As my family gathered around the table last Thursday evening, we named what we were thankful for this year. While my mother answered “God” and my uncle chose to say “pie,” I, being the delightful child that I am, thanked the Pilgrims. After all, without them, we wouldn’t celebrate the worst holiday known to man.

Alright, so maybe it’s a little unfair to pick on poor old Thanksgiving. Overlooking that whole smallpox epidemic and the near destruction of an entire culture, Thanksgiving’s not so bad in principle. Who doesn’t like mashed potatoes? And it’s not just Thanksgiving that brings me down — Blah-nukkah, Kwanz-ugh and the other holidays that are not so easily turned into puns. From the time they start playing Christmas music on the radio up until the drunken splendor of New Years Eve, I can’t help but feel utterly disappointed. And it’s not just because I have no one to kiss under the mistletoe besides my cat Patches.

Let’s examine Thanksgiving. In theory, last weekend should have been better than a night with that dreamboat from “Dawson’s Creek.” Not only was it a necessary break from extensive procrastination, but it was also a chance for students to visit with family.

But it’s important to note that in order to spend time with relatives, one must actually spend time with said relatives. And once you realize no one brought you a check “just ‘cause,” family can get, well, old. You’re still getting kicked out of the grown-up’s table when you laugh during your mom’s marathon prayer. Your grandma still tells the family she wishes she never had children. And even the most seasoned Residential College veteran isn’t prepared for your vegan cousin’s rant about innocent life slaughtered as you bite into a drumstick — after all, those non-shaven, hemp-wearing, no-good, rock ‘n’ rollin’ hippies in East Quad are too stoned to complain about any food set in front of them. The only thing that has really changed is the interrogation process. That is the horrible period during which Aunt Leslie waits right until you shovel sweet potatoes in your mouth to ask you innumerable questions about your classes, professors, grades, etc. — questions that are next to impossible to answer due to a semester-long love affair with alcohol.

Luckily this “helliday” feast doesn’t last forever. Eventually, the casserole turns cold and the mood turns from irritatingly friendly to bloated and depressed. If you play your cards right, the bitter battle between the Wolverines and the Buckeyes can provide the perfect opportunity to escape and see the people you really wanted to see — your high school friends. But even if you’re lucky enough to actually have friends, odds are you’ll be disappointed, for two key reasons.

The first is Facebook. Yes, we’re supposed to miss friends when we go off to college. And most importantly, we’re supposed to feel satisfied when we realize that our old enemies are up to no good. But thanks to constant Facebook updates, the thrill of catching up is nonexistent. Scroll through your news feed for a few minutes and you’ll find out all too quickly that the senior class president is now an alcoholic, the prom queen is on the fast-track to a future in “Girls Gone Wild” films and your ex-best friend is still getting with that weird guy. Thanks to Mark Zuckerburg, the excitement of discovering you’re still better than everyone else is gone.

That leads right into the second reason: the development of the “Harvard of the Midwest” psyche. After nearly three months straight in Ann Arbor, you’ll inevitably carry the burden of knowing you are indeed superior to everyone else. (Take that, Georgetown. Bet you wish you would’ve accepted me now… sigh.) Suddenly, all your high school friends seem to be so … vapid … obtuse … cretinous … that they fail to recognize the intellectual value of ellipses! No one else uses air quotes to strengthen an argument! What do you mean you want to go to Macy’s for “Black Friday” shopping — don’t “you” understand you’re simply bolstering a false “sense” of the free enterprise system? Perhaps this may seem pretentious, but we deserve it — the voice of Darth Vader went here, for love of Zeus’s beard.

Luckily for us, the horrors of coming home are long gone, along with our decent physiques. Life’s going back to normal here in Ann Arbor, which means we can all go back to panicking over our econ grades and spending evenings in the fetal position, clutching on to our bio textbook for dear life. Happy Finals!

Melanie Kruvelis can be reached at

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