Trudging Through A Turkey Coma
So how are you feeling? Guys, can you button your pants yet? Ladies, are you still defaulting to sweat pants whenever possible? Is that Ziploc bag of turkey still in your family’s fridge? If so, it’s likely that most of your family members jet out the front door at the suggestion of yet another warmed-over, pick n’ choose meal of dried out turkey, congealed gravy and rock-hard mashed potatoes. Even our dogs turn up their big noses at turkey now.
Hard to believe it’s already been a week since Thanksgiving. But judging from how people are behaving on the road and in stores all over town this week, I have a gut feeling (pun intended) that many of us are still coping with the logy, bloated, semi-conscious after-effects of stuffing too much turkey into our thankful faces.
I don’t know if I buy into the urban mythology of the so-called “turkey effect.” This phenomenon is supposed to be caused by an amino acid called tryptophan that encourages the body to produce serotonin, a brain chemical that is said to create a feeling of well being and relaxation. In other words, a food coma.
Then again, I’ve also read that it’s not the turkey, per se, that creates this legendary sedative effect, but the plentiful platters of carbohydrates typically consumed along with the bird.
I first learned about the supposed sleep-inducing effects of eating turkey while shooting several TV commercials on location in the Superstition Mountains of Arizona. It was the start of a long nighttime shoot, outdoors, and the production company caterer had just begun to serve the 40 or so cast and crewmembers a feast of roasted turkey under the evening stars before filming began. When our producer arrived on scene, she took one look at the platters of turkey and went ballistic in a way that echoed off the rock cliffs a half-mile away. The pretty, petite blonde advanced on the head caterer like an angry Arizona dust storm, smacking turkey-laden forks out of crewmembers’ hands as she passed them by. The entire distance from her SUV to the stunned chef, she was screaming variations of, “Are you out of your #&@%#*!!! mind, serving a hot turkey meal before a nighttime shoot?!? We’re all gonna be asleep before we roll 10 feet of film!”
I felt horrible for the terrified caterer, but grateful it wasn’t me who had to face the wrath of our furious producer.
Not surprisingly, our delicious hot turkey meal was soon winging its way to a homeless shelter an hour or so away in Phoenix. The cast and crew all wound up eating cold ham sandwiches and store-bought macaroni salad that very long, very frigid night in the middle of the Arizona desert. At least everyone stayed awake (and shivering) all night. Ah, the glamour of the film business.
That said, I know some folks who could’ve used a heapin’ helping of tryptophan themselves last week. I mean, what goes through the minds of all those crazy Black Friday shoppers shown on the news, storming the doors of department stores in order to save a few dollars on another flat screen TV, video game console or iWhatever electronic device? From full-scale brawls to shoppers using pepper spray and stun guns – the bargain-induced mayhem was hard to watch. It’s sad to think that the turkey leftovers were still warm and the football games undecided when many thousands of bargain-hunting bozos cued up to spend, spend, spend.
And yet, in spite of the unprecedented decision made by so many stores to open on the actual Thanksgiving holiday itself, the week-after numbers show a dismal drop of nearly 3% in total combined retail sales from the same shopping period last year.
Gee, maybe the biggest turkey at the table these days is our national economy. Or the government responsible for it.
I’ll see you ’round town.