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Archive for November, 2009

Newsflash! Janet Scores A Literary Agent!

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

Whoo-hoo! After twenty years and five hundred million rejections, I finally snagged a lit agent. Huge thanks go out to my new agent, Laurie McLean of Larsen Pomada Literary Agents. I still can’t believe it. It just happened today. Wheeeee!

So now I’m going to be cutting off the outside world for a bit of time here because Laurie’s given me an important assignment: cut a third of Tastes Like Chicken. And it needs it. We met today and she had some awesome suggestions. With her help, this book is gonna rock! I can’t wait to get started.

Today, a new chapter in my life begins. Another goal accomplished, yet this is only the beginning. Lots more hard work ahead, but I’m ready.

Soooooo happy!!

And I thought winning a giant stuffed shark was cool.

Holiday Survival Guide: Thanksgiving

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Here we are again. Brave soldiers facing yet another holiday battle ground for yet another year. They give prisoners time off for good behavior, why not us poor beleaguered holiday-haters? But no. Time, taxes and the holiday season wait for no man or woman. And like all unpleasant and unavoidable events—dental cleanings, mammograms, septic tank pumpings—I await the holidays with a mixture of dread and loathing. A couple years ago I wrote a column about the holidays—Christmas specifically—that included some uplifting thoughts about the holiday. Things about the holiday I actually enjoyed. I realize now in my older age that I was simply in denial when I wrote that article. Now I am only left with the truth. I hate the holidays. All of them. A lot.

So for those like-minded souls out there (and I know I’m not alone in this) I have written the following survival guide with you in mind. Several ways to avoid and/or lessen the blow of the holidays. In this article I will focus on Thanksgiving. For my December column, I will continue my survival guide, which will focus on avoiding Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa. So here’s how to survive the celebration I call “The Holiday That’s For The Birds.”

Survival Tip Number One: Faking your own death. Okay, so this is a bit drastic. But it will work. All you have to do is to leave this message on your answering machine: I’m sorry I’m not here to answer your call, but I have been unavoidably killed. Services will be held the week after Thanksgiving. Thank you for calling. Beep.

Your only slight problem may arise when you show up for work on Monday. Just tell ‘em that your answering machine isn’t working properly and it changed your outgoing message all on it’s own. People expect technology to screw up. Hint: never admit you did it. People forgive technology much faster than their relatives.

Survival Tip Number Two: Run away from home. This is easier than faking your own death. It is important when you run away that you don’t tell anyone where you went. Guilt knows no distances. Mom can make you feel bad from halfway around the globe.

Survival Tip Number Three: Serve a tofu “turkey” instead of the real bird. This is guaranteed to get you removed from the host list forever. Tofu is not turkey, no matter how you shape it or flavor it. It is soy bean curd. Period. Yet many of my vegetarian friends insist on sculpting the tofu to look like a bird. I don’t know why they don’t just use clay. Tastes about the same. Bonus: your family will never forgive you for serving tofu. Hint: don’t let anyone know you’re serving the tofu until it’s on the table. It’s an unwelcome surprise they will never forget nor forgive. Extra Bonus: you may get taken off the Thanksgiving invitee list for years to come.

Survival Tip Number Four: Serve drinks early and dinner late. After generations of research, our family has found the only way to make our holiday events tolerable is to add liberal amounts of alcohol. Because half of us are prompt and the other half are terminally late, one half of the family starts drinking before the late half arrives. Dinner is always held for the late half. Which means half of us don’t remember Thanksgiving and the other half considers the rest of the family alcoholics. I have no idea why we bother.

Survival Tip Number Five: Call in sick. This one only works if you are not playing host. Hint: the illness must be bad enough to keep you home, not bad enough to miss work three days later. Contagious diseases are good choices, that way no one will feel compelled to stop by and give you sympathy. Try the 24 hour stomach flu. No one wants to risk getting that. Just make sure to avoid bike riding or rollerskating near where the celebrations are being held. Remember, playing the sick card means you cannot be seen.

Survival Tip Number Six: Spread misinformation about where Thanksgiving will be held. If you’ve got a big family, this one is easy. Simply tell one third of the family that it will be held at one person’s house, tell the second third that it will be held at a different person’s house, do the same with the last third. Pick three people that are difficult to reach. Hopefully, by the time everyone figures it out, the confusion will be so massive that the entire holiday will end up being canceled.

Survival Tip Number Seven: Lie about prior Thanksgiving commitments. This one is easy. Simply tell your family that you already have plans for the holiday. Here’s some handy lies: you are serving meals to the homeless on Thanksgiving. Or you’re flying back east to have Thanksgiving with your spouse’s relatives. (Just make sure to hide the car and turn out the lights if you use this one.) Or you’re having Thanksgiving at a friend’s house. Hint: the friend must have a terminal illness or some such drastic condition. This way Mom and Dad won’t beat you with the Guilt Stick.

Survival Tip Number Eight: Convert to a religion that holds turkeys sacred. Everyone knows that cows are sacred to Hindus. If you live in California, you probably don’t even have to look far to find a fringe religion that celebrates turkeys. Just make sure to inform your relatives that your religion doesn’t even allow gatherings on Thanksgiving in deference to the number of turkeys slaughtered for the holiday. If you are forced to attend, wear black and carry a fake gravestone that says: Thanksgiving: The Holiday Of Death or One Million Died For Your Meal. Make sure to cry when the turkey is set on the table. Better yet, throw yourself on top of the turkey to avoid it’s being carved. You will not be invited back next year. Cool, huh?

I hope my helpful hints have saved you from a world of pain. If you find yourself chickening out and attending the Thanksgiving celebration, remember, there’s always time to get out of participating in Christmas/Hanukah/Kwanzaa. Check out my December column for help on avoiding The Big One.

©2009, Janet Periat

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