If you’re anything like me, you have an interesting relationship with Thanksgiving. In theory, the day should be magnificent — massive quantities of food, loved ones, festive cheer, chilly weather football, non-stigmatized napping, etc. But when you put Turkey Day into practice, one thing becomes clear: the folks you call your ‘family’ can be somewhat different than what your warm and fuzzy memories conjure, and above all things that conversation around the table can become slightly awkward.

It never looks like this. Ever. (Photo from Free Great Images)

Fear not, fellow countryman. The following is a list of topics that will make you seem more interesting to your company, and hopefully put the topics of politics, religion, and grade point average on the back burner until after many, many libations.

First, get ‘em revved up with some Holiday-themed brain candy. Did you know that that lovely fowl you’re currently devouring was up for a nomination to be our National Bird? In fact, even good ol’ Ben Franklin can be quoted in a note to his daughter saying that a turkey would be a more respectable avian-themed patriotic symbol because the eagle lacked moral character. (Now get your uncle in a laughing fit by describing the visual of carving a Thanksgiving eagle. “Ha! Hahaha! Good’n there, nephew/niece! You’re back in the will!”)

Wouldn’t have been the prettiest of choices. (courtesy of Pixabay)

Once you’ve gotten their cognitive palates whetted, you can drop one more festive tidbit on them before moving onto random fun facts. Your dad will grunt with approval given his partiality to the subject of history for this one:

Turkey the country and turkey the animal are not named by coincidence.

Anthropological/etymological data shows us that because of laziness to assimilate, Europeans began calling a type of guinea fowl imported by Turkish people “Turkeys” for short instead of their indigenous names. When Europeans finally ventured to North America, what we know today as turkey birds were found to be quite the tasty reminiscence of those old guinea fowls from Istanbul. One thing led to another, and out of more laziness to assimilate or think of a new name, the modern day turkey was born. The people who decided on bird names were probably the same sluggish bastards who took the time and effort to name places like New England, New Jersey, New York, etc. Adventurous, sure — but not overly creative.

Now that you no doubt have at least one person snoring into their yams and another looking out the window paying attention to the Lions game on your neighbor’s 60 inch television  — it’s time for some rapid fire mind munchies. Here’s a list with hyperlinks for those interested in learning more. You know, write some of these on the bottom of your shoe or something, use at will and make your parents love you again.

Americans are sitting on an estimated unused $8 billion worth of gift cards. Those $10 Wal-Mart gift cards from Aunt Donna really start to add up after a while.

Minus 40 degrees Celsius is exactly the same as minus 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Still don’t get it. Sounds like a Canadian thing to me. Moving on.

A natural predator to the moose is the orca whale. Damn Pacific NW, you crazy!

More people on earth suffer from obesity than hunger. More stuffing, please!

In 2007, a man faked his own death to get out of a cell phone contract. Verizon sent the family a eloquently mournful letter of condolences—along with the bill for a $200 early termination fee. #JK

A day on the planet Venus is longer than a year on Venus. Especially if you have to go to the Venus DMV. Can I get an amen?

Global warming is a hoax created by gay astronauts.  This one is not totally accurate. BUT it will grab everyone’s attention!

If you’re in Detroit and you go due south, you will be in Canada. If you’re in Detroit, going towards any other direction seems like a good idea.

The voices of Yoda and Miss Piggy were done by the same person. And your cousin James from Westchester does a crappy impression of both, but let him at it.

Cleopatra lived closer chronologically to the first moon landing than she did to the construction of the Pyramids. She was born in 69 BC, to be exact.

Thomas Jefferson thought the concept of Thanksgiving was “the most ridiculous idea I’ve ever heard.”

This is one of those Thanksgiving facts thats strewn across local newspapers and fun fact lists without any real explanation. While it is true, its not like TJ didn’t get down with string bean casserole and pumpkin pie. When the idea for the holiday was first proposed, it had much more of a religious connection (hence THANKSgiving), and Jefferson thought the idea as a direct contradiction of the first amendment. Knowledge is power!!

Painting by J.L.G Ferris

So, hopefully this article gave you all some intellectual artillery for the dinner table this Thursday afternoon, or at least provided some interesting tidbits for your reading pleasure. This is without a doubt a wonderfully joyous time of year, so don’t be afraid to rekindle the family spirit with the bestowal of knowledge. Maybe, just maybe your fun info will make your family love you again and forget the fact that you set the tablecloth on fire when setting the table.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!