This Thanksgiving, We’re Eating A Pelican

The best alternative to turkey.

Laura Shepard
Nov 26, 2020 · 3 min read
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Image for post
Photo by Wayne de Klerk

2020 has been one for the books, and I don’t mean the history books. I mean the recipe books. That’s right. Forget everything else, because this Thanksgiving, we’re not eating turkey. This Thanksgiving, we’re eating glorious pelican fresh out of the sky.

I know what you’re thinking: What the fuck are you talking about? But before you cram your AirPods back in and keep doomscrolling into the future, hoping that whatever vaccine comes out will also make you more attractive, let me let you in on a little secret: Turkeys are fucking lame. They’ve got a dick for a neck, an umbrella for an ass, and a bad attitude. They’re doused with Tryptophan that will make you fall asleep faster than you can say “Make America Suck Again” and have assholes full of gizzard farts. Some say the Tryptophan bit is a myth, but do you know what’s really a myth? Plymouth Fucking Rock. Stop believing turkey propaganda and get you a bird that can fly.

The pelican’s beak is a battleship. Its wingspan the Sydney Opera House; its feathers dictionary pages. It swallows fish the way the whale swallowed Jonah: whole. This is what you need. You need a bird that hunts by plunging into the ocean like a forty-miles-an-hour turd knowing that if it dies well then at least it truly lived.

Let me tell you something else. There’s a little something in each turkey and it’s not stuffing. It’s a desire to bring you down, to the low vibrations of the Earth, to the place where birds can’t fly. What is your tie to the turkey anyway? You didn’t invent it. You didn’t say, “Hey, look at this bird I invented.” Is it because you wanted to be the turkey in your first-grade Thanksgiving play but Mrs. McNally assigned you as the Mayflower? With no speaking part? Is it because when you were waiting backstage before the performance, proud pilgrim Suzanne Baker looked at you in your cardboard boat trash as if she just knew you were going to fuck everything up? Is it because Ricky Wilson got to be the turkey and he also won the best handwriting award that year when you know damn well that his handwriting sucked and now Ricky is a successful sports commentator? Well get over it and clear a spot on your plate for a bird with eyes like halos. 2020 is the year of the pelican.

When the pelican takes to the wind it spreads its wings the same way socialism spreads: like magic. Each feather lifts in an aerodynamic orgasm to match the curvature of Communion bread as the bird ascends further into the celestial sphere, only looking below to judge lesser beings, flapping its wings to the rhythm of Pomp and Circumstance. Unlike the turkey, the pelican has no regrets.

And so I invite you to imagine this: your Thanksgiving table overflowing with festive china, rolled napkins, and trays of casseroles, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, Aunt Judy’s creamed heart-attack pasta, all centered around a grand, flaming pelican.

Now that’s what I call history.

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Laura Shepard

Written by

I am a writer based in Atlanta, Georgia, mostly writing humor and memoir. I have been described as having “a heart of gold with a big dark spot on it.”



Medium humor. Large laughs.

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