PLACE: A friend of a friend’s apartment
PARTICIPANTS: A few acquaintances, some strangers
GUY: Goodness, I sure love turkey.
ME: As a pet?
GUY: Excuse me?
ME: Do you mean that you love having a turkey as a family pet?
GUY: Um… no. That’s not what I meant at all.
ME: Oh. [Long pause] So, you love turkey in the sense that you’ll be eating it tonight?
GUY: Yes. Of course. It’s Thanksgiving.
ME: [Imitating him in a whiny voice] Yes, of course. It’s Thanksgiving. [Speaking in my own voice again] Did you know that it’s possible to be thankful without a big hunk of bird in your mouth?
GUY: Whoa. Look, just because you …
ME: [Whiny voice] Whoa. Look, just because you… [My normal voice again] Eating turkey is a pointless ritual. And I know there are billions of vegans out there who feel the same way.
GUY: Hey, man — I’m really not here to argue.
ME: The only argument you’re having is with your conscience. Enjoy your wattle.
LADY: Dinner’s almost ready, everybody!
ME: Hello. Yes. Over here. Behind you. Um, what are your non-meat options tonight, please?
LADY: Well… we have plenty of side dishes. Mashed potatoes, cornbread, salad. Plenty of stuff like that.
ME: But no main dish?
LADY: Well, the main dish is turkey.
ME: I’m sorry. Are there any protein options for non-meat-eaters?
LADY: Um… isn’t there some protein in mashed potatoes?
ME: [Narrowing my eyes] You are part of the problem.
LADY: Excuse me?
ME: What? You can’t hear me above the sound of all that glazed meat?
LADY: What does that even mean?
ME: [To everybody] I’m really not sure why I came here tonight.
LADY: I’m sorry, who are you, exactly?
ME: [Darth Vader voice] I am your father. Ha ha. No, I’m completely kidding. Who says vegans can’t joke? But really — are there any protein options for non-meat eaters?
GUY: I know it’s kind of an antiquated custom, but, before we eat, does anybody here want to say what they’re thankful for, this year?
ME: I’ll tell you what I’m thankful for: veganism. It’s saved my life. Twice. Seriously, you guys. It’s really not too late for you, either. If you have five minutes right now — and you do — I’d love to tell you some of the finer points of my strict-vegetarian lifestyle. There are just so many benefits. Is there an easel of some sort I can use? [Pause] Does anybody here have an easel I can use?
GUY: This isn’t exactly what I had in mind when I asked for volunteers …
ME: IS THERE AN EASEL OF SOME SORT I CAN USE?!
GUY: There’s no easel.
ME: Sorry for yelling. I’m obviously a little hangry, which is a time-saving abbreviation for hungry and angry.
GUY: Maybe you should try eating more than rice every single day of your life. [Laughter]
ME: [In a near-whisper] It’s quinoa, you bastard.
GUY: This dinner is fantastic, Angie.
LADY: Agreed. Angie, you’ve outdone yourself, per usual.
ME: Which one of you is Angie?
ME: Oh, hey Angie. Right over here. I just wanted to make a couple points about this dinner. First of all, it looks gorgeous. It truly is a nice spread. Fit for a magazine. [Pretend phone call] Paging Martha Stewart!
ANGIE: Oh. Well… thank you. To be honest, from listening to you earlier, I didn’t expect that …
ME: [Interrupting] Secondly, Angie, did you know that turkeys have funerals for their dead? They form a single-file line to say goodbye to their turkey brothers and sisters.
SOME GUY: Jesus, man, that’s the most depressing thing I’ve ever heard.
ME: [Without facing him] I was speaking to Angie.
ANGIE: I thought it was elephants who had funerals.
ME: Same difference.
ANGIE: Is it, though?
ME: [With certainty] It absolutely is, Angie. A turkey is basically an elephant with wings and a beak.
LADY: Did anybody watch the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade this morning? I love seeing the floats! It brings me back to childhood. My favorites include Snoopy, Spider-Man, Kermit the Frog …
ME: [Walks into the room] Do you know who else would like to be able to float down Sixth Avenue? Domestic turkeys. But they can’t. They can’t float and they can’t fly. OK? And that, my dear woman, seals their fate. Queue the turkey funeral. [Walks out of the room]
ANGIE: Well, thank you for coming, everybody. Admittedly kind of an odd evening, but it was still lovely to see… most of you.
GUY: [Kissing her on the cheek] Thank you for inviting me.
LADY: Such a pleasure.
ANOTHER GUY: You’re the best, Angie.
ANOTHER LADY: We’ll talk to you soon, OK? Don’t let… [gestures toward me] some weirdo ruin your night. Who invited him, anyway?
ME: [Leans in as if to kiss ANGIE’S cheek; whispers instead] Did you know that Benjamin Franklin proposed making the turkey into America’s national bird? What if that had happened, Angie? Can you imagine? Would we be eating bald eagles every year for Thanksgiving? Think about it. That’s all I’m asking. Just think about it. [To everybody, in a jaunty yell] Goodbye, folks! See you next year! Maybe we’ll modify the menu, though! Can’t wait!