the first fastgiving

*Of course it was Berkeley where it started and of course it was a college prof and his family of gestures.

*The acoustic properties of transmitted legend has already blurred the edges on the actual  facts, somewhat,  so what we think we know has gathered the fuzz of embellishment. You don’t know the word “embellishment”?  Sorry, I’ll tone it down.  We don’t know the prof’s name but we think we know he was a sociologist.  It’s the kind of thing a sociologist would do. I sometimes ask myself if even a Writer would have thought up something as self-abneg… you know… so humble… as that.

*Now the tradition has gone far beyond its simple origins and last I heard some fancy theater actor was annually giving his house over to a First American stuntman, of his acquaintance, for a week and letting the First American stunt man sleep with his top AND bottom wife for that week  and I can believe it. All the other prominent theater actors will be in a mad scramble to go even further than  that. Human nature. The irony here is that the tradition was dying out for years before this twist in the tradition revitalized the tradition.  Gave it new life. Poor Turkeys! Ha. Victims of their own deliciousness. Like you, right?

*That prof with a bleeding heart, who may have been a sociologist, started it all, but we don’t know all the details.  So long ago. If we still had The Internet we’d know.  You would have liked the Internet, I know I always say that and you always roll your eyes but it’s true. You would have loved The Internet.


*Prof had his topwife cook up a huge meal with all the traditional insulin-spiking attributes. Some versions say she was a topwife, others claim she was a bottomwife, but who really cares except topwifes or bottomwifes?  I’m just teasing. The turkey, the cranberry sauce, the dinner rolls, the Waldorf salad,  the pies. Prof had access to a genuine First American family and so his family,  consisting of prof,  topwife, three mail order  (half-Black, Mexican, Gay) kids and topwife’s unemployed cis-bro, served the family of First Americans (an unmarried couple) the meal while standing at the ready, near the table, like proper servants. Like: standing at attention. Right?  I’m going to embellish the story and say the prof’s family were dressed in rented Tuxedos. Okay?

*That was how it started.

*Legend has it that the sociologist’s family ate the leftovers but now, you know, the point is to starve yourself while the First Americans are feasting in front of you. You have to watch them enjoy the food while you’re fasting. Do you know the word penance?  That’s why it’s called Fastgiving. No touching a scrap of food or drink for the whole damn 25 metric hours. I’m still waiting to hear an apocryphal tale that some Gender Rights Lawyer handed whips out and stripped to the waist in the kitchen, right? Apocryphal. Don’t worry about it.

*Legend has it that things were rather awkward, at first, on the historic occasion of the First Fastgiving.

*The First American man (let’s call him Billy) was white-haired and old and hard of hearing and he and his young girlfriend were initially under the impression that the prof was inviting them to a “normal” Thanksgiving and they  gratefully accepted, without a flicker of irony. Billy and Winny assumed they’d be seated at a table with White people, for the first time ever, while everyone ate and told jokes and shared convivially race-neutral stories and then told jokes about being too full to move. Those are also my embellishments. My details. Details make the story, Love.

*The prof knew Billy, the First American man, from the consumer gizmo shop where the prof bought his cheap cables and mouses and ever-accumulating back-up hard drives.  You never heard the word gizmo? Sure you have. I never called my thing a gizmo in your presence?  Sure I have.

*Can you imagine a shop like that? I was in one as a kid. Lots of times.

*The First American didn’t have a job at that gizmo shop, he just always hung out there and talked about gizmos with the salespeople and sometimes they let him,  Billy,  mop the show room  floor for a six pack.

*These were the days when people still had functioning PCs because we still had electricity. Some people still have their heavy boxes of old back-up hard drives because they believe the electricity will come back, one day, and these religiously-inclined dreamers socialize. It’s like people who collect old wire-sprung light fixtures: why? Some of them live Biblically in tents and pray together intensely for days on end. I’d call that a cult, wouldn’t you?

*I read an editorial a few years ago and I wish I still had a copy of the magazine the editorial was in. Did you know that most magazines and newspapers and books, way back when, weren’t  all about gizmos and sugar holes and bestiality? All human interaction and informational content wasn’t always sexual in nature when I was your age. Seriously.  That’s the gap between us. It’s not just about age. You think I’m making that up? Hey I just had a thought: you should charge me a little less this time because I told you this interesting and informative story. That used to be my actual job. My time is valuable, too.


*This  interesting editorial I read was in response, in part, to what they started calling The Roman Suicides of the well-meaning Wealthy.  Imagine slitting your wrists and holding hands in a compost-gas-powered Jacuzzi with Blue playing on a Victrola!

*I have to admit that I think I’d prefer the Cracka method for killing yourself.

*They have these festivals. You’ve been to one? Where they ride their pedal-cars down a crude wooden two-hundred foot ramp straight into the Grand Canyon? Do the Crackas really whoooooop like Injuns on the way down? Sorry. First Americans. Do they?

*Who’s cleaning all those pedal-cars off the bottom of the Grand Canyon?

*I sold Victrolas for a while: did you know that? The title of the interesting editorial I read was something like “Now That We’ve Totally Broken It I Guess We’re Giving it Back”  or close to that and it made some good points but it’s not like the country had a power grid when we found it.






LETTERS TO THE EDITOR [letters are vetted for cogency and style]

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s