My last Thanksgiving advice column was such a success* that I’ve decided to resurrect it this year. Of your kindness, please keep in mind that our power went out last night around 8:30, and we just now got it back – and it keeps flickering, threatening to go out again.

Is this life in a refugee camp, the streets of Calcutta, or the end of the world? No, not quite. But a situation like this, when there is a half-defrosted turkey that was supposed to go into the oven three hours ago, and when the toilets won’t flush and the coffee won’t brew and the milk’s going bad and the pipes are fixing to freeze and the dog simply can’t understand what his happening, but he thinks maybe he will help matters by pacing and pacing and pacing and occasionally, because of a nervous tic, reenacting a stunning pastiche of Famous Rodeo Disasters of the 1880’s on the living room rug, it can make for some tension. Chilly, chilly, tension.

Did I mention that the toilets won’t flush? Did I mention that there are eleven of us? So if you read this post and think t o yourself, "Boy, this is even dumber then usual!" -- well, you have your answer. All right, then, here we goes.

*sure, why not?

 

Dear Simcha,

Sometimes I can’t sleep at night.  There isn’t really anything wrong. I have a secure life, a stable relationship, decent emotional and physical health, and even some really top quality linens on my bed. And yet I find myself wide awake at three a.m., night after night, just staring into the abyss and wondering what it all means. Any ideas?

Signed, Nocturnal Melancholy

 

Dear Mel,

Inexplicable insomnia is a fairly common problem. I struggled it with myself for several years, and finally became desperate enough to consult with my doctor. He suggested a few lifestyle changes, such as getting all the mammals you are not married to out of your bed. If you can’t quite manage that, you could start with baby steps, and just remove the ones who really like to dig you with their toenails, and the ones who signal their transition into REM sleep by making a noise like an adenoidal manatee eating an especially unwieldly seaweed sandwich with extra, extra mayo.

I think you will find that making these minor adjustments in your routine will make a world of difference. You could also try drinking heavily, which, coincidentally, is what my doctor started doing a few weeks after we became his patients.

 

***

Dear Simcha,

I know it’s kind of last minute, but we sure are tired of the same old dishes year after year for Thanksgiving. Any creative inspirations from the Fisher Family table?

Signed,

Fanciful Whimsey

 

Dear Fancy pants,

We’re doing the same at our house this year – just trying to shake things up a little, you know? Tradition is all very well and good, but there is nothing wrong with letting a bit of that free spirit shine. Here are a few ideas to tickle your culinary imagination:

  • Everyone takes the giblet packet out of the turkey before stuffing the bird. But you’re not everyone, are you? Leave that sucker be. The first guest to find it on his plate gets good luck for the rest of the year!
  • It’s called “stuffing” for a reason. Before you put it in the bird, try stuffing each individual cube of toasted bread with a small and savory surprise, such as caper, a wedge of wine-soaked portabella mushroom, or a smidge of Cheez-n-Bakkin flavored Busy Chewnola Dog Treats, available at Walmart. Don’t forget the poultry thread to sew the cubes up again. It’s a holiday! No shortcuts.
  • This one’s only if you’re feeling really daring: Try opening the can of cranberry sauce from the bottom, instead of the top. I KNOW.

 

***

Dear Mr. Pfischurr, if that is indeed your name,

I was thinking of sending a small I mean very very large sustaining donation to EWTN last year, but then this year I noticed that you’ve been writing for the Register for something like four years, and that certainly explains a thing or two in the downturn in quality that I have definitely noticed a lot; and my accountant, that I definitely have because I am a wealthy donor, feels the same way.  It’s stealth liberals like you who are responsible for at least 90% of the souls who have been lost since the Council of Trent. I don’t know how you sleep at night.

P.S. You have yellow teeth, ha ha, why don’t you get a real job?

In His Name Plus Lots of His Blood and His Mother and His Mother’s Blood,

Albigensius Maximus

 

Dear Al,

If it’s any comfort, I haven’t slept at night for at least eleven years; and that one night’s sleep was due to heavy sedation from my surgeon. I didn’t even have surgery; he just felt bad for me. Then there was that one time we had band, catechism, Rotary, drama club, and four orthodontist appointments all in one day, and that one stretch of road was just so extremely soothing that I just kind of drifted off to slee