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ONE. Ignore your mother (or father, or both, or guardian adult of choice, depending on your distribution of emotional gravity and familial condition) entirely when you go home for the holiday. You don’t call her during the year anyway; why give her a crumb of your attention now? Sure, she may have been the one to single-handedly drag you through eighteen years of your livelihood, and she may have sacrificed her time, energy, bottom line, hopes and dreams, and bodily fluid for your well-being, and she may have pulled you out of bed every single morning to keep your morning absenteeism in check, and she may have even fed you, but what does that matter now? Live hedonistically: the present is unequivocally most important. She’ll definitely appreciate it if you repeat this to her.

TWO. Bring nothing to your high school “Friendsgiving” reunion potluck. Remember that material gifts—especially in the form of food—are artificial symbols of human connection. They betray superficial desires and relationships, and you’re over that. You’ve stopped stooping to that level since you hit emotional puberty; expect other people to do the same. Your contribution to the party is your vibes. A true group of friends substitutes dinner for a single, shared pack of year-old Halloween-styled Oreos together—provided, generously, by the host. You can even avoid the awkward disparity in levels of post-high school personal happiness between party attendants by fixating on whether the cookie or the creme holds dominance in the Oreo dynamic.

THREE. Award the gift of your utter silence to your vaguely homophobic and racist relatives at the dinner table when they “get started” on problems with modern America. Dial down even the most basic of your sensitivity meters; say absolutely nothing when that one uncle invokes “alternative facts” that you suspect came from nebulous Internet forums. In short, complacency works wonders in the face of problematic behavior. A silent tongue is more precious than one of gold. It’s self-care, if you think about it: while everyone else is packing on the pounds during the Thanksgiving feast, you’re feeding on anger as a means of caloric intake, not turkey stuffing. You might even put WeightWatchers out of business with this sort of routine.

FOUR. If you have the privilege of owning a car, roll your windows down and blast Limp Bizkit loud enough to wake the dead while driving at an extraordinarily slow pace. You’ll quickly pull the occupants of gentrified housing out of their tenements: how magnificent this is! Indeed, noise disturbances are great ways to unify the public around a common cause. Perhaps this will be the “working across the aisle” action for which moderate politicians so commonly agitate. When you, inevitably, get arrested, consider your work one of martyrdom and social justice, indicative of your deep and abiding love of the American social fabric through a desire for its betterment.

FIVE. Invest in some overtly gaudy personal accoutrements and bright neon clothing, and wear them repeatedly. Unwashed. Do not appear in public spaces without them. When the aliens fly above, they should be able to see, and smell, the brashness of your aesthetic and hygienic choices from the spaceships. It informs this extraterrestrial interspecies communication with aggression and an acute lack of taste, which is precisely what the government will appreciate wholeheartedly.

SIX. Hold a midnight dance party at a cemetery. Not only are you keeping up the Halloween spookfest that just preceded, where sexualization of both unsexy inanimate things and unsexy animate things truly served as the highlight of a stressful October, but you are also bringing merriment to an otherwise dead territory. This is what the somewhat socially conscious project managers meant when they said “revitalization” in the development meetings. If the music is good enough, the bodies will exhume and twirl along. They have waited decades to do so. This is the tribute they have craved but never gotten.

SEVEN. At dawn, dig yourself a hole in your backyard and sit in it. Get close with the Earth: it misses the feel of the atoms of which you are built. Burial is heaping the dirt above; instead, watch the moon fade from your place in the pit. It craves an audience and love is your gaze, making a mattress out of the sky. Your withdrawal from the universe is gratitude: understanding that the world moves without you means a great deal to its function. The ground breathes better when you are gentler on its face. When Thanksgiving eventually ends, forget not this feeling and walk lighter with your footprint.


Max Zhang

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