Thanksgiving is not what it used to be. No one talks about Pilgrims anymore; many people are not even aware of the original intent of the holiday. Nonetheless -- whether we literally give thanks or simply take the day off to bask in the pleasure of turkey and dressing and football and pie -- there is a recognition about the many things we have and a collective awareness of a moral duty to share some of our bounty with those who are needy.
But like Christmas, Thanksgiving has a seamy side -- the kind of creeping commercialism that will rock Kings Point Fairlanes tonight when the bowling alley, Miller beer and 98 Rock host their first "Turkey Bowl" -- an event that is being pegged as a way to help the hungry. It proceeds this way: For the donation of any non-perishable food item, contestants will have a chance to throw a frozen turkey down the alley at the pins. To make the bird easier to throw, holes will be drilled into the turkey so it resembles a bowling ball, and the lanes will be covered in plastic, sprayed with a coat of oil -- like Pam -- so the turkey slides this way and that. The comic potential is rivaled only by the thrills of dwarf tossing.
It may be a testament to the depths to which the poor in this country have sunk that they are dependent on such crude antics for survival. If so, then reviving the true meaning of Thanksgiving is more pressing this year than ever.