It’s hard to believe, but Thanksgiving has officially gone global. Millions of people representing the gumbo that is our humanity celebrated the holiday that marks the apex of an American genocide and land grab in their own unique ways. Twitter entertained and enthralled us with various versions of Thanksgiving with families of different ethnicities including – but not limited to – Black Families, Greek Families, Asian Families (the funniest, in my opinion because it was so unexpected) and White Families.
As humorous as all of these hashtags were, none rivaled #ThanksgivingClapback. The hashtag, and sentiments exposed therein, were forged from savagery, fiendishness and hilarity. It was predicted that if implemented in real life, relationships all across the country (and the globe by extension) would be left irrevocably damaged. For those unfamiliar with the term “clapback” see below. This is clapbackery at its zenith:
I spent Thanksgiving with my sister and like many transcontinental/Atlantic transplants, it meant spending the holidays with adopted family and friends. There were no elderly aunts and uncles to meddle in our lives, no cousins to compare our accomplishments with and therefore feel inferior to. There was no overbearing, disapproving grandmother at the head of our table nor a weathered patriarch silently observing the melee that is known as a holiday dinner. Thus missing these vital ingredients, we could not participate in a Thanksgiving Clapback…but that doesn’t mean I didn’t want to. For one, we’re too cerebral and too polite as group to want to do each other such harm with our words. Secondly, my husband, Mr. Decency and in Order, was present. He would have stopped the assault after the first grenade was launched.
For instance, I woke up Thursday morning and spread a Noxema mask on my face. Upon seeing me and the encrusted substance as he walked into the kitchen, my sister’s boyfriend, Chris, had the following query:
“Why is your husband’s seed all over your face?”
I paused to consider what I should say next and IF I should say it. I looked at Chris. I looked at Marshall. I went for it.
“That’s not my husband’s seed…it’s YOURS. Remember? Last night I was laying on the couch, exhausted from our long drive. You stood over me and skeeted all over my face…despite my protestations?”
Chris’ face twisted in revulsion. Marshall announced that the conversation was over; but I was just getting warmed up. However, for the rest of the night, I was forced to quell my inappropriate comments and potential clapbacks for the sake of the strangers amongst us. It was utter agony.
Among our dinner party was Chris’ aunt and uncle (by marriage), my sister’s co-worker and her boyfriend and a woman who has been a friend so long that her relationship has been categorized as “cousin”. As all of these people live and work in the DC area, each has strong opinions about government and a sense of superiority about what they do for a living. The aunt is a network admin. (Or manager. Point is, she doesn’t work with machines…she merely manages the process.) The couple does something novel in IT. Our cousin works with NIH/CDC/things to do with viruses. Nobody really has their stuff together outside of the office.
As the evening went on, the conversation shifted to politics, because Donald Trump. Scandal also became a topic of real debate, because Olivia is a “real character” who represents “real women”. And what holiday conversation in DC would be complete without mention of 9/11? Oh, and we must never forget to disparage Christians at a family function!
By the time we were about to serve desert, the aunt – who considers herself an authority on everything – had managed to monopolize the entire conversation. By this point, satellite communication, a topic on which she claimed she was well versed because she “spent time in the military”, came to the fore.
“There’s no way the government can shut down all of our communication without shutting down theirs,” she declared.
“That’s not true,” the vet retorted. “There are separate systems that exist for…”
“No. There is no way they can do it. Because beams and craft and towers and…”
She flailed her arms for emphasis. The aunt droned on and on, making absolutely no sense. It pained me not to be able to point out the flaws in her pronouncements, especially when a plethora of information abounds concerning the unused bandwidths and radio waves that aren’t available for public consumption. I wanted to clap back!!! Had her long term career as a military typist made her such an authority on the matter? But, you know…. Decency and order. I kept silent.
It went on like this all evening, with one person postulating an idea and she rudely interjecting or divining how/what they were thinking and making it a point to declare the results of her telepathic inquiry to the group. She had found an ally in the female half of the couple who had joined us for dinner. Let’s call her Becca. Becca cheered the aunt on at the least opportunity. Finally, by the time Donald Trump became the focus, I had had enough.
Aunt: He is just a horrible man! If he becomes president, I’m going to leave. I’m moving to Costa Rica.
Becca: Me too! I’m witcha! Girl…I’m moving too.
They give each other high-fives.
Me: You ain’t going no where. People have been saying this since Bush was in office. White people been talking about how they was gonna leave if Obama won. Where they at though? They right here.
Aunt: Yes I am! I’m going to leave and go to Costa Rica and be about that vacation life…
Me (shifted my gaze between the pair with every word): You. Ain’t. Going. No. Where. You are going to sit in America and you will DEAL.
Oh my GAWD. Can I tell y’all how good that felt? It was at that point that the Vet – also weary from being shut down in mid-sentence – swooped in with aerial support, hammering in how difficult it is for Americans to adjust to life in developing countries because of erratic utility supplies, the lack of accountability and the lackadaisical attitude of governing officials towards solving any of these problems. My sister swooped in from the other direction with laughter, declaring with each cackle that it was preposterous for either woman to think they could survive anywhere else but the United States of America. The aunt stared at us helplessly and conceded defeat. I trained my eyes on Becca for a follow up assault, but decided it would be too cruel to point out the obvious. She wouldn’t even leave the man who refuses to marry her and won’t entertain the thought of having children. How was she going to gather the guts to leave America if Trump becomes president?!?
Why was I even entertaining such wicked thoughts? I know why. It’s because the roots of this holiday are wicked!
I know one of you has to have a great clapback story from Thanksgiving. No pressure to put it in the comments! I’ll just wait for you to tell me in an email. We’ll share the delicious details away from the prying eyes of the public. 🙂