The Geek Guide To Surviving Thanksgiving


We’re having something a little different this year for Thanksgiving. Instead of a turkey, we’re having a swan. You get more stuffing. ~George Carlin

Mr. Bean's Thanksgiving

I’ll be the first to admit Thanksgiving is not high on my list of favorite holidays. Let’s just say I’ve got issues dealing with irritating relatives I maybe see once a year, and now I’m forced to sit down at a table full of them and actually pretend I’m enjoying their company. This year I decided to start a new tradition to counter all the dread I’m feeling: a simple do’s and don’ts guide for all the geeks like me, who might wrestle with social phobias during this, the holiday season. And remember, through all of this, it never hurts to have a covert hip flask on one’s person.

Do: Try to act interested in your relatives’ lives. Worst case scenario is, it lasts a few hours, and you’ve been replaying The Empire Strikes Back in your head and gleaning a choice few nuggets from the conversation to use in your novel (or blog.)

Don’t: Throw too many pop culture/sci-fi/fantasy references into the mix. Remember, you’re likely dealing with a group of non-geeks on whom the allusions will be lost. This is a family gathering, sadly, and not Comic Con.


Do: Bring a prepared arsenal of easy-to-understand jokes, amusing stories from the past year that don’t involve a TARDIS, and hopefully, something good to eat. A bottle of wine is a good choice, since the drunker everyone gets, the more they’re likely to overlook your eccentricities.

Don’t: Bore everyone silly with discourses on why the Pilgrims weren’t actually the first Europeans to visit that part of North America (it was probably the Vikings), the physiology of Meleagris gallopavo (wild turkey), or the philosophy of why the president “pardoning” turkeys every year is such a bad thing.

Do: Be sure to thank your mom, dad, or whomever is primarily responsible for cooking the mammoth feast. If you’re like me and you’re neither a cook nor a real enthusiast for celebrating holidays by consuming more than 5,000 calories at a sitting, it’s the least you can do. The cook(s) worked hard and they deserve your praise.

Don’t: Go on a tangent as to why you’d much rather be eating one of those big turkey legs they serve at Renaissance Faires while swilling mead. They just won’t get it.

Do: Seize the opportunity to go undercover for a while as a non-geek. Think of Ron Weasley trying to pass himself off as a Muggle, or Superman as Clark Kent, and you’ve got the general idea. Most of your relatives may not know of your geekery, so why let them in on that little secret? Hint: brush up on what’s happening on Dancing with the Stars or Jersey Shore.

Don’t: Announce to everyone that you’re about to carve the turkey using any of the following: your lightsaber, kung fu, any Japanese-named weapon, the Force, or your phaser. Again, sadly, the references will be lost.

Do: Take a moment to be thankful for all the cool types in your life, be they geek or non-geek. Remember when Uncle Jimmy paid for your flight to the con for Christmas, and how Grandma Thea always remembers to send you clippings of your favorite actors from her magazines. Chances are, at that Thanksgiving dinner, even the most mundane relatives have something good about them.

Don’t: Forget to offer hugs. It’s not really a natural response for those of us with AS, like me, but most people want and expect hugs at the holidays. And, if you’ve carried that hip flask all the while, they’ll be more tolerable.

Do: Remember that Thanksgiving is just once a year. It’s all right to act a little out of character for 1/365th of a year and watch the Detroit Lions get stomped while eating turkey and cranberry sauce. Besides, TBS usually shows a marathon of a decent movie that day, so why not sneak out after dinner?

Don’t: Forget to be thankful for all the good things in your life. Your laptop, your collection of action figures, your Gandalf cloak, and yes, your friends and relatives too. Once a year isn’t really enough to be thankful. Make it a way of life.

Enjoyed this post? You know you want to click that “Like” button and subscribe to P&Q where we never, ever have leftover turkey sandwiches.

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~ by Howlin' Mad Heather on November 23, 2011.

15 Responses to “The Geek Guide To Surviving Thanksgiving”

  1. Liking this ! And it’s funny ! Gosh, it’s really hard to be a geek. They just don’t understand. ( Went to a Convention once. I’m sure my relatives would be shaking their heads if I told them that. lol ! )

  2. They always let me have the giant turkey leg. Probably cuz I’m the only fool that likes dark meat in my family.

    I’m just hoping our turkey has extra tryptophan so everyone goes to sleep early and I don’t have to deal with all the old people conversations.

    Rob, the mainland

  3. I love it! I love the Mr. Bean pic. Very creative and fun blog.

  4. Dark meat is the only acceptable kind.

    Also, another do:

    Help clean up afterward. Not to be polite, but to get first dibs on the good leftovers.

  5. I bet Data did the cooking. Poor Data, so under-appreciated. I’ve never drank mead. Perhaps I’m missing out.

  6. Freaky! I’m also a fan of dark meat and mead. And I did the pretending to be afraid of the dark so I got a nightlight to read by thing too πŸ™‚

  7. My equivalent to this is Christmas, although in recent years I have insisted on watching the Doctor Who Christmas Special with my family. Heck, if they can watch wall to wall soap operas on December 25, I can have an hour to be geeky…

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