Hamburger Helper makes the worst Thanksgiving ever

The Thanksgiving I was 26, I was living in South Florida and working at a Barnes & Noble and sometimes helping rich kids with their homework. I was pretty much broke. My chief forms of entertainment were reading books I borrowed from the bookstore, observing my roommate’s various New Age-y health regimens, having long talks with my cat, and driving around with my closest friend at the time. He was pretty much broke, too. We took in the sights of Boca Raton and Delray Beach and drank black coffee and tea, purchased with his Starbucks employee discount. Sometimes late at night we would hang out in Denny’s, which was sort of like live theater. Basically I was living like an overgrown, feral teenager. I must have looked especially hungry during this period, because people kept asking me if I’d had enough to eat and sometimes kindly friends and relatives who were my parents’ age would invite me over for meals. I always accepted.

Going home for Thanksgiving was out of the question; my services were required at the bookstore all day Black Friday. I’d been counting on going to my cousins’ for Thanksgiving dinner, but about a week before the holiday, they remembered to tell me that they were going to Atlanta to be thankful with their son and daughter-in-law, who were my age but responsible married people with grown-up jobs and a mortgage. Like a teenager, I sulked and felt unloved.


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