Many families have that Thanksgiving tradition where you take turns telling each other what you are thankful for. This was definitely one of my favorite traditions, and I had a lot of fun with it. In particular, there were three Thanksgivings that I thought were super memorable.
My Third Favorite Thankful Moment
When it was my turn to tell my family what I was thankful for, I stood up, cleared my throat and started singing Kelly Clarkson’s “A Moment Like This.” My performance was complete with fake tears and I did it in a funny Opera voice.
My Second Favorite Thankful Moment
I got in a lot of trouble for this one. After half of my family said they were thankful for their spouses, religion, freedom, etc., I announced that I was thankful that I was well endowed. I remember one of my brothers spitting out his soda from laughing so hard while another one gave me a high five and said “me too.” My dad simply chuckled and said “you’re welcome.”
My Most Favorite Thankful Moment
My all-time favorite thankful moment was also the most controversial. It was 15 years ago this month that I came home from my LDS mission, super sick with giardia. I was supposed to be on my mission for 2 years, but I only made it 3 months because of how sick I got. Upon arriving home at the beginning of November 1999, I was taken directly to the hospital. I spent the next few weeks getting better. At Thanksgiving, my family probably expected me to say I was thankful to be home (and believe me, I was thankful to be home), but instead, I revealed something kind of shocking. “I’m thankful that I drank the water on purpose so that I could get sick and come home.” My family thought I was joking at first, but I was being completely serious.
I hated my mission. It was awful. I was struggling with my identity, depression, and an asshole companion who was a huge dick. I decided I wanted to come home, so I created a list of all of the different ways I could do to get out of Mexico (I still have this list and I smile every time I see it.) The list included things like hitchhiking home, telling my mission president I was gay, or drinking the water to get sick. I started my quest by telling my mission president I was gay. I thought for sure that he would send me home. Instead, he told me that a lot of the missionaries there are gay and that if I prayed about it I’d get better – Well that didn’t work like I had planned. The next thing I tried was hitchhiking, but I only got a few blocks away. I kept saying “Norte!”, but nobody could drive me more than a few blocks. After a handful of rides, I figured I’d never get to Salt Lake City this way. So I did the most rational thing I could think of – I drank the water… on purpose. I didn’t know at the time that I was drinking poop water. All I knew was that I would get sick if I drank it. Every morning for a week, I would take big gulps of water while brushing my teeth. It worked pretty fast, too – I started getting severe abdominal pain. When I went to the doctor, they gave me a note that said “quistes de giardia lamblia” Yay, they found giardia eggs!!! I was coming home!
To this day, I’m still super thankful for that shitty Mexican water that I guzzled. Coming home from my mission was a huge turning point in my life. I was on my way to becoming The Tyler Smart. (did you see what I did there?) Thanksgiving is almost here, what are you thankful for?