Sigh. Alex Berg, you’ve captured the spirit of Thanksgiving perfectly. Would you like a thigh or breast?
A Venerated Turkey Addresses His Fellow Birds, Offering His Wisdom And Counsel, On The Eve Of Thanksgiving
Fellow turkeys- Thanksgiving is a day of tragedy and woe for all of us. There is not a single bird in this barn who has not shed a tear for the loss of a dear friend or family member on this day in years past, and this year will be no different. Come sunup, Farmer John will stalk in here, axe in hand, and choose one of our number to be killed, plucked, and roasted to sate his family’s gluttonous appetite. As if death were not a cruel enough fate, the chosen one will also have to suffer the ignominy of having their body cavity stuffed with spiced breadcrumbs, carrots, and apples. The chosen one may even be deep-fried, or become a turduckin. Now, I have overheard some gobbling among the flock. Political firebrands walk among us- birds who are too young or too lean to truly fear the fate of the farmer’s axe- and they speak of revolution. “Give me liberty,” they say, “or give me death.” Fellow turkeys- I beg of you not to propose this ultimatum to the farmer, for he will most certainly give you death.
I understand that the extremists in the flock tonight do not enjoy hearing me say this. I am prepared to read the scrawls in the barnyard dirt tomorrow, decrying my good name and calling me a farmer sympathizer, but let me state unequivocally here and now that no turkey here is less of a farmer sympathizer than I. Having lived in this barnyard for ten whole years, I have seen the farmer slaughter turkeys, chickens, and pigs at will. I have watched him throw the bones of the dead to his dogs, and I have watched him feed the organs of the dead to the children of the living. As far as I am concerned, there is no creature on this farm more barbarous than the farmer, and I will not sit idly by and watch as the ranks of my flock are thinned. That having been said, this “Give me liberty or give me death” nonsense is some of the most ineffective rhetoric a turkey can use at this time of year.
Does any bird here truly think that Farmer John, who has a long history of meleagricide, will put down his axe and open wide the barnyard gates so that we might be free, because of this phrase? “Give me liberty or give me death”? Please. The farmer has known all along that liberty is what we seek, and he has not granted it. If the farmer were of a mind to grant liberty to any of us, then why have we never seen it happen? Indeed, every turkey here who has attempted to escape- to take liberty by force- was quickly apprehended by the farmer’s dogs and brought back to this very barnyard. Liberty, sadly, is not an option for us, my fellow birds- but if we are crafty we may avoid death.
Surely even the youngest among us have noticed a significant trend in the farmer’s behavior. The executioner’s axe does not swing blindly. Every year, it strikes the neck of the fattest and healthiest among us. Those turkeys who are foolish enough to unquestioningly accept the bounty of grain that the farmhands present to us each autumn are the very same turkeys who end up lying on their stomachs in a roasting pan, being basted with their own juices every thirty minutes. Meanwhile, the rest of the flock is forced to sit downwind of the farmer’s kitchen in this very barn and smell the cooked flesh of their kinsmen. How many more necks will have to be cut before we learn that only the gourmands among us will ever meet the axe? How many more Novembers must be tainted by gore and sorrow? No more, I say. This ends now.
Many of you are too young to remember the hard years- the years when summer droughts had drastically cut the autumn grain supply, leaving our people lean, tough, and stringy. You may not remember- but I do. That year, not a single one of our number was culled. Seeing heartier opportunities for a feast amongst the pig’s number, the farmer, axe in hand, walked through our quarters that cold morning and walked back out. Yes, without killing a single turkey, the farmer walked out. I have faith, brothers and sisters, that if this happened once, it can- no, will– happen again.
We are the masters of our own destiny, are we not? Are we, as turkeys, not the ones in charge of what becomes of our lives? We are. So let’s act like it. It is too late to change what will happen at dawn tomorrow, fellow turkeys, but let us band together and restrain ourselves in the coming years. Let us remember our wild roots- our kind were once lean birds of prey, not fatty future feasts with feathers. We can be this way again, and in doing so we shall all enjoy peaceful, senescent deaths. “Give me liberty or give me death?” Hardly. Grant me restraint and give me life, I say!
Turkeys! Let us raise our waddles to the rafters, and gobble as loud as we may for the chosen one among us! Let us join together as a flock on this day, and let us swear that this shall be the last Thanksgiving where Farmer John shall have the pleasure of a fattened turkey at his table! Dawn soon approaches, and I swear to you turkeys that it shall mark the dawn of a new era in this barn– an era where no turkey shall ever have to fear losing their sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, or friends to a corpulent farm family ever again!
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