” Here are some rules:
Don’t Look Fat
Memorial Day weekend and the third Wednesday of November are the two times a year you can’t look fat. Memorial Day Weekend because it’s the first weekend of the summer and nobody believes that you kept your t-shirt on because you “burn easily,” and the Wednesday before Thanksgiving because, as I mentioned before, it’s a reunion. At any reunion, whether it be a year, five years or 50 years, the only thing people care about knowing is “Who got the fattest?” It's essentially a physical measure of success. Show up with an extra 40 pounds on your frame and everyone will wonder how your job of shoveling coal and being a virgin is treating you. Everyone will wake up hungover on Thursday morning remembering only two things: their attempt to subtly suggest to their high school girlfriend that they have a lot of indiscriminate sex with strangers, and who got the fattest.
Don’t look Skinny
No one is going to think your 15 minute bathroom trip was just to poop.
Don’t Be The Drunkest
Don’t get me wrong, everyone will be drunk, but you don’t want to be the guy that “close talks” everyone at the bar, then makes a run for the bathroom, puking on himself mid-stride, then comes back to the bar “close talking” to everyone that you’re “just fine” with your newly acquired puke-breathe. You probably don’t have a drinking problem but for the next year everyone will talk about you like you were on an episode of Intervention: “How’s Ron doing? Is he still puking all of the time? Does he still speak to people an inch away from their face? We should maybe send him a basket.” Then when they see you again they’ll say hello like you’re mentally challenged: “Hey Ron, how ya doing big guy? Is this the step where you apologize to me?”
Don’t Have a Bad Job or Major or Internship
The key to this one is creativity. Everyone will tell you how awesome their major or job is and that they are all millionaires. We know this isn’t true because, if I could, I’d show up to the bar with hundred dollar bills set on fire, riding an elephant like Aladdin just to show everyone how awesome I have it. You just need to get really good at making your crappy job sound good. If you work for the Parks Department shoveling snow, tell people you’re in “City Planning with a concentration in irrigation.” If you’re a communications major, tell people “you dropped out of school.” Trust me, everyone will think you’re a lot smarter.
I know that you've got a job now and that people respect you and that you dropped the baby fat. But don't let your newfound confidence fool you; everyone from your high school still sees the same person you were, insecurities and all. So quit creeping out all the chicks. Your aggressive stare is not the act of a successful young man courting his prey. She will not feel a stirring in her loins or a sexual intimidation. She will only be thinking of the time you sharted in gym class and kept passing it off as dog shit that stuck on your shoe. And so your stares signal to her only one thing: a potentially very smelly rape.
Don’t Wear a Sport Coat
The sport coat says nothing and everything all at once. No one is as impressed with you as you think they will be (especially with the plastic gold buttons). The guys working blue collar jobs will think you're an arrogant pussy (valid point) and the girls will wonder if that the Ketel One with a splash of cranberry you just ordered is the drink you use to roofie men. Just “Emmitt Smith” this thing and act like you’ve been in the endzone before: get a beer, dress normally, and mumble incoherently like Emmitt.
Don’t Be Depressing
When people ask you, “How are you doing?” they don’t mean it in the “please tell me about how that Match.com date didn’t work out and you can’t believe everyone is getting married and your job is really crappy and sometimes your hemoroids flare up and you’re buying a cat so you don’t feel so lonely” type of way. They mean it in the “I have to say these things because that’s what humans say to one another but I barely knew you in high school and you’re not hot enough for me to care now so please get out of the way from the bar” type of way.
Not one person reading this thinks they will be “THAT GUY” but every year it has to be someone. Someone needs to be depressing. Someone needs to get so drunk that they show the entire bar their right testicle claiming it’s a “bad mosquito bite.” SOMEONE needs to stare at their high school sweetheart in a creepy-maybe-he-just-had-a-stroke type of way. If you do end up being “THAT GUY” then reread these rules, know you are not alone, and enjoy the stuffing, it always tastes better with tears.
Jared Freid is a New York City-based comedian. follow him on Twitter @jtrain56 for videos, columns, and more thoughts on the best holiday of the year, EatDrinkFartDAY. You can check out his latest video from the Flugtag here.