The Eighth Page

Party Like It’s 1621

William Bradford (governor of Plymouth Colony, addressing a crowd): Greetings, my friends! Before we begin our feast on this most joyous occasion, I’d like to acknowledge the people who made it all possible. A dozen men from the Wampanoag tribe have worked tirelessly to grow and prepare all the food you see here, so how about a big round of applause for them! (Gestures to pile of assorted corpses, light applause and cheering from Pilgrims) William Bradford: What a bunch of troopers. Hopefully, we will never exploit them for their land or confine them to reservations in the future. Chief Squanto glares at Bradford, muttering under his breath. William Bradford: My fellow colonists, today is a day that we give thanks. Therefore, I have decided, in a stroke of original brilliance, that this holiday will henceforth be known as “Thanksgiving.” Today we offer our thanks to God for blessing us with our first successful harvest, and – Chief Squanto: All right, that’s enough. Are you kidding? Your “successful harvest” was entirely the responsibility of the Wampanoag tribe. Without us, you wouldn’t have known how to grow anything on that table. Seriously, it’s people like you that – William Bradford (in a raised voice, speaking to Squanto slowly, assuming he barely knows English): THAT IS VERY NICE, SQUANTO. THANK YOU VERY MUCH. Chief Squanto: I can understand English, you know, you don’t have to talk to me like an idiot. William Bradford (ignoring Squanto): Pilgrims, let this day be the start of a proud tradition in our new land! May we eat until we vomit, then eat more after that! (Crowd cheers) William Bradford: May we spend time with annoying relatives! (Crowd cheers) William Bradford: May we watch the Detroit Lions lose by at least three touchdowns! (Silence) William Bradford: You know, the Lions? The NFL? John Madden? (More silence, confused looks from the crowd) William Bradford: Nothing? All right… Chief Squanto (laughing): You’re a huge idiot. William Bradford: Shut up, Squanto. As I was saying, today we celebrate our freedom from religious persecution and oppression. We begin this new chapter of our existence today, as the first prosperous settlers of the New World! Chief Squanto: You know that Europeans have settled here already, right? John Smith created a colony in Virginia 14 years ago. William Bradford (irritated): Squanto, if I had known you were going to be such a Negative Nancy, I wouldn’t have invited you today. Just stop. Chief Squanto: Okay, I’m just saying, you might be the dumbest person I’ve ever met. William Bradford (pretending not to hear Squanto): Now, my friends, before we eat, let us say our traditional blessing. (Crowd bows heads) Crowd: Ra! Ra! Thanks for the grub! Yay, God! Chief Squanto (shaking his head): Unbelievable.