Around the dinner table

Santo Caruso

9:30 p.m.- Last class before break: Grab the laundry, chuck the takeout menus; it’s turkey time!

2:13 a.m.- Say goodbye to old high school friends, stumble out of bar.

2:33 a.m.- Stumble into house, say hello to old high school friend: the living room couch.

8:15 a.m.- Alarm goes off.

8:20 a.m.- Alarm goes off.

8:25 a.m.- Alarm sounds no more. Resolve to replaster new hole in wall.

8:26 a.m.- Mother comes in and awakens the sleeping dragon.

9:15 a.m.- Pack car, head for Eustace/Pennsauken High School football game.

9:45 a.m.- Bask in the glory of my first meal of the day: egg, pork roll and cheese on a bagel, hot off the tailgate grill.

9:47 a.m.- Embark on my second sandwich. Let the month-long holiday gluttony begin.

9:55 a.m.- Arrival of various football alum and friends. Offer sandwiches and OJ to the most hung-over.

10:15 a.m.- Slow down on sandwich No. 3 long enough to suck down two cups of OJ/hot chocolate, depending on the weather.

10:30 a.m.- Head to field for game, wave to old high school friends from last night, move along quickly and avert eyes whenever possible. You forget how much high school sucked sometimes.

11:00 a.m.- Cheer for the Crusaders: killing more Indians than smallpox and yellow fever since 2000. Continue to avoid classmates and ex-girlfriends like they have smallpox and yellow fever.

12:00 p.m.- Most likely decide weather is too miserable to remain at game. Or too nice, whatever; it’s time to refocus the day where it belongs.

12:30 p.m.- Return home, pregame football/nap time. Make misogynist comment about mother and sister not leaving the kitchen ’till I have been properly fed.

1:00 p.m.- Pack and head to whichever of my 10 aunts’ or uncles’ houses that will be hosting the main event.

2:00 p.m.- Successfully arrive, map out route through kissing relatives and answer the question “How’s school?” approximately 10,000 times.

2:02 p.m.- Plant self firmly on couch. (Ok, that is very unrealistic.)

2:35 p.m.- Boot little cousin off couch. Answer the question 10,000 more times. Consider just passing out Xeroxes.

3:00 p.m.- Have spirited political/sports/economic debate with family member. Get accused of being a liberal “female body part.”

3:01 p.m.- Abandon argument as the first course is served.

3:05 p.m.- Sit confidently at the adult table, smile smugly at younger cousins in their colored plastic chairs.

3:07 p.m.- One spilled glass of wine and slurped soup later, relegate self to kid’s table.

3:10 p.m.- Question the justice behind the one lonely meatball sitting in my bowl of escarole soup and the 15 piled in my sister’s.

3:12 p.m.- Before main course, everyone says something they are thankful for. Highlights include Uncle Matt’s new baby girl, Cousin Christopher’s first semester of college and Donovan McNabb. I made that one up.

3:15 p.m.- Veggies circle and I am responsible for force-feeding the brats some string beans and carrots. Screw that, carrots suck.

3:20 p.m.- Strategic hiding of carrots beneath napkin yields space for piles of white meat, mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, the clear favorites for Thanksgiving MVP.

3:23 p.m.- Briefly wonder about starving children all over the world. Decide that only another dousing of gravy can put out that guilt fire.

3:25 p.m.- Sausage stuffing arrives, makes pretenders of the other three.

3:45 p.m.- Mphm tflk bgngn *swallow*. Can’t talk, binging.

3:50 p.m.- Slow down briefly; Thanksgiving is a marathon, not a sprint, rookies.

4:00 p.m.- Second helpings are taken to go, as an annual tradition more important than the feasts is about to occur: rooting against the Cowboys. Go Bucs!

5:00 p.m.- In the words of Dave Chappelle, the “itis” has struck. Trypto-what?

5:15 p.m.- Going …

5:16 p.m.- Going …

5:17 p.m.- Gone. Nighty night, sweet prince.

6:00 p.m.- Mixed aromas of various family members’ bodily functions are finally overtaken by the Mariano Rivera of Thanksgiving: dessert.

6:05 p.m.- Exit Light, Enter Pie, Take a piece, Soon you’ll be back to sleep.

6:10 p.m.- Though the assortment is top notch as always, the old-faithful, pumpkin pie with whipped cream and a scoop of ice cream gets the nod.

6:45 p.m.- Couch … too far … *collapse on floor in front of TV*

7:15 p.m.- Plot how to get family home in time for 8 p.m. game. Or coma, whichever comes first.

7:30 p.m.- Another round of kissing, goodbyes and promises of e-mails to relatives. Ahh, the web of lies I weave.

8:15 p.m.- Arrive home. Ignore ringing cell phone as nothing short of a Shakira guest performance at a strip club could get me up tonight.

8:30 p.m.- Stare at bloated stomach with disdain, vow to never eat that much again.

7:00 a.m.- Yell at sister and mother for having the nerve to breathe loudly on their way out the door on Black Friday.

10:00 a.m.- Fix first of several plates of leftovers to be consumed throughout the day. Every meal is like a mini-Thanksgiving. This must be what it is like to be Jewish and have eight days of mini-Christmas. Thanksgiving rocks.

That is a typical Santo Caruso Thanksgiving bonanza, and though I can’t guarantee it will go down exactly like that, I think we can all be thankful for a few things: family, friends, health and a Dallas Cowboys loss coupled with a crippling injury to Terrell Owens.