Over the last fews days, an avalanche of the same regurgitated sentiments about being home for the holidays has hit the Internet, and you shamelessly clicked on it. You, along with the rest of your classmates, all of whom have mailed it in for the week, killed three minutes here, two minutes there looking at lists the likes of “10 People You’ll See Over Thanksgiving Break.” They might not even have been humorous, but you related to the perpetual generalizations and feel-good prospects your hometown offers.
But what if you aren’t going home for break? Where are all the articles about those poor bastards, who for one reason or another are staying in the ghost town that is their college community? Fear not, you dejected souls, you are not alone.
Typically, there are a few other sad sacks of shit left in town that are either working Black Friday (God bless ‘em), live on the other side of this great country, or are altogether hated by their family. The goal is to bring these individuals together and assemble some form of ratpack holiday crew that will share in a drink called loneliness. Now, these kids are by no means your B or even C squad options. We’re talking D league quality, or better yet, the 76ers of friends. Usually, the group consists of a few fraternity brothers you’ve never had more than a five minute conversation with, some Polish kid in your cornerstone group that speaks broken English, and some guy, whose name you’ve long forgotten, you played pickup hoops with a few weeks back. It’s not your dysfunctional family or degenerate high school friends, but you’ll settle on getting fucked up with this island of misfit toys.
Much like you would back home, you’re going to hit up the local dive bar Wednesday night. Go in with the lowest expectations humanly possible, because that favorite hole in the wall of yours, usually filled to the brim with sorority trim, will be a bizarre Twilight Zone shell of its great self. It’ll be occupied by one older bartender you’ve previously never had the displeasure of meeting and a few giant tatted-up townies in leather jackets shooting billiards. Pink Floyd’s “Time” will be playing on the jukebox and urge to drink will be immediate. Anchor down in those barstools; it’s going to be a long night.
You start out making small talk with this hodgepodge of replacement friends while viciously pounding down beer after beer with zero regard for mankind. Your mission is solely to get blackout drunk and forget you’re not with loved ones eating home-cooked meals and drinking hot whiskey cider. You want to forget the fact that the only woman in the building is tattooed on homeboy by the pool table’s neck. Meanwhile, the other townie just put in $20 of Pearl Jam. At this point, you make a conscious decision that the only way to make it through an Eddie Vedder power hour is to drink recklessly close to death.
Eventually you’ll start to connect with the group of miscreants you rolled into the bar with. Fraudulent statements like “I can’t believe we don’t hang out more often” will be drunkenly spurted out on more than one occasion. You’ll then grab one of your new best buds and try to hustle those bikers in a gentleman’s game of 9-ball. Unfortunately, this “friend” will have the eye-hand coordination of a bat, the extras from Sons of Anarchy will take you to the woodshed, and they’ll be expecting proper compensation. You’re dangerously close to doing the “Mortal Kombat” fatality dance so you pony up without much of a fight before pool cues are smashed over your dome. Proceed to drink yourself into mind-numbing darkness.
You’ll wake up with an ungodly headache, feeling more fragile than Derrick Rose’s knees, uncomfortably balled up on the love seat in an apartment unfamiliar to you. With your phone dead, you walk around the place to gather your bearings. You open up a few doors and eventually see the Polish kid passed out on the floor next to his bed. “Fuck it, I’ll walk back.”
After a much longer trip back home than anticipated, you’ll chug water directly out of the sink due to your lack of clean cups. After countless battles in the bathroom with the beer shits, you’ll stumble over to the couch and throw on the TV where the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade will no doubt fill the screen. Questions of “who watches this shit?” will dawn on you within minutes before finally changing the channel. The day will be spent recovering from the night before, in your dimly lit common room with the blinds shut, and you’ll halfheartedly watch Matthew Stafford and Tony Romo throw numerous interceptions. Hunger, at some point, sets in and you’ll have turkey on the mind, but after realizing how long a holiday bird takes to cook, you settle on KFC. As you smash down your pathetic, greasy, family-portioned fried chicken, sub-par mashed potatoes, and stale biscuits, you’ll think to yourself, “Happy Fucking Thanksgiving.”.