Satire: Dealing with the culture shock of Thanksgiving

ANNA YOUNG, Evergreen reporter

The biggest political and socioeconomic event of the year is on the horizon, where the stability of the Union is at its weakest and no belief system is safe. During this time, freedom of speech, as defined in the First Amendment, faces the most backlash. Divisions within factions become clear, and even the closest allies struggle to unite.

That’s right. It’s Thanksgiving once again.

College students face the most difficulty in adjusting during this period, as they’ve grown accustomed to saying whatever they want, whenever they want, on campus. Upon returning home, however, many students often find that their parents somehow still claim authority over them.

“My parents tried to make me do chores after the third day of being home,” said sophomore Jonathan Mura. “They kept saying something about how they’re paying for tuition or whatever. And they got mad because I told them I hadn’t done laundry since moving out.”

Mura was just one of a majority of students who went through culture shock over Thanksgiving break last year. For many students, the trials don’t end with parents who don’t understand them. As Thanksgiving prompts a gathering of extended family, clashes arise with other relatives as well.

“Every year I hope we can go 10 minutes without mentioning politics,” Mura said, “but it never happens. Last year we traveled for seven hours to visit my cousin, and the first thing he said when we got there was ‘we’re gonna make America great again!’”

The burning desire to make one’s political leanings abundantly clear during Thanksgiving dinner is a cultural phenomenon science that has yet to answer. Studies show that this desire is at its peak in elderly people and college students, as both demographics experience an ego boost at these ages. Some psychologists believe there is an actual physical pain associated with keeping quiet around relatives with different opinions.

Senior Jacie Qazaar has weathered three of these Thanksgiving gatherings. This time around, she opted to stay in Pullman.

“Last year was a nightmare,” she said. “My vegan aunt Lisa insisted we replace the turkey with tofu, but my grandparents refused. So she got back at them by FaceTiming her daughter’s entire hippie commune the whole time we were eating.”

Due to the traumatic nature of these visits, WSU will be hosting its annual “Thanksgiving Recovery” forum from 4 – 6 p.m. in the CUB ballroom the first Monday after the break. Staff from Counseling and Psychological Services will present on various topics such as coping with Thanksgiving culture shock and how to write apology letters to passive-aggressive relatives.

This will be the third year of the forum. Founder and resident psychologist Deena Houghton explained that she started the event to help students feel secure again after a turbulent break.

“I read some satire thing in the Evergreen last week poking fun at people who skip over Thanksgiving in favor of Christmas,” said Houghton. “But it’s not a joke — realizing that your family has different opinions than you is very damaging for students. That’s why no one likes Thanksgiving.”