Thanksgiving 2022 (part 1)

As though didn’t have enough to eat over my three days of birthday celebration, the day after I got together with the guys at Buca di Beppo for meatballs and getting shit about turning 30 was Thanksgiving. No…it’s not like I passed out in a meatball coma and woke up two weeks later. Just like the past two years, At Home with Maya celebrates Thanksgiving the second week in November so we can air the Thanksgiving special the night before the actual holiday.

It was even more food than last year: turkey, shish kebab, those incredible meatballs Mrs. Bedrossian makes (what is it about me and meatballs lol?) and tamales made by Belen…on top of which came all the side dishes. It’s a shit ton of food, and it wasn’t like I forgot to bring my appetite. I don’t think it just seemed like there was way more food than usual: even after we finished eating and the crew got to have their share, we still had leftovers for practically the whole next week. Although Matteo is kinda finicky when it comes to leftovers, I was more than glad to have tamales I could warm up in the microwave for the next few days.

Anyway, y’all have probably seen the Thanksgiving special. I know we do a similar show every year, but the audience seems to like it. It’s not too sugar-coated, but it does give America a look at a pretty functional family just having Thanksgiving dinner without a whole lot of drama. Belen and Mrs. Bedrossian did get into an argument over something in the kitchen, though…and Ethan caught it on film. It’s pretty funny; Belen and Mrs. Bedrossian got the biggest kick out of it when we watched the finished episode in the screening room. (Yeah, Maya and Robert have a screening room. Since the whole house is a movie studio, it comes in handy.)

This year the Sharpmans decided to practically skip real Thanksgiving. Maya made a small turkey for just her, Robert, the boys and her mother, with only a few side dishes (no, not even snap bean casserole.) They gave everyone the day off, which I’m sure we all enjoyed. Belen went to her family, and I went to Adam and Allan’s. They really wanted to have me and Joyce this year, and were more than glad to open their house to the guests Joyce would ordinarily have had, meaning Keaton and Mrs. LaSalle. (Keaton: “fine, bubba, I’ll be a pity invite…just remember you owe me one” – I don’t know how he could think he was a pity invite when he was going to know half the people there.) Travis was going to take his chances with his family for Thanksgiving this year, but with me and Keaton just a text away.

Before that, though, was the San Marino Turkey Bowl, and, like last year, me, Keaton and Travis all played. The weather was warm and sunny: shorts and tshirts, in other words, although I started the game off in a hoodie since there was still a little chill in the air when we started playing.

Ok, so if y’all have been following the blog, you know that there’s some ongoing bad blood between me and this other dude who plays in the turkey bowl. He calls me “pretty boy” and sacked the fuck outta me one year in a way that was just fuckin mean. It was the same bullshit when he showed up this year. He wouldn’t shake my hand (or Keaton’s), and said “back for more, I see, pretty boy” like he didn’t end up getting the worst of it in the past couple years. Maybe he’s delusional as well as being a troll, I don’t know. The only difference is that this year they made sure we were on the same team, I reckon because they figured we’d have to cooperate instead of trying to kill each other.

That seemed like a good idea, and, honestly I was tired of the jerkoff and would just as soon have concentrated on playing as good a game of football as my 30 year old body would allow. I’ve still got a good throwing arm and a dang good blocking shoulder…and the fact is I always loved playing football, even though I never made it past third-string quarterback before I gave it up so I wouldn’t get hurt for baseball.

But, still, football is fun as heck to play.

Except when you have a jerkoff troll on your team. Ok, so this dude was determined to be the same jerkoff he was when he was playing against me. There was one point pretty early on when I threw a pretty good pass to Travis, who was wide open. Next thing I knew, I was face-down in the grass. The troll had come up behind me and just pushed me, for no reason. It was a good push, I’ll give him that (even if he took me by surprise), but what kind of a jerkoff does that?

Troll jerkoffs who call me “pretty boy” and think it’s funny for the hundredth time, that’s who.

The ref didn’t exactly know what to do. You can’t penalize a team for something one member of the team did to another member of the same team, so he said he was giving the troll a warning, like that was gonna make a difference. “And that means you too,” he said to me.

Fact is, I was pissed off as fuck at the troll. I was having a good time playing, and the jerkoff was ruining it for me. (I didn’t even get to see Travis score on that pass before I got pushed.)

When we were lining up for the next play, Keaton walked by me and said “get him and get him good, bubba.” He was trying out playing center, and snapped the ball. I pretty much just threw it away and turned around to face the jerkoff troll. I was pretty fuckin mad at him, and totally forgot we were playing football. I took him down to the grass, got on top of him, and cocked my fist back.

“What’s gonna stop me from making you uglier than you already are?,” I asked.

“You don’t got the balls, faggot,” was his answer.

He was saved by the bell, or, rather, the whistle: the referee came over and pulled me off him. “Simmer down, man,” he told me. “This is supposed to be a friendly game. Save your aggression for the other team at least.”

“Ok,” I said, letting the troll up.

“I should assess a penalty, but I’m not sure I can call unnecessary roughness when you threaten to beat the shit out of your own teammate.”

“Ok, man. Sorry…guess I lost my head a little.”

The game went on without any more incidents. Well, there was one: the troll walked really close to me at one point and said: “you wanna settle this afterwards once and for all, pretty boy? Meet me in the parking lot after the game and we’ll see who’s ugly when we’re done.”

I really don’t know what the dude’s deal is. Does he just have it in for all pretty boys because he’s an ugly troll? Or maybe Keaton’s right and he has some kind of a gay thing for me? Whatever the fuck his problem is, I sure as heck wasn’t gonna back down from his challenge, and didn’t doubt that I could kick his ass. Let’s face it, I’m in dang good shape…and I know how to fight.

So we finished the game – our team won by a field goal – and we were getting ready to head home. I didn’t want to tell Keaton what I had planned, so I just told him that I’d see him at Adam and Allan’s later in the day. He headed off to this truck and I headed off to meet the jerkoff troll.

He was already waiting for me at this spot that was pretty much hidden from view behind the rec room building that every park has. We faced each other and I hauled off and hit him with everything I had right in the gut. My fist probably went all the way back to his spine…and that was the end of that.

Not because I wouldn’t gladly have hit him again, but because Keaton stepped out of nowhere to stop me.

“Ok, bubba, you made your point,” he said. “You can’t afford the publicity of getting hauled in by the cops on a battery rap…and your boyfriend over there is just the kind of pussy who’d do something like that. Go get in the shitbox and drive home. He’s not gonna mess with you after that.”

The troll was still trying to get up.

“Nice shot, by the way,” Keaton added. “El Tigre would be proud.”

I walked away – Keaton was right – and only looked back once. Keaton was sticking around, I could tell just to make sure that the troll was gonna be able to get up, which I reckon he eventually did, since Keaton was on time for dinner at Adam and Allan’s, and never said that he had to take the troll to the hospital.

I drove home feeling kinda vindicated, although part of me does wish Keaton didn’t stop me from kicking the jerkoff’s ass. I mean…seriously…enough is enough. How many years has he been fucking with me? At least I felt sure that he was gonna crawl back to his parents’ basement and leave me alone in the future.

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