Are you thinking to yourself "Boy, I can't wait to have a moist gobbler for supper!"? If so, then you're a horrible person, and you should gorge yourself on Thanksgiving in order to distract your mouth from saying stupid words. If not, then you're probably relatively likable, yet helpless in your own way, which is why I've prepared this guide.

Because you're reading this on Thanksgiving day at the earliest, you might think you've waited until the last minute to go grocery shopping. Actually, you should wait until 10 minutes past the last minute. No matter how much you prepare, regardless of how much of Martha Stewart's DNA you've stolen and directly injected into your food-making organs, you will forget at least six crucial items.

This will become apparent when you are rushing to check on the turkey and -- oh shit, do we have any sage? It says here I need sage! I don't remember reading that... did somebody break into our home and update this recipe last night? Trust me on this, guys; if you want to make the perfect turkey, it will take a lot of thyme. Ha ha, that is a food joke! Happy Thanksgiving, I'm a stupid asshole!

When searching for the perfect turkey, pay attention to the following characteristics:

  • Weight. Count the number of adults who will be attending, then count the number of children and divide that number by four. Then add together the amount, in pounds, of carbohydrate-heavy side dishes. Now divide your first number by the last number. Congratulations! You have done some math.
  • Puncture wounds in the packaging. Almost all reputable companies package their turkeys in some sort of wrapping. If you enter a store and see an unwrapped turkey covered in dirt and Band-Aids laying on the floor, you should probably avoid purchasing it unless you really need the Band-Aids. Holes and rips in the turkey packaging can lead to disease and contamination, two things not traditionally associated with Thanksgiving (with the exception of the original Native Americans). Also it suggests the possibility that your turkey engaged in a knife fight and lost. America hates losers!
  • The "due date." Every turkey has a time and date stamped across it, which Thanksgiving scientists refer to as the "due date." It is important you consume the turkey by the specified time, or else it will give birth to thousands of frozen baby turkey spores, and then you'll inevitably squash some while trampling through their realm like some graceless colossus, and then you'll get sued by animal-rights activists.

For best results, purchase a frozen turkey. According to reputable Thanksgiving think tanks such as the movie Demolition Man, these turkeys are in cryo-sleep and have been genetically modified to taste 378 percent better than normal turkeys. Also, they can hack ATMs.

Turkey is an inherently healthy meat, filled with nutrients that can lower cholesterol. You can easily overcome this hurdle during the cooking process by coating it with two pounds of liquefied butter every 15 minutes. For good measure (or if you're in the Midwest), try replacing the stuffing with deep-fried cookie dough. Then replace the turkey with frozen custard.

Save yourself time by asking family members to bring side dishes. Once your guests arrive with their offerings, immediately store them (the food, not the family members) in a nearby garbage can, thereby freeing up table space for things that are not 500 pounds of stupid canned green beans floating in a mushroom-soup murk.

Brush up on your Thanksgiving day prayers. It is very important to thank God before eating your meal because His son Jesus has the ability to travel back in time and kill Christopher Columbus' parents before they give birth. That would devastate your Thanksgiving celebration, because then if you said something like "now let us give thanks," some smart-ass kid could reply "why bother, Christopher Columbus never existed you liar" and you'd know in your heart of hearts that it was true.

Practice your small talk. While it may seem like a pointless waste of time, imagine a Thanksgiving celebration without pointless small talk. You'd have a room full of 30 people completely unfamiliar with each other, bonded in last name only, silently staring at each other for six hours. Additionally, the more people you engage in small talk, the easier it is to fart undetected. Here are a few examples to get you started:

GOOD SMALL TALK EXAMPLES:

  • "Hey [FAMILY MEMBER'S NAME], do you still work at [DUMB DEAD-END JOB THAT THEY'LL BEGIN TALKING ABOUT FOR SEVERAL HOURS, THUS GRANTING YOU THE ABILITY TO EAT YOUR FOOD IN PEACE]?" Make sure to not actually say the words in brackets aloud, unless your family is very weird.
  • "So, how about them sports?" All Americans love sports! Well watching sports, not actually playing them, unless it's on a console or prefaced by the word "fantasy." If you want to get real specific and sound like a pro, mention a specific sport such as "football" or "college football." Then prepare yourself for a magical journey into the amazing world of sporting tales, full of exciting roster moves and questionable coaching decisions! Look on the bright side: These people will all eventually die!
  • "Man, I can't believe I ate so much! Did you eat as much as I did? Because I ate so much! It is unbelievable! I am so full, due primarily to the fact that I ate so much! Of the food!" Then lean back and pat your stomach, to assure everybody that the food you ate now resides in your stomach as opposed to somewhere else, such as a nearby cabinet or your anus.

BAD SMALL TALK EXAMPLES:

  • Sarah Palin.

Actively speed events along with subtle verbal cues. 98 percent of any Thanksgiving gathering consists of wasted time, where family members awkwardly stroll in random directions and pretend like they're going to do something or say something. You can easily optimize such wasted time by strategically inserting comments designed to keep events moving along at a brisk pace.

Greet guests by saying, "I'm so glad you made it, can I take your coat? The food is almost ready, so you might want to grab a chair." Even if the turkey won't be finished for several hours, it will get your family prepared for the monumental task of migrating from the living room to the dining room, which typically lasts longer than the Mesozoic era.

Once everybody has finished eating (or at least you have), begin wrapping things up by subliminally suggesting everybody should start leaving as soon as possible or else you just might snap and chase them around the table with an assault rifle. This can be safely accomplished by cleverly segueing into small talk: I suggest something along the lines of "Wow, that sure was a great meal! Does anybody here have any amusing personal family stories to tell right before you get in your car and go home?"

Well, now that you've eaten your food and dismissed your guests, it's time to relax. Are you thinking "what a hearty meal! Now I can't wait to get toasty under the covers!"? Dammit, why are you still here? This advice wasn't for jerks.

– Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka (@lowtax)

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