Although I'm not its biggest fan, I feel compelled to lament the shrinkage of Thanksgiving, dwindling like a turkey carcass that should have been put in the fridge an hour ago.
Thanksgiving is becoming a day off work to carbo-load in preparation for the commando raid of the weekend -- which now begins while you're still sitting in front of televised football like a beached manatee, dozing and digesting.
I don't do the Black Friday shopping orgy. I would rather lick a pigeon. The gleeful, obsessive media coverage depresses me. And this year stores opened even before the plastic wrap came out.
If there's a war on Christmas, Christmas is winning. This year it took Thanksgiving. Watch your back, Veterans Day. Good thing you're armed.
We may object to consumerism on the National Day of Thanksgiving and the exploitation of store employees who'd rather be with their own families, but evidently we have no one to blame but ourselves. When stores open, we shop. Demand must be supplied. You know -- like porn.
If you brave the sharks at Walmart so soon after eating a big meal, will you get a cramp and drown?
Rather than wrestle a sports fan for the last $200 plasma-screen while still lumpy with stuffing, I looked for acts of kindness. For example: Cobbler the turkey received a presidential pardon for the crime of being a bird that outweighs my dog.
This year's pardon was historic because the choice between two turkeys was made by popular vote.
Actually, I'm not sure why that's historic. Except that Facebook was involved and the Electoral College was not.
Although only Cobbler was pardoned, loser Gobbler will also be spared and live out his days at Mount Vernon, where he will doubtless write a book.
And here's another bit of heartwarming critter news. I confess I've been holding out for a couple of months, hoping to get more information. But benefactors sometimes prefer to be anonymous.
Regular readers of this column may remember my adventure during the summer when I was able to catch a stray kitten Downtown and take him safely to Animal Rescue League in East Liberty. I bonded with the little guy on the ride east -- after he'd finished tearing up my hands and wrists. And while I wasn't in a position to adopt him myself, I resolved to keep tabs on him and be sure he was OK.
First he became kitten No. 16579387 and was neutered. Then he got a name and an upper respiratory infection. Ozzy was sent to a foster home to recover, and when I heard that, I was really worried. A cat of mine died from a cold caught at a boarding kennel, and poor Ozzy was such a tiny little thing. I remembered his wide eyes, frightened mews and the way I had to unhook his little claws from my shirt when I handed him over at the shelter, and I was afraid this story would not end happily.
But it does. In September, Ozzy recovered and was sent to Petco, where, because he is adorable, he was quickly adopted. And his adoption counted for Animal Rescue League in the ASPCA $100K Challenge, a nationwide competition for animal shelters to find homes for as many animals as possible in just three months. The three shelters that garner the most Facebook votes and save at least 300 more lives than they did in the same period last year are finalists for the $25,000 Community Engagement Award, and -- thanks to volunteers, fans and adopters like whoever spent the holiday shooing Ozzy off the kitchen counter -- Animal Rescue League is one of them. The winner will be announced Friday.
No door-busters or Cyber Monday booty needed. I'm thankful enough, thanks.
Samantha Bennett, freelance writer: email@example.com.