Saturday, November 30, 2013

Turkey Texts

Traditional barbecued turkey.

Whew! Survived another Thanksgiving without serious frostbite to important parts of my anatomy. As explained inlast year’s post about Thanksgiving, there is a small invasion at our house for the event. It’s all part of our family’s tradition for observing the fourth Thursday in November. After all, family traditions are what make the holidays special - particularly since it’s critical to have rules of conduct whenever hostilities are likely to break out.

We have “traditions” for every holiday of the year. I should first define for the readers how, exactly, our family defines a tradition: any specific act repeated on the same date for two consecutive years. (Yeah, we’re totally easy, tradition sluts.) With that definition in mind, I do believe we witnessed the birth of a new Turkey-day tradition this year; that of the Anonymous Turkey-day text.

Last year between trips out to the barbecue I received several cheery texts. It all started out with a simple, “Happy Thanksgiving!” Try as I might, I couldn’t identify the number of the sender, and no name displayed with the message so it was certain they weren’t in my contacts. Feeling the magnanimous spirit of the season, I responded in kind and asked who sent the text. I was gently chided for my ignorance in response. 

Following a couple more exchanges - wherein we established that we really didn’t know one another, but wished each other the very best for which to be thankful - I came to the conclusion the sender of the texts was enjoying their turkey as a wild version from a bottle. I finally managed to bring a halt to the exchanges by asking if the sender was interested in any life insurance, as that was my line of work. (I sincerely hope lying on Thanksgiving Day isn’t a particularly egregious sin of any sort.)

Anonymous Thanksgiving moose.

We all had a good laugh, and I deleted the messages without ever actually determining the identity of my text pal.

The anonymous texter became tradition this year when my wife’s phone received a text with a picture attached. 

Anonymous texter: “Hope you and your family have a happy happy happy Thanksgiving today!”

That was followed a few minutes later with: “Have a good one!” 

Obviously befuddled by the lack of response, a third text came in shortly: “?”

It was clear that the anonymous texter expected something in return, so I answered, “Thank you, but I think you have a wrong number.” 

Anonymous texter: “Ooops! Well happy holidays as well then”

Problem solved. Or so I thought. Within minutes the anonymous texter sent a long, detailed description of the holiday trip they were about to embark upon. 

Aside from the punctuation issues, what is wrong with these people? Do they just randomly dial numbers and start texting? Don’t they have a contact list on their phone, or do they have a contact group labeled “Random numbers to text on Thanksgiving?”

Were I genuinely serious about identifying the person, it would be possible to intercept them at any one of the airports they would be travelling through. Even better, I had enough information to kidnap their dog and hold it hostage. I conjured up images of texting back to the merry traveler with ransom demands. 

“Hey, Happy Thanksgiving, and best of the holidays to you! I want $23.76 in small, unmarked change, or Fluffy goes to the big kennel in the sky.”

Great weather to barbecue a turkey... maybe not.

Oh, well. Maybe I should just be thankful that Anthony Weiner didn’t do any random texting to the 907 area code.

Shameless plug: My Alaskan novel, Somewhere West of Roads, is available in either e-book, or hard copy, on Amazon.