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Turn Your Head and Cough #13
by Jason Torchinsky

This year for Thanksgiving I decided to do something special for my family. Why the hell not, I reasoned, they're my family, and if you don't count a certain cruel surgical operation I endured when I was but a lad, they've always been good to me. This year they didn't even bother to get their phone number unlisted, saving me a great deal of holidaytime searching. So, to show my appreciation, I decided to surprise my parents by giving them the best Thanksgiving dinner they've ever had. I found out that dinner was in New Rochelle, NY, 1976, and despite some very generous offers from your humble narrator, and, of course, me, I was unable to procure the meal. So instead I decide to try to make them one on my own.

Now, as we all know from that old saying one usually finds on tattoos, the key to a great Thanksgiving dinner is to get the freshest turkey possible. So, at night, I got a live turkey from a farm on the outskirts of town by a method that my grandfather used to call "stealing." Ah, those quaint old customs. The next day I had the turkey stuffed, and, as an extra bonus, upholstered. Nothing was too good for my dinner.

I was ready to cook. I am fairly well versed in the culinary arts, thanks to the teaching of a friend and mentor from Maine, and I have quite a natural affinity for food. Hell, I was practically weaned on the stuff. Perhaps that is why the outcome of my meal still surprises me. I brought the water in the pot to a boil, just like I was supposed to, and I crammed the live turkey in the pot, par my teaching, but I guess I must have broken its wing cramming it in or something like that, because next thing I know, the bird's going nuts, apparently not having yet acquiesced itself to the fact that it is destined to be a meal. After one particularly forceful thrash, the pot came crashing off the stove, coating me in scalding water and setting the hot, moist turkey loose. I bolted out the door after it, blistering all over until I resembled a pizza or Jupiter's moon Io, but the damn fowl managed to get to a cab before I could catch up with it. I think I heard it laugh.

Sadly, I was forced to cook the "backup bird" for Thanksgiving dinner, an odd, frozen, unidentifiable avian carcass my mother keeps in the freezer for such an emergency. I never did find out exactly what it was. At first I thought it tasted like owl, but my father's selection of a red wine to serve with the meal proved this theory wrong, as everybody knows that owl should only be served with a light blush.

So I'm flipping channels on the TV the other day, you know, making channel 6 into channel 9, when I stumbled across one of those really long talk-show looking kind of commercial things. Picking myself up, I listened and found that they were talking about personal color typing, that fascinating and innovative process by which, using some complex machinery, I assume, one can have a "season" of colors assigned to them that is guaranteed to make one's life far more joyous than those simps who choose what color to wear with the ruthless abandon of crabgrass.

I was soon gripped with panic as I realized that I myself was one of those unlucky simps, having absasmurfly no idea if I was a winter or a spring or whatever season colorwise, and hence realized that I was living an empty, undirected existence. I was not color-typed! What if I was in an accident? How would the medics know? According to what I understand of the theory of color typing, I believe that I could sustain serious injury if improper colors are assigned to me. Dammit, only a fool would have let himself live in ignorance as long as I have. I vowed to immediately get my colors done, as they say, and, to make up for my years of apathy, to begin to write my congressman to lobby for a bill that would make it mandatory for a person's season to appear on his or her driver's license.

I called 911 and was given the address of the nearest personal color typing facility. Within minutes I was in a 360 degree skid in the parking lot, then bolting inside for the process to begin. What ensued was a tribute to the scientists of these great 65 states of ours. First, I was placed in a stark-white decontamination chamber for 54 straight hours in order to remove the influence of any other color types that I may have encountered in the course of my daily rounds. Then came a series of general health tests, such as being spun by my ankles at 275 rpm, a test to see how much ferrous metal I could hold down before vomiting, and a simple blood pressure check that utilized the superprecise method of measuring the blood's pressure while out of my circulatory system and in a special glass chamber. They recommended that I eat a piece of bread before that last test, and, I will admit that the experience of being blood-free even for those few short hours is not one I would care to repeat.

These preliminaries passed with flying colors, or at least red, research began on my color type. The process was mostly genetic. A four-inch square section of flesh was removed from my person, as well as from me. This piece was then extracted of its genetic material which contained the individual genes that controlled a person's color type.

Results came rapidly. I learned that although I had many of the genes necessary to classify me as a Winter, a mutation in my family stock made this impossible, and I am currently answering the charges of inbreeding with the help of certain legal counsel. Anyway, some of the other seasons looked promising, including Spring, but a freak lab accident clouded the preliminary results and also effectively rendered whatever children I may eventually have partially deaf. Finally, my type was determined. It seems as though the four main seasonal color types were all filled up this time of year, so I had to settle for Rainy, mostly out of desperation. The colors aren't great, but it does have its own damp smell, and, most importantly, I am now no longer unclassified coloristically. I am now free to relax with the knowledge that my life is one step closer to total fulfillment.

Well, there was something else I was going to talk about, but I'm running out of room, and I can just tell you when you return from vacation. Okay? It'll give you something to look forward to. So have a nice break, and here's a piece of advice: Don't play with people's minds; it gets your hands all sticky. Solidarity.

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