Did you ever wonder what goes through turkeys' minds around the fourth week of November? Well, Hoogar had, so Hoogar before joining Manipal, went out to Tom's Turkey Tavern in Boyle Heights to get some opinions of how the fowl patrons there celebrate (or avoid) that most American of holidays. Thanksgiving.
Understandably, many of the winged creatures were not willing to go on record with their comments. Not only did they fear reprisals and singling out by turkey farmers and processors, but by angry hens who would lay an egg if they knew where their mates were. Some of the poultry were obviously petrified. Others were merely piqued by the prospect of becoming someone's dinner.
One older bird — we'll call him "Tom" — said that in his 25 years on God's Earth he has managed to avoid becoming a cooked comestible through cunning and a lot of good fortune.
"Most years I'll dye my feathers the colors of the rainbow, trek out to the and make like a peacock. The guys there understand my plight and don't mind my hanging out, as long as I'm outta' there by the beginning of December and I don't finish all the bird seed," Tom said.
Another gobbler, who would only give his name as "Tom", said that he, too, has managed to escape the "November nip in the neck," as he termed it, by giving his feathered body a neat trim and pretending to be a quail wilh gland trouble.
"Works for me. The missus likes it, too. Says I look 10 years younger," Tom said.
Not all of the birds are willing to go around and hide anymore when the calendar reaches its final two months, however. A whole new breed of "Young Turks," as they like to be called, are taking a more confrontational and aggressive approach to Thanksgiving celebrations. The apparent leader of the Turkey Tavern faction of the Young Turks, who gave his code name as "Tom," said that he and his compatriots have, in recent years, staged armed raids on households during family Thanksgiving dinners in an attempt to "persuade" people from indulging in what Tom called, "heinous acts of fascist American cannibalism."
"We'll go into a house, tie up the occupants and deface the living room with slogans written in cranberry sauce and candied yams. We'll remove our fallen, roasted comrade from the dinner table and take him or her out for a proper burial," Tom said.
"No longer will we tolerate this foul, inturkan affront on our kind. Since the days of Benjamin Franklin and his filthy propaganda regarding our species, we have been oppressed like no other group in American hislory. This behavior will not stand," Tom added. While admittedly in the minority, Tom said that he no longer fears reprisals from any quarter for his actions. He attributes this attitude and
bravado to the two years he spent in a turkish prison.
"Once you have been degraded in such a place as that, no other torture or punishment can compare. Even today, the smell of stuffing and the sight of an electric carving knife gives me pause," Tom said.
Another approach to the annual perils of Thanksgiving is now coming from the scientific communily. Dr. Tom, a well-known authority on the new, cutting-edge field of turkey gerontology at the Gobbler Institute in Stuttgart, Germany, has now developed what he calls a "tofu turkey," which, while not actually tasting like turkey, more closely approximates the taste of chicken.
"Za latest in chemical technology und nuclear physics has now produzed a product za likes of vich has nevah been zeen before. "No longer vill Ooncle Hans, Aunt Helga und little Otto quarrel over who gets za droomschlicks. Each bird can now have as many as eight droomschticks, six vings und three buttocks. Sooch a delight for za whole family, und vegetarians, too," Dr. Tom said.
The good doctor,discussing his findings over a Long Island Iced Tea in the tavern, said he also believed the future of Thanksgiving dinners would slowly but surely lean more toward better eating through chemistry and away from traditional live birds.
It did seem that the majority of those wetting their whistles in Tom's Turkey Tavern agreed that somehow, some way the tradition of eating turkey on Thanksgiving Day must end, if not for their benefit, then for the future of their children. One rather inebriated patfon at the back of the bar seemed to have his own solution as he continuously gobbled under his breath, "I wonder what cats taste like?"