Don’t Forget November

pumpkins-on-a-table-3094075Sandwiched between October and December, November is the bologna of months. Everyone pulls it out, gives it a sniff, then tosses it in the trash. Once Halloween is over, we blast into a frenzy of Christmas shopping and decorating, forgetting all about this beautiful month full of autumn leaves, crisp apples and carb overload.

We need a marketing team to change the perception of November from “Brownish month when we count our blessings” to “A kaleidoscope of excitement. And pie.” Okay, maybe “kaleidoscope” is overkill, and it’s hard to spell, but you get the idea.

Thanksgiving continues its reign as the best holiday between Halloween and Christmas but even the cherished turkey day has its opponents. It’s almost impossible to tell the origin story of Thanksgiving without pissing someone off. Let’s just say people living in America (probably not its original name) in the 1600s created the first Chuck-A-Rama, minus the carrot-filled Jell-O.

In the U.S., any holiday that has the tagline “An Attitude of Gratitude” is doomed from the start but what if we created a terrifying mascot? People like threats and merchandising. What if Gerta the Ghoulishly Grateful Goose (sold as a freakish Beanie Babies stuffed animal) flies into your bedroom on Thanksgiving Eve to make sure you’re being thankful. Not enough gratitude? She pecks your forehead and flies off with your pumpkin pies. Instead of Elf on the Shelf, how about Goose on the Loose? You read it here first, people.

What else happens in November . . . ?

Election Day! The first Tuesday after the first Monday when the moon is full and pythons are mating, is set aside for foreign nations to measure success by screwing up election results with fake social media content. As opposed, to genuine social media content. Consider this year a dry-run for the 2020 Apocalyptic Election to End all Elections.

Black Friday is also in November. What if we protest Black Friday sales and refuse to shop or decorate for Christmas until, call me crazy, December 1? Christmas is sneaky. Once you allow Christmas tree lots to set up in November, it’s an easy slide into year-round Christmas where everyone is miserable and broke. Charles Dickens could (posthumously) pen a story where we learn Ebenezer Scrooge was right all along, perhaps titled, “A Christmas Peril.”

Movember is also a thing where men are encouraged to grow mustaches to raise awareness for the importance of shaving – and men’s health issues. A group of women have also sworn to stop shaving for the month. That group is called Europe.

The first Wednesday in November is Stress Awareness Day, created by parents who realize Christmas is weeks away and their children are reaching frenetic levels of idiocy. Maybe November needs its own alcoholic beverage that we start drinking on this day. How about a mulled cider with a tequila chaser called the No No November?

Veteran’s Day is cool. World Kindness Day is super nice. But let’s tackle the real meaning of November. Pie.

Pie is the reason for November. With harvest foods like apples and pumpkins and close-up-of-tasty-looking-baked-goods-2955816.jpgpeaches and pears and banana cream, pie in November is as necessary as breathing, especially if breathing is slathered in homemade whipped cream or served a la mode.

So instead of treating November like it’s some type of disgusting mystery meat, can we agree it’s at least hamburger, maybe even a sirloin? Who knows, if we keep slapping Christmas back to its own month we might even enjoy the leaves, the apples – and the pie. Always the pie.

Proof Our Parents Tried to Kill Us

If you grew up during the ’70s (the 1970s–not the 1870s) then you’re lucky to be alive. The ’70s ushered in the heyday of processed foods, experimental products and sugar, sugar, sugar! The things our parents fed us have now been banned in most countries and labeled with the warning: “DO NOT CONSUME. Side effects include DEATH.”

I’m not blaming my parents, they didn’t know they were feeding their children toxic chemicals that would eventually ruin their lives and cause worldwide destruction. These are just examples of the “food” products that have left a lifelong residue of regret and triglycerides flowing through my veins:

  • Bologna. Yes, it had a catchy tune–and it taught us how to spell–but what exactly is bologna? Here’s the definition. Not joking. “Bologna is a finely ground pork sausage containing cubes of lard.” Lard!?!?! Yeah, my bologna has a first name–F-A-T-A-S-S.
  • Hamburger Helper. Exactly what is this product supposed to help hamburger do? Taste like salty cardboard? Mission accomplished. (Besides, unless a hamburger is ready to ask for help, there’s nothing you can do.)

hamburger

(This hand should have covered our mouths.)

  • Chicken Kiev. This was my mom’s go-to meal to impress dinner guests. And it worked. It was fabulously delicious–and had 750 grams of saturated fat, and 4,355 calories per serving. This ’70s staple of elegance had the following steps: 1. Take a chicken breast. 2. Wrap it around a 1/2 cube of butter. 3. Roll it in bread crumbs. 4. Deep fry in oil until your arteries explode.
  • Space Dust/Pop Rocks. I can hear food scientists discussing this product. “I know let’s give our kids exploding candy!! Hahahahahaha!!”
  • Jiffy Pop Popcorn. It was innovative and clever. You watched it pop right on the burning hot stove. If opening the tinfoil didn’t melt your fingers, the face-vaporizing steam streaming off the popcorn would have you in the burn unit for days.

  • Cream-chipped beef on toast. I hated this meal. Mom would open a jar of dried beef (with more salt than the Pacific), stir it into a mixture of paste and sadness, then pour it on toast.

chipped beef

(For the love of all things holy!!! Why is this okay to feed to a child?)

  •  Candy cigarettes. Just in case the sugar, chemicals and mystery meats didn’t kill you, we had these chalk-flavored candy sticks to prep us for the stressful world of adulthood. (Disclaimer: my mom NEVER bought these for us. But dad did!)
  • Textured vegetable protein (TVP). This meat extender was created for use in THIRD WORLD countries, not Utah. (Although some would argue Utah is a third world country.) Mom mixed this . . . . well, whatever this is. . . with hamburger to make patties, meatloaf and meatballs. She always said we couldn’t taste the TVP. She was soooo wrong.

This is only a tiny sampling of the types of things we ingested during our formative years. What foods did you survive? Did you grow extra limbs, eyes or superpowers as a result?