If you're planning on hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, look out! There are Thanksgiving terrorists out there to spoil your feast with ingratitude or misguided enthusiasm. They will come in cars bearing pans of casserole or worse yet, you might be harboring one in your home right now! Here are profiles of some of the usual suspects to look out for. Eating until your passed out with a slight chance of mud-butt is a beautiful thing, nobody should take that away from you.
There's no better dinner guest than a chubby little kid, scarfing down his meal with no complaints and holding his plate out for seconds as you ruffle his hair - he's a growing boy! Add 30 years to the equation and you have a sad man who might do a line of powdered gravy mix if you turned your back for one second. But the odor of sweat emanating from his skin and coating the food in front of you is the least of your worries. Have an ambulance on stand by for when his heart explodes after that third helping of gooey mac and cheese. Thanksgiving kills.
Upside: Their contribution to the dinner table will never disappoint. Only problem is they usually get whatever they're craving, so good luck on snagging a piece before they inhale it down.
If you don't want fat people at your dinner because they are out-of-control, meet the Nazi on the opposite end of the spectrum. Not only will he make a show of avoiding all the tastiest (read: fattiest) foods, he will never reject a dish without suggesting a healthy alternative, you know, for next year right? Should you let these guys into your home, make sure they don't bring their accursed Tupperware full of crunchy vegetables. Also, tell him you're good on dessert.
Upside: More of the good stuff for you!
A friendship with a vegetarian means an extensive string of inconveniences. Too many restaurants are off-limits and five-page menus get reduced to a meager list of salads. Similar to the health nut, our herbivore friends are armed with substitutes for everything on the menu. If you're not careful, your wife or kids might get the crazy visions and start craving tofu squares over juicy slabs of ham.
Upside: Since they have so much to prove about their sufficient food culture, whatever they cook up will probably taste delicious. Take a nice-sized serving but deny everything.
This one is less ban and more precaution. Although they were at the first ever Thanksgiving dinner, this holiday commemorates the Europeans taking over their land. That's like inviting brontosauruses to an asteroid viewing party.
Upside: The novelty of having dinner like the pilgrims did? Nah, no upside.
This might sound borderline racist, but its actually what's in the hearts of immigrant kids with parents who deprived them of the classic Thanksgiving plate. Nothing's worse than seeing that stacked plate of good ol' American cooking only to find out you're having the ethnic remix. You've seen Christmas Story, it's duck instead of turkey and sticky white rice instead of mashed potatoes. Where do they do that at?
Upside: Some fusion recipes are welcome, only as side dishes. If it ain't broke don't fix it.
If you want to delay eating as much as possible, invite the family who had a better year than everyone else. They're going to take the act of saying grace to a new level of soliloquy and you can just suspend dinner indefinitely. Not only that, there are toasts to be made and inspirational anecdotes that will trigger your gag reflex.
Upside: They will be gracious with the provision of alcoholic beverage.
How the hell? Oh great, let's give a round of applause to the 'Thankful People' who randomly picked up a bum to share the spirit of the holidays with.
Downside*: Midas had the ability to make gold out of whatever he touched. Homeless people will leave a nice sized doodoo on your carpet.
(Previously published on November 20, 2011.)